This little dish is part condiment and part salad. It is often served alongside grilled meats, providing a sharp and tangy contrast to the rich meat flavour.
2 large sweet onions (If you are using a sharper onion, not to worry. The salt mellows out the sharpness of the onion.
Salt to taste (As the salt is one of the only 3 ingredients in the dish, you really should use a good quality sea salt or Himalayan salt.)
3 to 4 heaping tablespoons sumac
1. Cut the onions in half and then thinly slice the halves, so that you have onion threads.
2. Add the salt and taste. Let the onion and salt sit for a few minutes, so that the salt mellows out and softens the onion. It is optional to give the onion a quick rinse from the salt at this point. It’s best to add the salt in small increments, until you achieve the desired salinity.
3. Add the sumac and mix through.
-by Diana Ghazzawi
Kifta (or kafta, kefta, kofta, or kufta, depending on your dialect and spelling preferences), is a basic Arab recipe that is eaten, in its simplest form, either grilled, broiled, baked, or fried. Additionally, the same kifta mixture is used in dozens of more complex dishes which include vegetables and/or sauces.
Once you have this basic recipe down (and it truly is very simple), you have the basis of quite a few other dishes.
If you’re baking, broiling, or grilling the kifta, as I did here, you’ll want an 80% to 85% lean beef, so that it stays moist. If you will be using the kifta in a dish that requires a sauce or other similar preparation, you may want to go for a leaner mix, so that the sauce isn’t overwhelmed by the fat that will come out of the meat.
As is often the case, the amounts of these ingredients aren’t set in stone. You can adjust the amount of spice or vegetable to your liking.
2 pounds or 1 kilo ground beef (or ground lamb)
1 large onion
1 medium-sized bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon (approximately) salt (preferably a good quality sea salt or crushed Himalayan salt)
3 to 4 tablespoons Arab seven-spice mixture (or, if you can’t find it, the same amount of ground allspice)
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1. Dice the onion into fairly small pieces.
2. Mince the washed parsley leaves.
3. Combine all the ingredients together. Mix well, but don’t overmix, as the meat will get tough if you do so.
4. Decide how you want to shape it, finger-like pieces being the most common shape. Of course, you can make the kifta into meatballs, small hamburgers, or even spread the entire mix into a pan and slice it into squares after baking.
5. Cook your kifta! Again, times and temperatures depend on the method, but obviously, grill, bake, or fry until cooked through.
-by Diana Ghazzawi