This is my version of one of Mideastro‚Äôs signature dishes called kufta. They serve it in individual dishes baked with thin pita dough on top to seal in juices and aromas. Serve drizzled with tahina yogurt sauce over couscous, rice or pita. The meatballs freeze well so make a double batch and have some for another time.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1. Combine ground meat, onion, garlic, egg, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Shape into 12 meatballs.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy pan. Brown meatballs well about 5 minutes, shaking pan so that they will brown on all sides.
3. For tomato sauce, in another large, deep skillet heat oil and add onions, garlic, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, allspice and hot pepper flakes. Cook gently 5 to 8 minutes until onions wilt. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Break up tomatoes with a potato masher and cook on medium heat, uncovered until thick - 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add meatballs and cook gently 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season to taste.
5. Meanwhile, for tahina sauce whisk tahina together with yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, water, salt and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth. Or process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
6. Serve meatballs sprinkled with cilantro and drizzled with tahini sauce. Extra tahina sauce will keep a few days.