Kofta b’siniyah

4 servings



total time


***For the koftas:

400g or 14 oz non-lean minced lamb or hogget

400g non-lean minced veal or beef (or just add another 400g of lamb)

150g onion, finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

50g or 1.8 oz toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish

30g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve

1 large medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ tsp ground allspice

¾ tsp grated nutmeg

1 ½ tsp ground black pepper

1 ½ tsp salt

***For the sauce:

150g tahini paste

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 medium clove of garlic, crushed

2 tbsp sunflower oil

120ml water

***To finish:

30g unsalted butter or ghee (optional)

Paprika, to garnish


Put all the kofta ingredients except the oil in a bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Shape into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long (about 60g each). Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps its shape. Arrange on a plate and chill until you are ready to cook them, for up to one day (see notes).

Preheat the oven to 425 F / 220˚C.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, 120ml water, garlic and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. The sauce should be a bit runnier than honey; add one or two tablespoons of water if needed.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying-pan and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped together. Sear them on all sides until golden brown, about six minutes for each batch. At this point they should be medium-rare. Lift out of the pan and arrange on an oven tray. If you want them medium or well-done, put the tray in the oven for two to four minutes. If you happen to be using hogget rather than lamb, then this extra cooking is essential.

Spoon the tahini sauce around the kofta, so it covers the base of the tray. If you like, also drizzle some over the kofta but leave some of the meat exposed. Place in the oven for a minute or two, just to warm up the sauce a little.

Meanwhile, if you are using the butter, melt it in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little, taking care that it doesn’t burn. Spoon the butter over the kofta as soon as they come out of the oven. Scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finally sprinkle some paprika on top. Serve at once.


From Ottolenghi Jerusalem cookbook

4 servings



total time
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