Potato Kafta

May 1, 2011  •  Category:

This potato kafta is a delicious twist on the usual kafta: The potatoes are boiled then mixed with the meat and flavored with a garlicky cilantro pesto.

The kaftas are shaped like burgers and can be pan-fried, grilled or baked with a slice of onion and tomato on top.


  • 1 pound of lean (95%) ground beef (sirloin is what I used)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro pesto
  • 1 pound of baking potatoes
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 2 Large onions
  • 2 Large tomatoes
  • Spices for kafta: One teaspoon of allspice, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, black pepper, sumac (or use 1/2 Tablespoon of kafta spice mix)


  1. Boil the potatoes until done; meanwhile, peel 6 garlic cloves, chop in little pieces and mash in a mortar with a dash of salt. When the garlic is pasty, stop. Wash and dry half a bunch of cilantro leaves (about 1/2 cup packed) and mince as fine as possible. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet and place the garlic and cilantro on the oil, stirring with a wooden spoon to get the mixture to combine; after 30 seconds remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Place the boiled potatoes (peeled) in a large bowl; add the meat, spices and cilantro pesto. Mix to combine well (it is helpful to wear disposable gloves here). Shape the potato kafta into burgers and either pan-fry or grill. If pan-frying, heat a little oil and sprinkle flour on the kafta patties. Another option is to grease a pan, line up the patties and top with a slice of onion and a slice of tomato; salt a bit and bake in a preheated oven at 350F until the patties are done and the meat is cooked. Serve warm.

Source for the recipe: Chef Ramzi’s The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon.


38 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Belinda @zomppa says:

    That pesto – something to dream about!! What a perfect complement.

  2. Anita says:

    Those look so delicious. I’ve never added potatoes to kafta, I bet it’s just scrumptious! Great idea.

  3. 5 Star Foodie says:

    The addition of potatoes is terrific and nice flavors with the garlicky cilantro pesto too!

  4. domi says:

    Bonjour Joumana, quelles délicieuses ” croquettes ” bien parfumées et si moelleuses….qu’on en mangerait, bisous et bon lundi

  5. Rosa says:

    Delicious! I love kafta. That version is interesting.



  6. Banana Wonder says:

    yum! i never had kafta like this before. looks delish! love me some meat balls. congrats to your winners too.

  7. sab says:

    j’en veux moi de ton truc

  8. Priya says:

    Very tempting kafta,feel like having some;.

  9. Ivy says:

    The potato croquettes sound delicious. I usually make them without the addition of meat.

  10. Peter says:

    Potato croquettes can also be made with leftover potatoes and they make for a wonderful meze.!

  11. Faith says:

    What a fun take on kafta! Love the flavorful pesto in there!

  12. Miss Anthropist says:

    This looks incredible! I must try this recipe soon…thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  13. Susan says:

    A wonderfully simple but flavorful patty! I’ve never made a minced meat patty with potato in it but I love the idea.

  14. samir says:

    these must be fabulous..have never tried this version of kafta..where in lebanon does chef ramzi say this dish originates from and its regional name?

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: He says it is from Aley and since I only have the English version of the book here, the only title to it is potato kafta (which sounds appropriate! 🙂

  15. Caffettiera says:

    They must be incredibly soft, with so many potatoes, and incredibly tasty because of spices and meat.

  16. sheila @ Elements says:

    Looks and sounds fantastic! My husband said his mother used to make something like this but doesn’t remember what she called it. Anyway, we’ll definitely give this a try! I can’t wait! 🙂

  17. Gail Alfar says:

    I’m so excited that I got picked to win the ma’amoul cookie mold, my kids are going to love helping make the cookies! I tried to email you but I kept getting back this: “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently : joumana@tasteofbeirut.com” Do you gave another email? Or you can email me at alfar.gail@gmail.com, and I’ll provide my address.

  18. kankana says:

    I make something similar but I call it tikki 🙂 I never add pesto and I like the idea of adding pesto !!

  19. Lori says:

    Loved your recipe on You Tube for baklava. So simple. Such an excellent idea- thank you.

  20. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    These remind me in a lot of ways of Persian kotlets (cutlets). Love the spices used here.

  21. T.W Barritt says:

    I particularly like the warm spices added to the meat mixture.

  22. Cherine says:

    What an original idea! I love the addition of the potatoes!!
    I must try this soon 🙂

  23. Christine's Recipes says:

    The garlicky cilantro pesto sounds yummy, turns the potato into something very different.

  24. Chiara says:

    How awesome! I like the idea of having potatoes mixed inside a “burger” like patty!!!

  25. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    Next time I’m thinking of making meatballs for my partner, I’ll try this recipe instead – he would love it!

  26. RADIA says:

    j’adore cette recette, elle me tente vraiment , je vais là tester, bravo joumana

  27. lisaiscooking says:

    The cilantro pesto sounds great in these! Love the crispiness too.

  28. sweetlife says:

    love this version of kafta and cilantro pesto is always delish!!


  29. Steve @ HPD says:

    I love potato kafta. but once i wasn’t paying attention and i made potato kafka. turned into a bug before i was done, and i was never able to finish it. :^)

  30. Magic of Spice says:

    Lovely version of kafta, this would be great for our family night dinners and BBQ’s…

  31. samir says:

    This has been on my to make list a long time as i had never heard of it..and today was the day..a nice twist as u say on kafta..the meat stays very flavorful and tender from the addition of the mashed potato, I used 85/15 organic ground beef which was excellent but perhaps too fatty for this dish as the potato provides so much moisture no need for the fat(i realize u specified sirloin), I pan fried half a batch and then baked the second round. and I had some trouble having the patties hold together so i remixed even more before baking the second batch which helped…overall very nice

  32. samir says:

    ps : ) i used 3 or 4 reg size cloves of garlic which was plenty for me.

  33. samir says:

    your welcome..but thanks to you for your truly inspiring, educational and beautiful blog! I try to read it everyday and there are so many more dishes I want to make that you have posted on , but I always end up making the classics as I try to really perfect those..as far as this dish , hmm, not bad, but not sure i will make it again..it seems the original is so , for lack of better words , just right and classic!

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: Thanks to you for the praise, first of all; also for your comments and observations which are always so pertinent!!!:)

  34. samir says:

    pss (as always i feel a need to expand on my thought after i post one!)…when i say classic kafta. i mean in all its forms.grilled..pan fried or baked ,,and its variations.. ie with tahineh , or tomatoe /potatoe

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