Kafta is a minced lamb and/or beef mixture with a combination of herbs and spices, that many could deservedly title as Lebanon’s national dish.
Those who follow me on Instagram would know how much I love Kafta. It’s one of those go to ingredients for me and something I always have in the freezer. It tastes great and it is so versatile.
Here I will be sharing my favourite kafta recipes with you. Some are from my childhood and others I have developed and adapted over the years.
This first recipe here is a Kafta & Veg Stew. This is a great family recipe using a few staple ingredients. It’s as quick and easy as any one pot wonder.
- 500g Kafta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Use kafta to create balls or small patties. I usually use a tablespoon to measure out kafta so they are approximately the same size. This way they cook evenly & at the same time.
- In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil. Add kafta balls and brown on all sides. Kafta should not be cooked through at this stage. Once sealed remove from pot and set aside on a sheet of kitchen paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- While pot is still hot, use oil leftover to seal kafta to cook onion. Saute for about 5 minutes until soften then add garlic. Cook through for 2 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook out for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, stock, salt, pepper, cumin and bring to the boil.
- Return kafta balls to pot with potatoes and carrots. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes until sauce starts to thicken and vegetables are soft. Now add peas and corn. Cook on low for another 5 minutes.
- Take pot off heat. Stir through basil & parsley. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- You can eat stew as is or it is best served on top of a bowl of Lebanese rice.
You can certainly use other vegetables in this stew. You can substitute or add to what I have included in this recipe for parsnip, turnips, sweet potato or pumpkin. I use whatever I may have at the time in my fridge or pantry.
When people say Spaghetti & meatballs, my kids think kafta meatballs. This dish makes a regular appearance in my kitchen.
The recipe is like the one above but serve it with our favourite cooked pasta rather than rice.
This has to be the easiest thing to do with kafta and one that really takes me back to my childhood. We ate kafta this way all the time and now I make this for my own kids all the time. It is quicker and easier than resorting to take out on those ‘can’t be bothered cooing’ days!
What you’ll need:
Spread it very thinly on Lebanese bread (or other type of pita bread or even a tortilla). If you spread it too thick, the bread will burn before the kafta cooks! Place under grill for about 5 minutes until kafta is cooked.
Eat & enjoy with some cut up tomato and/or cucumber & hummus on the side. And yes, some (i.e. my hubby & kids) like to drench it in tomato or barbeque sauce!
(Note: 250g of kafta will make 2 – 3 pizzas)
Barbequed Kafta Skewers
Kafta skewers will make an appearance at every Lebanese BBQ.
Just shape kafta around a skewer and barbeque until browned and cooked through.
Enjoy as part of a barbeque banquet, with Lebanese bread and hummus or a refreshing Cucumber & Yoghurt salad.
(Note: you can also cook the kafta skewers in a pan or in the oven.)
I hope you enjoy these recipes! I do plan on adding more kafta recipes to this post so stay posted!