Kofta b’siniyah

from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi 


For the Sauce

? C Light Tahini

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

½ C Water

1 Medium clove Garlic, crushed

Salt to taste


For Garnish

Pine Nuts, lightly toasted

Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Sweet paprika


For the Kofta

14 oz Ground Lamb

14 oz Ground Beef or Veal

1 Small Onion, finely chopped

2 Large Cloves Garlic, crushed

7 Tbsp Toasted Pine Nuts, coarse chopped

½ C Flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped

1 Large medium-hot Chile, seeded and finely chopped

1½ teasp Ground Cinnamon

1½ teasp Ground Allspice

¾ teasp Grated Nutmeg

1½ teasp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1½ teasp Salt


2+ Tbsp High-heat Oil for frying – avocado or sunflower oils are good options


Put all the kofta ingredients in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix everything together well. Using 2 oz portions, shape oblong “balls” roughly 3¼” long. Press the mix together with your hands to compress it and ensure each kofta keeps its shape while cooking. Arrange on a plate and chill until you are ready to cook them. (Best to cook the same day. They can be rewarmed if you want to precook them.)


Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt. The sauce should be slightly runny; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed.


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the kofta. (Do this in batches so they are not cramped together.) Sear them on all sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes per batch. At this point they should be medium-rare. Lift out of the pan and arrange on a baking sheet. (If you want them medium or well done, put them in the oven for 2 to 4 minutes before moving on to the next step.)

Spoon the tahini sauce around the kofta, so it covers the bottom of the pan. If you like, also drizzle some over the kofta, but leave some of the meat exposed. Place the pan in the oven for a few minutes, to warm up the sauce.


Scatter with the pine nuts and parsley and then sprinkle with the paprika. Serve immediately.

Jerusalem Cookbook