The first time I had this dish was in Lebanon when a childhood friend took me to a restaurant called Taaj El-Moulook (meaning The kings’crown) in Broummana. She had ordered it for us along with a thousand other items for our mezze. I absolutely loved it and vowed to get the recipe. The good news is it is a speedy and delicious dish. Firstly, you make the kafta. Then you stuff the pita and plop it in the oven for 5 minutes. I have served it at parties and people love it. This dish and a fattoosh salad and everybody is happy to be eating a light and healthy meal!
To serve 4 to 6 people
1 lb or about 500g of ground meat (lean) either lamb or beef
5 oz or about 140g of chopped onion (1 large onion)
5 oz of chopped tomatoes, well drained or 1/4 cup tomato paste mixed with some oil or soft butter
1 bunch of Italian parsley, stems discarded and leaves chopped
Salt (to taste), black pepper (1/2 teaspoon), paprika (1/2 teaspoon), allspice (1/2 teaspoon), cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon), sumac powder (1 teaspoon), pinch of cayenne (optional)
6 Large size pita breads or 10 small pitas
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened or 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped fine (optional)
1/4 cup of jalapeno pepper (optional)
- Chop the onion real fine and put in a sieve over a small bowl for a few minutes.
- Chop the parsley leaves very fine. Chop the tomatoes and jalapeno if using.
- Put the meat and spices in a food processor and run the machine for 2 minutes until the meat turns pasty.
- Squeeze the onion over the bowl to drain the juice and add it to the meat. Add the parsley and the other vegetables and run the food processor one minute until all the ingredients are well mixed.
- Drop the kafta mixture in a bowl.
- Open the pitas one by one gently and slather them with butter or tomato paste mixed with soft butter
- Take a small spatula and scoop up one large tablespoon at a time of kafta mixture from the bowl and spread it on the buttered side of the pita bread. You want a thin layer on the pita (1/8 in. or 3 mm.)
- Close the pita by gently tapping all over it with your fingers to make sure the filling is well distributed.
- Using kitchen scissors, cut each pita in 4 or 8 sections depending on the size of each pita.
- Put on an aluminum-lined baking sheet each small section side by side and bake in a 350F (180C) oven for about 5 minutes or until the meat is brown and cooked.
- Serve with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, green onions or a salad. Sahteyn!
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