I’ve only ever eaten one real-life kebab shop style kebab in my whole life, and it is safe to say, I will not be repeating that little event again. Not only because everything that the kebab is laden with, fried in or served up on is glutenified, but also because god help your hips, thighs, waist and any other weight-gaining, fat-attracting-magnet part of your body because the calorie content of a kebab IS INSANE!! Surely you all remember this crazy article from the Daily Mail (or you don’t remember the exact article, but remember the headlines…) “Just one doner kebab contains your entire day’s calorie allowance”
(read the article here… click!) and for those of you that prefer a BBC take on the news, here is their similarly shocking article “Study reveals ‘shocking’ kebabs“ (you can read this piece here… click!)
So, with all this cause for concern over fat and salt and god knows what else content, I was very excited when I opened my copy of one of the many Sunday supplement magazines (please don’t ask me which… I work at a wedding venue, believe me, I see a lot of magazines!) and saw a recipe for making Lamb Koftas, served up in pitta breads, with halloumi cheese and a delicious tomato salad. And immediately I knew what we were having for Saturday night tea! BUT WAIT! WOE IS ME… the recipe was still quite fat-laden (full fat halloumi, full fat yoghurt and white pitta breads a healthy girl maketh not) and called for all manner of waist bulging ingredients. And… the major cause for concern – the couscous that was to be used! Couscous contains GLUTEN people!!
With my taste-buds all fired up, and my challenge laid down before me (in magazine form) I set about disecting the recipe and creating a gluten free, healthy alternative to this delicious-sounding (but very deceiving!) meal.
First up i’ll let you know the switches I made, then you, if you like the full-fat side of life can use the originals, but I will stick very firmly with my healthy swaps!
Full fat halloumi was replaced with half fat halloumi
The glutenfree alternative for couscous was quinoa
Instead of oil, I used spray oil
Instead of white pitta, we had brown pitta bread (gluten free of course!)
4 tbsp pre-cooked quinoa (this takes about 20 mins to cook, so make sure you have it ready!)
500g lean minced lamb
5 Medjool dates, finely chopped
A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped (you could use dried mint too!)
2 medium-size eggs
4 gluten free pitta breads
Half a packet of low fat halloumi, chopped up
A small bowlful of fat free natural yogurt
The accompanying tomato salad
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
Finely chopped parsley
1 tsp Lazy Chillies (try not to scoop up too many seeds!)
1. First, you need to make the tomato salad.
To do this, you need to mix all the ingredients for the salad together and season well. Transfer to the serving dish, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest so that the flavours become all muddled together for serving later…
2. Next, the koftas! Tip the pre-cooked quinoa into a bowl, add the lamb, herbs and seasoning and eggs and mix everything in so that it’s all combined (get your hands involved!)
3. Roll balls of the mixture in the palms of your hands and then roll into sausage shapes.
4. Spray some oil into a heavy bottomed frying pan and heat the pan. Place the sausages into the pan and push down with a fish slice (or spatula) and cook for 8 minutes on each side. Once cooked, keep warm.
5. If you’re having pittas, toast them and put them on a plate for everyone to grab.
6. You can grill the halloumi too if you like, but we just had ours fresh.
7. Put everything into bowls and get everyone through to dig in!
UPDATE… I found the original recipe… it’s here