One of the first dishes that young Lebanese living abroad would try in their own kitchen is kafta bi-sinniyeh. It is not complicated, it is fast, and it has all the flavours of home.
Kafta basics: minced meat, onions, parsley and spices. Not much to it, yet you can prepare your kafta in many different ways. Kafta bi-siniyyeh is only one variation of baking it with potatoes and tomatoes. In my book, I make it my mother’s style, patties seared in the frying pan and then cooked with green peppers and tomatoes. You may also fry or chargrill kafta burgers and enjoy them with a garlicky yoghurt sauce. My friends expect those juicy kafta patties when we invite them for a barbecue, and won’t be satisfied with a rich platter of steaks and sausages anymore!
In my cooking courses kafta didn’t come short at all. We prepared kafta halabiyyeh with lots of onions and sumac as well as kafta with pomegranate molasses. Kafta has often proven to be an excellent option when you run out of ideas as a cook or as a teacher!
In the original recipe of kafta bi-siniyyeh, you evenly spread your kafta in a baking dish, cover with the potatoes and tomatoes. Recently I have started to make patties and arrange them with potatoes and tomatoes in the baking dish. It does not only look much more attractive but it also makes serving accurate and neater.
Kafta bi-siniyyeh - Baked Kafta
- 500 g beef or lamb minced meat
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 small onion 100 g, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 4 medium potatoes 400 g, peeled, rinsed and thinly sliced into circles (0,5 cm)
- 3 medium tomatoes 400 g, rinsed and thinly sliced into circles (0,5 cm)
- 300 ml tomato sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper to season
- Rinse parsley leaves and let drain well. Finely chop the parsley with the onion in a food processor (or by hand). Add the mixture and the spices to the meat in the large bowl and mix well with your hand.
- Spread the kafta evenly in a greased baking dish (20x30 cm) and cover with the potatoes and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little salt and cover tightly with aluminium foil.
- Preheat oven (250°C, 480°F) and bake on middle rack for about 45 minutes. Season the tomato sauce with the salt and pepper and pour over the kafta. Bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes and serve hot with ruz mfallfal.