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Baharat Kofta with Tahini

Baharat Kofta with Tahini

Kofta in the Middle East is much loved and much consumed. Every country has not one style but multiple ways of seasoning, spicing, marinating and preparing minced meat that is grilled on skewers on hot coals. ‘Kofta’ is often understood to refer to beef kofta, but the term is also used to describe minced and grilled lamb, chicken or fish. The common denominator between all these types of koftas is that marination with onions, herbs and spices is key to imbuing the meat with the best flavors possible so as to make the kofta really shine as the star dish of the meal. 


Kofta has a somewhat crumbly texture, yet it’s not as hard- packed or tough as say a burger patty owing to the fat content that is also present. Kofta requires a good degree of fat to hold the minced meat together and lend flavor from the fat. What’s essential about good kofta is to use good cuts of meat and ensure a good ratio of meat to fat, otherwise it won’t hold. 


When restaurants or home cooks opt for cheaper or leaner cuts of meat, the koftas don’t hold as well or come off the grill very dry. No amount of seasoning, herbs or accompanying sauces can remedy a dry kofta. 


Kofta can be labor intensive, especially if you’re hoping to grill them on an outdoor grill, but they can easily be prepped and popped into the oven at home. They might lose out on some of that smoky flavor acquired from a fired up barbeque, but it’s still delicious and a great dinner meal for families on a weeknight. 


Our recipe for baharat Egyptian kofta relies on baharat, a spice blend that takes its very name from the Arabic word for ‘spices’. Containing nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamoms and paprika, baharat is a delicious spice blend that flavors red meat very well. The warm nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves help to bring out the sweetness inherent in red meats such as beef and lamb. We would suggest you make this recipe with Dukkan Baharat spice blend because of its intense warm flavor profile and the freshness of its spices.  


We recommend serving this dish with a good heap of fresh salad greens with a salad dressing that’s vinegar–based. A simple ratio of 2 parts olive oil, one part white vinegar, juice of one lemon, a pinch of salt, pepper and cumin can make a basic green salad impart some good flavor to this meal. Add a side of rice or potatoes (mashed or fried both go well) and voila! You have an authentic and satiating authentic Middle Eastern meal for dinner. Don’t forget to serve the kofta with an accompaniment of tahini– kofta is always better with tahini. 


You can prepare this baharat kofta with tahini recipe with either beef or lamb, and save the remaining amount by dividing it into tupperware or ziplock bags to cook in the future. You can store it in the freezer as it will keep well for 3 weeks if frozen.

BAHARAT KOFTA WITH TAHINI

CATEGORY

Lunch, Dinner

SERVINGS

6-8  

PREP TIME

1 HR

 


INGREDIENTS

 

2 large onions, minced

2 pounds ground beef OR 

2 pounds ground lamb with a minimum 20% fat content

1 large tomato finely chopped

1 tablespoon of salt 

½ tablespoon of black pepper 

2 tablespoons of Dukkan Baharat 

1 ½ cup parsley rinsed and chopped 

1 teaspoon chili pepper (optional) 

Olive oil OR

Ghee

10-15 Wooden or metal skewers

 

DIRECTIONS

 

Step 1:

Mince two large onions and then using a cheesecloth or small, tight sieve, press the minced onions into the cheesecloth or seize over a bowl so as to extract the water/ juice from the onions. 

 

Step 2:

In a bowl, combine your minced meat, onion juice, salt, tomato, parsley, salt, black pepper, baharat and chili pepper if you want it spicy, and combine by hand until the ingredients are well incorporated. 

 

Step 3:

If using wooden skewers, wet the skewers first so they don’t singe or burn when placed on the fire. If using metal skewers, brush them with olive oil (if you want to attempt to decrease the fat here) or ghee before molding the meat to the skewer. This will allow the meat to come off the skewer more easily. 

 

Step 4:

Using your hands, take about four tablespoons of meat and start to press it between your fingers and your palm, making sure that the skewer is fairly centered so that the meat is molded evenly around the skewer. This takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it will be easy. 

 

Step 5:

Prep as many skewers of meat as you wish to serve, and grill on a barbeque or in the oven on a pan sheet. Cooking time will vary, but the kofta should glisten when cooked. We recommend putting down parchment paper or aluminum foil on the baking sheet to capture the fat that will drip from the kofta so as to make post dinner clean up easier. 

 

Step 6:

Serve the kofta with a side of tahini. If you have raw kofta left over, put it in the freezer right away.

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