In my youth, I used to eat Middle Eastern a lot. It was a great way to go, when you were watching your pennies, but still wanted food that was high on flavor.
I often ordered Kufta in Tahini Sauce, a seasoned ground meat dish topped with potato slices and tahini. Creamy, rich and comforting, it was on “make someday” list practically forever!
What is Kufta?
Now to help those who may not have heard of kufta, I decided to look for a definition on Wikipedia. Here I was informed that it’s “a family of meatball or meatloaf dishes found in the Indian subcontinent, South Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian cuisines. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of ground meat usually beef, chicken, lamb or mutton, or a mixture – mixed with spices or onions.”
Happily, my Sunday blogging buddies decided to cook Middle Eastern this week which was the push I needed to try it!
Unhappily, when I got ready to cook, I was out of ground lamb. I am a big lamb fan and had always ordered it made with lamb, though I knew that beef was authentic too. So I almost abandoned my plans. Then I remembered my new philosophy that nothing matters if it makes something impossible. So I took out some ground beef.
In the end, the change of meat was no problem. The spices and tahini sauce provided the real character, not the specific meat. And the family gobbled it down. Yes!
Recipe Efficiencies and Directions
The recipe, based on one from the Foodtasia blog, tastes virtually identical to my earlier memories. Despite the fact that it has a few changes from tradition to make it more efficient. Hooray for the “not too hard” philosophy again.
To start, you blend up seasoning mix in a food processor (the first efficiency trick!)
Then mix the seasoning mixture with meat right in baking pan
Top with raw potato slices (no pre-cooking is another efficiency trick)
Pour tahini sauce over everything and finish baking
In the end, the potatoes were perfectly cooked and the Kufta in Tahini Sauce was, well… dangerously delicious!
What do I serve with Kufta?
Although there are a fair number of vegetables in the “seasoning mix” I think a salad is a nice accompaniment. You could go with a Tabbouli salad like this gluten-free Cauliflower Tabboulleh (other options below), a nice green salad or something fruity like this Watermelon Feta Salad.
The potatoes mean that a starch is covered but big eaters might appreciate a little rice or pita bread on the side.
Yes, here’s to living in the real world!
More Easy Middle Eastern Food Recipes
- Ghorayeba by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Nan e Barbari | Persian Flat Bread by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Palestinian Musakhan Made Easy by Pandemonium Noshery
- Shakshuka by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Tabbouli by That Recipe
- Kefta Salad with Tzatziki Dressing by Art of Natural Living
- Kale Tabbouleh from the Pantry by Art of Natural Living
Kufta in Tahini Sauce
- 1 lb ground beef or lamb
- About 5 medium potatoes cut in ¼ inch slices (no need to peel)
- Optional Garnish: additional chopped parsley and/or 1-2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Kufta seasoning mix
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium tomato
- 4 cloves garlic pressed or finely minced
- ½ cup of fresh parsley leaves
- Spices: ½ teaspoon paprika ½ t allspice, ½ t coriander, 1/2 t pepper, 1/4 t cinnamon, ¼ t cumin, pinch cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slice bread torn into pieces
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 cups yogurt
- 1 cup tahini
- Juice from large lemon
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Combine the Kufta seasoning ingredients in a food processor and process until finely minced. It will look surprisingly like meat when done.
- Put the seasoning mixture into a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Add the ground beef and mix by hand to combine, right in the dish. Don't overwork.
- Press the Kufta into a flat, uniform layer in the baking pan. Make depressions in the Kufta mixture with your fingers.
- Put the baking pan into the preheated oven for about 7 minutes while you make the sauce. This will allow the meat to set slightly. Do not leave it in longer or the meat will be overcooked in the end.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Top with sliced potatoes. Pour sauce over evenly to cover.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling and lightly browned.
- Serve warm, optionally with rice.
- Kale Tabbouleh from the Pantry
- Butterscotch Pudding