Kafta patties topped with potatoes and tomatoes (Kafta bel-saniyeh)

kafta bel-saneeyeh

Can’t get any more down home than this! I have seen this pan not only at home growing up but on the table of all my schoolmates. It is cafeteria food, Lebanese-style. Kafta patties (a meat mix with chopped parsley and onion) are topped with sliced potatoes and tomatoes and baked. Simple, but satisfying. 

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 1/2 lb kafta mix (see note)
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 4 or 5 tomatoes 
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup tomato juice or 1/4 cup tomato paste diluted in 1 cup of water
  • Salt, to taste; 1/4 tsp black pepper and a pinch of cinnamon 
  • 1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses or the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup oil

 1. Make the kafta mix by placing the meat, chopped parsley, onion and spices in the food processor and running the machine till the mixture is pasty. Transfer to a bowl and form patties. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the onion slices  then the patties (about 3 minutes total)  and transfer to an ovenproof plate. 

2. Peel and cut the potatoes into slices about 1/4 inch thick; slice the tomatoes as well. Place the potatoes over the kafta patties, and top these with the tomato slices; pour the tomato juice over the dish, sprinkle the spices and pomegranate molasses or lemon juice. Bake in a 350F oven (covered in foil) for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Serve.

NOTE: Kafta mix: 1/2 lb lean ground beef or lamb or a combo,  1/4 cup chopped parsley and one small onion, chopped. Place them in the food processor with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.


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  1. Nidal
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Un “Grand Classique” de la cuisine du Moyen Orient.
    Je me souviens, d’un boucher dans notre quartier qui préparait ce plat tous les mercredis midi (comme dans ta recette) mais, exclusivement avec de la viande hachée d’agneau. Comme toutes les préparations à base de viande hachée car la viande de bœuf n’existe pas en Jordanie…
    Il le faisait ensuite cuire dans le four du boulanger d’à côté.
    Étaient invités à partager ce Festin, le boulanger, le coiffeur, un chauffeur de Taxi (toujours le même !) et l’épicier. Ce dernier se chargeait d’amener le yaourt frais qu’il préparait lui même.
    J’ai toujours rêvé de faire partie de ce cercle…
    J’en rêve, encore, aujourd’hui…

  2. Joumana
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    @Nidal: J’adore lire tes souvenirs tu écris très bien et tu devrais commencer un blog ou écrire un livre!

  3. Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Its inviting.

  4. Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    A comforting dish! I love that shot of the pita breads.



  5. Posted June 1, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait to give this a try! YUM!

  6. Posted June 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Il est excellent ce plat Joumana, je le mets de suite dans mes favoris, j’ai hâte de le faire!!! A bientôt!

  7. Posted June 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Definitely looks like a wonderful comfort food!!

  8. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! As a child any dish with ‘saniyeh” brought a smile.

  9. Sam
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Yummy, I love this dish especially with some pomegranate molasses; however, I boil for 1 minute the potato slices before placing them in the baking pan, which expedites the cooking. Beautiful pic!

  10. Ahtna
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I remember eating this! It won’t taste as good at home as in Jordan (tomatoes never get enough sun here), but thank you very much for this recipe!

  11. Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve got the this exact recipe in the oven right now, minus the pomegranate molasses!!! I’ve always used lemon, but will give this a go next time :)

  12. Posted June 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    A delicious comfort food in any country and a perfect way to warm the soul. Love the beautifully puffed pitas.

  13. Posted June 3, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Oh so satisfying!

  14. Posted June 5, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I would love to dip one of those delicious fresh pita breads into the juices of this dish. A wonderful comfort dish. Happy cooking! Take Care, BAM

  15. Posted June 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    This is my kind of one pot meal!

  16. Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    This dish looks soooo homey, as you say, and the photo of the pita bread, WOW! Pillowy and inviting, I can’t imagine how good that would taste right off the racks!

  17. Joumana
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    That looks delicious.. Can we make the kafta mix in a big batch and freeze it uncooked? Or it wouldn’t taste as good that way

  18. Joumana
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    @Joumana: I would not freeze the kafta mix with raw onions and herbs; only with meat and dry ground spices.

  19. Maria
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, I am looking so forward to making this. I just have a silly question. Do I fry the
    meat with the onions in the same pan or do I remove the onions after they are fried and fry the kafta alone? Thanks so much. Maria

  20. Joumana
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    @Maria: I would remove the onions and fry the kafta alone; frying the kafta is simply to give it some nice brown color and frying the onions is because they take longer to cook and taste better when fried; alternatively, you can simply bake the entire casserole if you don’t have time to fry the onions and meat separately. The flavor just won’t be as “deep”. :)

  21. mariam
    Posted January 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    hi..will be trying this out..why make the meat pasty? i thought overmixing ground beef /hamburger meat made it tough? or does this just really break it down and tenderize it?

  22. Joumana
    Posted January 19, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    @Mariam: our grandmothers used to pound the meat for hours in a stone mortar (jeren)to make it smooth and tender (removing the nerves and silverskins). I meant to process the meat, onion, herb and spices until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are well combined. :)

  23. mariam
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    thanks.. i see..so this process, it tenderizes the meat…

  24. Crystal
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I have made this kefta using dried onions and parsley (don’t be too horrified with me) and froze it ahead of time. My husband loves this recipe but with small children it is easier to make large batches and thaw them as I need to.

  25. Joumana
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    @Crystal I love your idea! Will use it myself! :)

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