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Spicy Apricot Koftas

Rachel Demuth
  • Serves: Makes approx. 25
  • Preparation: 45
  • Cooking: 15
  • Ready: 60

Easy to eat in little gem leaf boats, these koftas have been given a Middle Eastern twist – spicy with sweet undertones.


For the koftas

  • sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons gram flour
  • 3 tablespoons flaked or whole almonds toasted then chopped
  • 1 mild red chilli chopped finely or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water or zest of a clementine/small orange
  • 100 g soft dried apricots, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nigella/kalongi seeds
  • salt

For the gem lettuce boats and topping

  • 2-3 baby gem lettuces
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • juice of ½ an orange
  • a few mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini (thin with water if thick – tahini will take quite a bit of water to thin to a drizzling consistency)
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate syrup/molasses
  • seeds of half a pomegranate


To make the koftas

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry and soften the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cumin seeds. Stir in the turmeric and remove from the heat.

Blitz the chickpeas till just broken down a little, then add the onion mix, 2 tablespoons gram flour, almonds, chilli, herbs and orange flower water.

Pulse a few times till the mixture comes together, but isn’t too paste like. Add in the apricots and pulse again to combine. Season to taste.

It is worth test frying to make sure the mix stays together and tastes flavoursome. Pinch off a tablespoon of the mix, and form into a test patty, if the mix doesn’t stick together, add a little more gram flour to the mixture. Fry the patty in a little oil, then when golden and crisp on both sides, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To make the koftas pinch off walnut sized amounts of the mixture and roll into baby torpedo shaped koftas. Place onto a plate, whilst you roll all the mixture. Finally roll the koftas in the sesame and nigella seeds. Chill for 30 minutes to firm them up, or covered in cling film for up to 3 days in the fridge till needed.

Fry the koftas in a little oil, rolling them gently around the pan to brown evenly. Alternatively, heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan)/400°F (350°F fan)/gas mark 6 (gas mark 4 fan), place the koftas onto a lightly oiled parchment lined tray, brush each with a tiny bit of oil, and bake till golden for approx. 15 minutes.

To assemble

Wash and dry the gem lettuce leaves well, separating the leaves into similar sizes.

Mix the grated carrot with the orange juice and chopped mint.

Place a tablespoon of the carrot salad onto each lettuce leaf, then top with a kofta.

Drizzle over a little tahini then a little pomegranate syrup/molasses.

Finally sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds over each kofta, and serve.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Demuth, founder of Demuths Cookery School

Photo by Rob Wicks, Eat Pictures

One of the longest running vegetarian cookery schools in the UK, Demuths Cookery School teaches creative modern vegetarian and vegan cookery with award-winning chef Rachel Demuth.

“We have given these koftas a Middle Eastern twist, spicy with sweet undertones and finished with tahini and pomegranate, the little gem leaf boats make them easy to eat too. Serve these spicy canapés at your next dinner party or holiday bash.”

Facebook: Demuths Cookery School
Twitter: @demuths
Instagram: @demuthscookeryschool

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