My husband grew up in the Middle East. I've had the pleasure of visiting his hometown, Dubai, a couple of times. It was exciting and beautiful, of course, but what I remember most is the wooden dining table, draped in a beautiful copper Indian tablecloth, groaning beneath the weight of platters of wonderful food. We volleyed back and forth between Indian (my husband's nationality) and Arabic dishes. It was absolutely sublime.
His idea of homey comfort food is probably split right down the middle between the two cultures' dishes. In either cuisine, succulent lamb or slow-simmered mutton are the meats of choice. I happen to love it, too.
These koftas (which are arabic meatballs, typically oblong, usually grilled) are flavoured with cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, onion and lots of parsley. They're browned in a hot oven. A quick tahini-lemon sauce is poured over, which emerges bubbly and thickened. Perfect for sopping up with flatbread like naan, pita, or Persian barbari bread, as pictured.
I sprinkled mine with dried pomegranate arils, which are optional, but pretty - I get them at an Indian grocer. You could use fresh, instead, if you like, or just leave them out. A bit of finely diced shallot or red onion on top would replace the red colour for contrast and texture.
I've shared Koftas with Lemon Cream before, with a terribly lit, god-awful iPhone photo, but I was just desperate to put the recipe into the world. Forgive the image, and trust me that they're delicious. This version is actually easier, baking them shaves down the workload, and is less messy with sputtering oil.
In other news, I'm heading to San Francisco for the month of March! I'll still be posting here, but be sure to follow me on Instagram if you'd like to keep up behind the scenes with my adventures!
If you haven't already joined my mailing list, now is the time! The first subscriber-only monthly giveaway launches March 1st - if you're on the email list, you're automatically entered. I'll be revealing the first giveaway in an email this weekend - and I promise, it is a really good one you will not want to miss! :)
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 1/4 cup packed minced parsley, plus more for garnishing
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
- 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine all kofta ingredients in large bowl and use your hands to work everything together so that the spices especially are evenly distributed.
Scoop by 1/2-cupfuls and shape into long sausage shapes. Arrange in a 9x13" baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, until browned. Meanwhile, whisk together sauce ingredients.
Flip over the kofta, and pour the sauce over top, whisking it into the accumulated juices. Continue baking another 10-15 minutes, until tops of kofta are browned and sauce is slightly thickened. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with flatbread.