Tuna Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce

Many of us are far more adventurous with meat than we are with fish, something that Josh Niland intends to change via his book Take One Fish. This Tuna Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce is a versatile dish in which the tuna can be replaced with mackerel, swordfish, marlin or albacore. It’s wonderful cooked over a charcoal grill BBQ or in a griddle pan.

Tuna Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce

Tuna Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce

As rich and tender as lamb kofta‘, find out what else reviewer Nicky thought of this dish and others in our full review of Take One Fish by Josh Niland.

Tuna Kofta With BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce

Kofta are traditionally made with ground meat, onion and spices but I urge you to try them with minced tuna. They are so good! I suggest a few dips and a tabbouleh that I like to serve them with, and they are phenomenal hot or cold rolled up in freshly made flatbread, but these accompaniments are by no means essential – the kofta are very much the stars here. Another tick in the margin is that they freeze exceptionally well, so you can make them up ahead of time. This is a fantastic spread for a long weekend lunch with friends so feel free to double the quantities. You could also try replacing the tuna with swordfish, marlin, albacore or Spanish mackerel – whatever looks best at the fish market.
Servings 4 servings
Author John Niland


  • grapeseed oil for brushing
  • sea salt flakes
  • 150 g (5½ oz) large red grapes


  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/ ¼ cup) buttermilk
  • 40 g (1½ oz/ ½ cup) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) yellowfin tuna belly, trimmed
  • 3 teaspoons finely grated garlic
  • 3 teaspoons finely diced French shallot
  • 3 teaspoons freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked
  • black pepper
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/ ⅓ cup) grapeseed oil

Sour garlic sauce

  • 125 g 4½ oz natural yoghurt
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/ ⅓ cup) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • sea salt flakes
  • ½ bunch chives finely sliced


Suggested accompaniments: Eggplant and Macadamia Puree, Brown Butter Hummus, Lovage Tabbouleh, Flatbreads, such as Naan Bread, Salad leaves


  • For the kofta, pour the buttermilk over the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Leave to soak for 10 minutes until the bread swells and there is no residual liquid left in the bowl. Pass the trimmed tuna through a meat grinder on a coarse setting (or chop into a coarse mince consistency with a sharp knife). Add to the breadcrumb mixture, along with all the remaining ingredients. Using your hands, mix everything together for about 1 minute, to strengthen the mix slightly (be careful not to work it too far or the kofta will end up being too firm). Divide the mix into 12 even pieces and roll into long sausage shapes. Shape the kofta onto stainless steel skewers and store on a plate, covered, in the fridge until needed.
  • To make the sour garlic sauce, whisk together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside in the fridge.
  • Either preheat a chargrill pan over a medium–high heat or a charcoal grill with evenly burnt-down embers. Level out the embers so the heat is even.
  • Brush the kofta with a little grapeseed oil and season with salt flakes, then grill for 2–2½ minutes, turning carefully at 40-second intervals, until cooked through and nicely coloured all over. Transfer the kofta to a large serving platter and set aside to rest.
  • While the kofta are resting, brush the grapes with a little oil, then grill for 2 minutes or until the skins are charred and blistered and the juices start running from the fruit.
  • Serve with the kofta, sour garlic sauce and your choice of accompaniments.


Mackerel Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Yoghurt Sauce (Mackerel)

Mackerel Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Yoghurt Sauce

Nicky used in-season mackerel to make the kofta, suggested in the recipe as a good alternative to tuna.


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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Take One Fish by Josh Niland from publisher Hardie Grant. Book photography by Rob Palmer. Kavey Eats photography by Nicky Bramley. 

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2 Comments to "Tuna Kofta with BBQ Grapes and Sour Garlic Sauce"

  1. Saym Hasan

    Tuna is a very interesting saltwater species that is widely found all over the world. The fish mainly belongs to the Scombridae family and dwells in warm seas. However, consuming tuna fish is very helpful for our health. This is why we should eat the fish at least thrice a week.


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