I caught up with Alex at a friends’ podcast Fussy Eater launch night at Cake Wines. Being in an event about eating/food, naturally and appropriately we started to chat about his love of cooking. After a few persuasions from me and encouragements from our friends, Alex agreed to cook for the blog and the result was kaftalicious! Alex made his quick and light version of the Lebanese kafta. Packed with fresh herbs and punchy spices, it was a great Sunday easy lunch served with the tangy coriander chilli and pomegranate roast potatoes.
Alex: My mum’s Lebanese so she’d always make kafta if we were having a BBQ. There aren’t many ways that she expresses her ethnicity, but food is definitely one of them. The potatoes are a recipe I was inspired by (ripped off from) Mankoushe’s Instagram, my fave Lebanese bakery/cafe in Melbourne.
The key to a good kafta is the Baharat Spice Mix – this is a special all purpose spice blend widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Add a healthy dose of this mix into the mince to create depth and full bodied kafta. You can use food processor to mix all the ingredients, but Alex prefers to finely chop them to add a bit more texture. For the potatoes, roast them until they are golden brown then let cool on the stove before adding the coriander, chilli and pomegranate dressing. Serve the potatoes and the kafta together. Feel free to whip up a quick mint yoghurt to dip the kafta in cause it’s a great accompaniment and so delish!
Lebanese Kafta & Coriander Chili Pomegranate Potatoes
Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves 4
- 500g lamb (or beef) mince
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of mint
- 3 good sized spring onions
- 1 tbs of Baharat spice mix (a Lebanese spice mix containing Paprika, Pepper, Cumin, Cassia, Cloves, Coriander Seed, Cardamom, Nutmeg)
- Olive Oil
- Salt and peper
- As many smallish waxy potatoes as you wanna eat but enough for four people
- Pomegranate mollasses
- Chilli powder
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 juicy lemon
- Handful of Pomegranate seeds
- Start with the potatoes. Cut the spuds into sort of 1cm cubes or quartered. I like to go small cause they end up extra crunchy. Douse in olive oil and salt, chuck into a baking dish and pop in a preheated 220c degree oven. Cook until super golden.
- While they’re crisping up, take the mint, 3/4 of the parsley and the three spring onions and dice super fine. No stalks. Knead the herbs and onion into the mince with your hands. Sprinkle in the Baharat. This will give it the authentic Middle Eastern flavour. Chuck in a dollop of olive oil and mix until it’s well combined and looks consistent.
- Wet your hands and make little sausage shaped morsels out of the mince around 10cm long.
- Heat a pan with some oil on med-high and cook each little kafta for a couple minutes on each side until slightly firm to touch. They would be better on the BBQ, but I was out of gas and feeling a bit lazy.
- On a clean board, dice the rest of the parsley, the coriander and the garlic. Again, super fine. Put in a bowl. Pour in a healthy amount of olive oil. Maybe half a cup will do. Add salt and pepper, chilli powder, a good dollop of the pomegranate molasses and the juice of one lemon. Now mix in your crispy potatoes into the deliciousness and stir around, coating them thoroughly. Now’s the time to bung in the pomegranate seeds too if you’re using them.
- Serve the potatoes and the kafta together. Feel free to whip up a quick mint yoghurt to dip the kafta in. It’s a great accompaniment and so delicious.