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Kifta bil tahini

I suggest you dive into it armed with some hot pitta bread or rice and some olives or pickles and enjoy!

You know that dish that everyone fights over; the one that brings the entire family together? This is the dish my grandma made that brought all of her children and grandchildren, even from across the hall, to her kitchen table. There were always elbows flying and hands grabbing for hot pitta bread, which was then used to wipe the pan clean.

This is yet another version of meat and potatoes made mainly in the Levant. The sauce is what makes this dish special. The combination of the nutty tahini paste, the acidic vinegar and the zesty lemon cut through the fattiness of the meat and creaminess of the potato to make a balanced dish.

I like to spread the meat in the tray and cook it with the potatoes in the oven, but the meat is traditionally made into kebab shapes or meatballs and fried, along with the potatoes, and then baked in the sauce. However, I find that makes the dish too oily and less presentable, especially when entertaining guests. The tomatoes aren’t so traditional either, but the beauty of food lies in its various interpretations.

The one negative I have to say about this dish is that it makes you thirsty, so beware! Despite this, I suggest you dive into it armed with some hot pitta bread or rice and some olives or pickles and enjoy!

Meat mixture

  • 1 kg minced beef/lamb
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping

  • 2 medium potatoes (medium slices)
  • 2 tomatoes (medium slices)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tahini sauce

  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all the meat ingredients together and flatten into a greased baking tray.
  2. Top with the potatoes and tomatoes and sprinkle with the cardamom, mixed spice and salt.
  3. Cover with foil and bake at 200C for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  4. Remove from the oven and mix together the tahini sauce ingredients. Pour over the meat and potatoes, making sure it is evenly distributed and mixes into the meat juices. Shake the tray a bit to make sure the sauce goes under the meat.
  5. Return it to the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the top turns a golden brown.
  6. Enjoy with pitta bread or rice.
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