Margarita's International Recipes



Kofta, the Arab version of the meatball, are very popular in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. As they are made with ground beef (or lamb), they are cheaper than kebabs. I've never been a great fan of kofta, and this recipe certainly didn't change my mind. It's a pretty basic recipe, but I wanted to make a traditional Egyptian kofta.

The problem with the recipe was twofold. First, the kofta were too dry. This is probably my fault because I used lean ground beef - if you make them I'd recommend that you either use ground beef with at least 20% of fat, or you add some melted butter to the mixture. Second, I thought they had too much cinnamon. My husband disagreed, however, and thought they were perfectly spiced. He liked the kofta much more than I.

Kofta are supposed to have a paste-like consistency when raw. I used a food processor to achieve it, you can also use a blender or just pound it for a long time. If you do the latter, chop the onion and parsley very finely.

I baked & broiled the kofta, as it's fall and it's getting dark early, but the traditional way of cooking them is grilling. Broiling worked better than baking, so I'd recommend it if you have to cook them indoors.

Kofta go well with a simple tahini salad (really a sauce) or zabadi.



  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash allspice
  • salt & pepper to taste


Put the meat in a large food processor or blender and process until smooth. Alternatively, pound with a pestle.

Add the onion and parsley and process until it becomes a paste. Add the egg, cinnamon, all spice and salt and pepper and mix well.

Take about 1 to 2 Tbsp. of the meat mixture in your hands and shape it into a cigar shape. Place in a skewer. Continue until all the meat is skewered.

Preheat grill to medium high, broiler or oven to 375F. Cook kofta on the grill or broiler for about 4 minutes per side, or in the oven for about 12 minutes per side.

Adapted from Abissada's recipe at Egyptian Kitchen

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