Kufta Bel Tahinia (Kufta with Tahini) by Mohammad Ali

As the oldest of five siblings, coming home from school meant twelve year old me was responsible for preparing the lunch our working mom left us. I loved coming home and opening our oven to find a tin foil wrapped Kufta pan. turn the oven on, impatiently wait for the food to cook, and burn my tongue because I could not stay away. 

‘Kufta’ refers to the meatballs that can then be baked in a variety of different sauces or eaten just by themselves. If you open any fridge in the Middle East, chances are you will find leftover Kufta. The most common versions are Kufta with Tomato and Kufta with Tahini (and yes, everyone you know has already picked a side). As a proud member of team Tahini, I wanted to share my recipe for this spicy creamy simple dish, that is just as good the day you make it as it is  a few days in the fridge.

Though I live in Chicago now, when I smell the sesame from baking Tahini, I am back at our kitchen table in Amman, doing my homework and waiting for my mom to come home.



½  lb lamb meat; traditionally it would be lamb, but I usually mix ⅔  beef and ⅓ something fatty (sausages, pork, or fat)

Parsley & Coriander, chopped

½ Onion, thinly diced

1 tsp tomato paste

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper 

1 tsp  Cumin 

¼  tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Paprika 

Hot sauce to taste (optional)

3 tbsp Olive oil

3 medium Potatoes, sliced in ½ inch desks

3 green peppers sliced

Tahini Sauce:

1 cup Tahini 

1.5 cup Greek Yogurt

3 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1 Lemon juice

1 cup Water

1 tsp Salt & Cumin


25 minutes

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Shape the kufta mixtures into meatballs, then distribute them on an oiled baking dish, cooking them in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the meat starts turning brown.
  3. Meanwhile, fry the potato chips for 2 minutes. You want them golden but not cooked all the way, as they’ll continue cooking with the Kufta. Let them dry over a paper towel.
  4. Mix the sauce in a bowl or a stand mixer, adding the olive oil as you’re mixing it.
  5. Take the Kufta out, distribute potatoes, shallots, and green peppers between the Kufta. Then cover them all with Tahini sauce.
  6. Wrap the dish in tin foil, then put back in the oven for  30 minutes or store to bake later.

Best served with Palestinien Farmers Salad

Mohammad Ali is a Palestinian writer and TV showrunner who just moved to Chicago from Amman, Jordan. When he’s not writing or watching TV, Moe can be found perfecting his Shakshuka recipe by the kitchen stove or on a campfire outdoors. 

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