Yield: Serves 4

 My mother often made this kofta during a time when we used to host family dinners for upwards of thirty people. Ground meat—better if it wasn’t too lean—was ordered from the butcher. An enormous dish of meat topped with tomato slices was brought to the ferran, the community oven. This was the only oven big enough for the pan my mother used. She served her kofta with French fries or spicy potatoes, though they are good with flatbread, too.


Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria Anas Atassi


  • 12 oz (350 g) of ground lamb

  • 12 oz (350 g) of ground beef

  • 2 large onions (grated)

  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)

  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon of ground allspice

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

  • 1 tomato (grated, reserving the juice)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 4 tomatoes (thinly sliced)

  • 2 mild green chili peppers (sliced in half or into rings)


  • 4 tablespoons of tahini

  • Juice of 1 organic lemon

  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large bowl, knead all the kofta ingredients together for 3 minutes until smooth (this may also be done in a food processor).

Spread the seasoned meat evenly over the bottom of a round baking dish or pan. Press it into a compact layer.

Arrange the tomato slices and green chili peppers over the meat.

Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, until the juices are released and the meat it almost completely cooked. Remove from the oven and carefully pour the meat juices into a small saucepan.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses to the meat juices in the saucepan. Whish this mixture for 5 minutes over high heat until the sauce boils.

Pour the sauce over the kofta. Turn on your broiler and broil the kofta for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes and peppers start to char.

Serve the dish warm, accompanied by spicy potatoes or bread.

Recipe excerpted from Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria by Anas Atassi. Copyright 2021 Interlink Publishing Group.

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