Kufta in Tahini Sauce with Efficiency Tricks

Kufta in Tahini Sauce (or kofta or kefta) is ground meat mixed with parsley, onions, garlic and spices! Topped with potatoes and Tahini Sauce it’s a Middle Eastern delight.  Kufta in Tahini Sauce (or kofta or kefta) is ground meat mixed with parsley, onions, garlic and spices! Topped with potatoes and Tahini Sauce it’s a Middle Eastern delight.

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!

Kufta in Tahini Sauce (or kofta or kefta) is ground meat mixed with parsley, onions, garlic and spices! Topped with potatoes and Tahini Sauce it’s a Middle Eastern delight.

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.”

Because this dish is enjoyed in so many countries, there are different terms for the dish from ketfa, to kofta, to kufta to kafta and more.

On Compromise

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.

Kufta in Tahini Sauce (or kofta or kefta) is ground meat mixed with parsley, onions, garlic and spices! Topped with potatoes and Tahini Sauce it’s a Middle Eastern delight.

A bite of Kufta!

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!)

blend seasoning mixture

Then mix the seasoning mixture with meat right in baking pan

mix spice mixture with meat

Make finger tip depressions in the meat mixture, bake to part done

Top with raw potato slices (no pre-cooking is another efficiency trick)

top with potato slices

Pour tahini sauce over everything and finish baking

pour tahini sauce over all

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!

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Kufta in Tahini Sauce

Kufta in Tahini Sauce

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Kufta in Tahini Sauce (or kofta or kefta) is ground meat mixed with parsley, onions, garlic and spices! Topped with potatoes and Tahini Sauce it’s a Middle Eastern delight.

Ingredients

  • 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

Tahini Sauce

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Combine the Kufta seasoning ingredients in a food processor and process until finely minced. It will look surprisingly like meat when done.
  2. 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.
  3. Press the Kufta into a flat, uniform layer in the baking pan. Make depressions in the Kufta mixture with your fingers.
  4. 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.
  5. In a blender or food processor, combine the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven. Top with sliced potatoes. Pour sauce over evenly to cover.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling and lightly browned.
  8. Serve warm, optionally with rice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 539Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 29g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

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11 thoughts on “Kufta in Tahini Sauce with Efficiency Tricks

    1. Inger Post author

      I was so happy to have some simplifications and excited to learn the flavor was identical!

  1. David Scott Allen

    I can’t wait to try this, I can’t wait to try this, Inger. We both love Middle Eastern food, and I think this will be wonderful with either lamb or beef!We both love Middle Eastern food, and I think this will be wonderful with your peace!

    1. Inger Post author

      I am going out to get my meat grinder soon David–then I’ll be doing this again with lamb!

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