Grilled or Fried Kafta Recipe
Grilled or Fried Kafta
Flavors of Lebanon
Total time: 15 to 30 minutes

Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: Under 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

This is a dish that falls into the category of hot mezze (hors d'oeuvre).

Depending on the recipe or to soak up the moisture, you can add breadcrumbs. I like to add breadcrumbs in a proportion of 25% because they lighten the kafta and make it more digestible.

In Lebanon, ground mutton is used, which has a stronger flavor than ground lamb. If the leg meat isn't fatty enough, you can add 200 g (7 oz.) lamb or mutton fat. Cook the kafta, if possible, over a wood fire - there's nothing better. To simplify the recipe, use ground beef or lamb from your butcher.

Kaftas are formed by hand: they're like slightly flattened large sausages. If you happen to have a falafel mold, you could use it. Be sure to wash your hands well before and after working with raw meat to prevent any food-borne illness, particularly in hot climates.

Serve the kaftas with the garnishes described: sesame sauce or tabbouleh salad.

For 8-10 servings

- 1 kg (2 1/4 lb.) ground Beef or ground Lamb
- 200 g (7 oz.) red onion
- Salt and pepper
- 2 bunches of parsley

- Pita bread or Arabic bread
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. Sumac
- 10 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
- A pinch of salt and pepper

Barbecue or Grill Method

  1. Remove the stems from the parsley; wash and dry the leaves. 
  2. Peel the onions. Chop them in a food processor with the parsley, salt and pepper. 
  3. Add the ground meat and mix until well-combined.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to make shaping the meat easier.
  5. Mold into 10 cm (4") long cylinders about 3 cm (1 1/2") in diameter; place on skewers and grill for about 4 minutes on each side; check for doneness; remove or return to the grill depending on the desired doneness. 


  1. Cook in a skillet in a mixture of oil and butter. 

Garnish and presentation

  1. Combine the onion, sumac, flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper. Place in a small plate. 
  2. Just before serving, separate the pita bread. Place the kafta on one disc and cover with the other disc to keep hot. 
  3. Dip each bite into the garnish before eating. 
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