Moroccan Kefta Kebab

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Kefta. Frédérique Voisin-Demery/Flickr - CC BY 2.0
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (70)

Kefta is ground beef or lamb, typically mixed with cumin, paprika, minced onion, coriander and parsley; cinnamon, cayenne pepper and mint leaves are optional. This recipe includes the traditional quantities of these spices and herbs but you may adjust to your taste.

Seasoned kefta makes a superb grilled kebab (brochette)--the meat mixture is formed onto a skewer like a skinny meatloaf and grilled. The kefta kebabs are delicious with a fresh salad and side of couscous, as well as served on bread with tomato and roasted pepper salad. It is also the foundation of a number of other Moroccan dishes.

You can use lean ground meat, but the classic recipe calls for a higher fat content. Traditionally, the meat, fat, spices and herbs would all be passed through a meat grinder together. A finer grind is preferred. To vary the recipe, you can add up to a teaspoon each of the following: ground ginger, turmeric, Ras El Hanout or minced garlic.

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg.) ground beef or lamb (or a combination of the two)
  • 3 ounces (about 100 g.) beef or lamb fat (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped very fine or grated
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional, but excellent with lamb)

How to Make It

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and let sit for 1 hour or longer to allow the flavors to blend. The kefta is then ready to shape and cook.
  2. To make kebabs, take small amounts of kefta and shape them into cylinder or sausage shapes. Skewer the meat, squeezing it to mold it the skewer.
  3. Cook over hot coals, approximately 5 minutes each side. (It may take less or more time, depending on how hot the coals are, and how thick you shaped the kefta.) Watch the kebabs carefully, so you don't dry out the meat.
  1. Serve immediately, or wrap in aluminum foil to keep hot while you cook additional kebabs.