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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Kafta Bil Tahina - Simple goodness

Serves 6  | Easy

If you are a meat lover, you will love the simple goodness of this dish!

What rush am in today! Nonetheless, as promised a recipe everyday for Ramadan :)

Kafta bil Tahina is essentially an herbed and slightly seasoned minced meat mixture, that is bakes in the oven in a Tahina sauce (Tahina is sesame paste). This is a very simple dish where the flavours come mainly from the meat and the Tahina, and is therefore a real treat for meat lovers.

The success of this dish relies on the meat mixture. You can buy Kafta ready mixed at large supermarkets or from the butchers but nothing beats the flavours of that which you mix yourself. You can, however, ask your butcher for what you need exactly, the cut of meat, the mix of herbs and spices and have them get it ready for you. The most important thing when it comes to the meat mix is that the meat is minced finely, using the small blades or passing twice through the mincing machine. I find that most butchers like to add a lot of fat in their mix! I prefer less fat if any. Another thing to keep in mind, it is better to mix the spices and herbs with the minced meat the day of cooking, rather than have them pre-mixed and frozen. These little details make all the difference to the final flavour and texture of your dish.

Often fried potatoes are added to this dish, I like to keep it simple and prefer not to mask the main flavour of the dish. Let the meat be the star!

For the Kafta Mix 
You Need
1 Kg Minced lamb* (before mincing have the butcher trim off all excess)
2 onions, extra finely chopped
1 large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Salt & Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp DK Meat Spice Mix, or 1 tsp ground all spice, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 green chilies, super finely chopped (optional for spicy flavour)

* You can use beef or veal, but the meat will be drier than lamb when done cooking. Lamb stays moist and jucier, which is desired in this dish. You can also go for a 1/2 lamb and 1/2 veal minced meat.

Mix all ingredients together to evenly incorporate.

For Preparing Kafta bil Tahina
You Need
3 tomatoes, sliced into thick circles
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup Tahina
juice of 3 lemons
Salt & Black pepper

Press the meat firmly at the bottom of the baking dish, top with tomato slices

Prepare Tahina mix
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a deep baking dish, brush the bottom and sides with 1 tbsp olive oil mixed with a little salt and black pepper. Spread the Kafta mix along the bottom, firmly pressing it and trying to get the meat as leveled as possible.  Top with tomato slices. Place in preheated oven for about 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, In a bowl, mix together Tahina, salt & black pepper, crushed garlic and lemon juice. Set Aside.

The meat will have released its juices while baking

When the 30 minutes are through, the meat will have released its juices, creating a kind of light broth. Pour this baking juice over the Tahina sauce to thin it. Mix well, until all is well incorporated.

Pour baking Juices over Tahina sauce to thin it
Pour this Tahina sauce over the Kafta mix and gently shake the baking dish to allow the Tahina sauce to spread. Bring back to the oven and bake for an extra 15-20 minutes.

Add Tahina to Kafta, and bake for further 15 minutes

When done the Tahina will have thickened and will be slightly browned.

Serve immediately, with some pita bread. You will love nothing more than dipping that bread in the Tahina Sauce! Succulent!

Just dip the bread into that Tahina Sauce! Am telling you, this is GOOD!

Ok, off I go now and leave you to savour this deliciousness!
Ramadan Kareem!

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