Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kofta with a Tahini Sauce - كفته بالطحينه

While back I prepared this dish for a friend who was trying to use up the rest of her Tahini before it expired.  A simple dish to prepare and leftovers are always welcomed.  Her family of picky eaters devoured the entire dish in one sitting.
Kofta is a Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf.  Kofta consist of minced or ground meat — usually beef or lamb — mixed with spices and/or onions.  They can be grilled, fried, steamed, poached, baked or marinated, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce.  Koftas can be enjoyed as an appetizer (mezze) or as an entrée.  Easy to make using every day ingredients like onions, parsley, ground beef, and your favorite seasonings.
This week brings along many new challenges in my life.  The universe has added a great deal of contrast into my life to allow me to grow - and for this I am grateful.  One of newest challenges is to adjust to a new smaller, but temporary kitchen.  So many times when I teach in home cooking classes I'm told that they don't have any fancy equipment to prepare nice meals.  To prove my point, all I have for the next fews weeks is my knife, cutting board, a bowl, a skillet and a sauce pan...and that is IT - oh yea, and only my Blackberry camera.  No fancy equipment in this kitchen - just a desire to prepare a delicious meal. 

I start my Kofta by finely dicing a white onion then mixing in my spices and ground beef.  I set aside to marinate for 5-10 minutes or over night.

Kofta with Tahini Sauce - Meatballs in a Creamy Sesame Sauce

serves 2

1/2 lb. ground meat (beef or lamb)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley flakes or fresh parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon Arabic Spice or Baharat 
1/2 cup tahini paste (sesame paste)
1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice (depending on how lemony you like your foods)
1/2 cup water

In a medium bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes to marinate.  

Form mixture into small meatballs or football shaped kabobs.  

In a heated skillet, place Kofta and cook on medium-high heat.  Cook 1 minute per side or until the Kofta holds its shape. 

While the Kofta is cooking, mix together the Tahini paste and lemon juice until it forms a smooth mixture.  Then incorporate the water into the mixture.  

Pour the Tahini mixture over the Kofta, cover and cook on medium low until the water evaporates and the sauce thick (20-30 minutes).  At this point, the dish is complete; however, some recipes call for the Kofta to be placed in a broiler to brown.  Serve with toasted pita bread or Basmati rice.  Unfortunately, there isn't a photo of the finish product because I was too hungry to take a good picture.

Alternatively, this dish can be assembled in a baking dish, topped with sliced potatoes (2 medium potatoes), add a 1/2 cup of water, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove foil, add tahini mixture and bake an additional 10-20 or until a brown and bubbly.