Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce, a dish full of aromatics and flavor that will have you craving it for sure! More so, this is a perfect family meal, inspired by a culture full of passion and hospitality!
Song of the day: "All Around the World" by Lisa Stansfield.
Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce. There is nothing like the aroma of grilling. The charring and caramelization that happens are mouthwatering. Pair that with this Kafta and all the seasoning that will have your taste buds demanding more after each bite, beautifully enlightened by the fresh zesty acidic tzatziki. Furthermore, absolutely shut the front door delicious!
Inspired by culture
I have always been fascinated with culture. Canada thankfully is a mecca of culture which I feel very blessed to experience. One culture in particular was Lebanese!
My parents had many friends of this culture and I can honestly say they were so passionate and hospitable. As a result, I was introduced to the cuisine and just loved the exotic nature, textures, and flavors of the food, combine that with the freshness that is presented, and to me, it was love at first bite!
Today's recipe Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce was inspired by a trip to a Lebanese grocery store. The other day Nicoletta had a doctor's appointment and with all the restrictions, I found myself waiting for her outside. Well, being the curious sort I am, I began walking around this place where the medical clinic was located, and to my delight, I noticed this store. Naturally, I went in. Who wouldn't, lol.
I was blown away with all the spices, olives, dates, pita, sweets. It was like being in a candy store for me. The urge to buy everything consumed me, however, I put it in neutral. They even had a Halal butcher and it was there that I was led to this incredible aroma of spices that were emanating from this area. More so, it was their marinated meats and these wonderful little ropes they call Kafta that caught my attention. Similar to a kebab, however, it is ground beef or lamb all wrapped around a skewer ready to be grilled.
Cravings and urges
Consequently, the urges and cravings were stirring in my stomach and mind, and I knew there that either I buy these, or I make some of my own.
As you guessed it, I decided to make my own. However, the thought that I was in just the right place to get all the right spices and things to fulfill my need for this Kafta, was indeed a light bulb moment! Oh, there were a few more things that came home with me, too! After Nicoletta's appointment was finished, I took her into the store and she was as fascinated as I with all the hidden treasures!
Complex but not really
This kafta may look complicated by all the ingredients, however, it is so easy: just blending, mixing, and grilling. Can't get any easier than that. Better yet, I will take you on a step by step process, along with pictures! So without further ado, let's get started and make this Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce!
What you will need for the kafta:
- lean ground beef
- olive oil
- fresh parsley
- spices such as paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, allspice, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, red chili powder, cayenne, fennel, Lebanese 7 spice, and finally salt and pepper.
For the tzatziki:
- small baby cucumbers
- red onion
- plain Greek yogurt
- olive oil mayo
- pickle juice
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Spicing up the meat
- Firstly, we need to get the ground beef all broken up and ready for all those spices.
- Secondly, toss in the onion, garlic, olive oil, parsley. Blend that with your hands or a utensil, then start adding in all the spices and seasoning. You want to get all those lovely flavors infused into every morsel of the ground beef.
- Lastly, once it is well incorporated, cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge. This can sit for an hour or more, however, overnight will get it so flavored up that it will be stupendous!
- Meanwhile, the meat is marinating, and time for the tzatziki. This sauce is so easy: just take your minced cucumber, garlic, onion, and parsley and add it to the yogurt and mayo that you place into a bowl. Blend well, then add in the lemon and pickle juice.
- I wanted to say if you don't want to use pickle juice, then certainly chop up some fresh dill, something I didn't have any on this particular day, so improvisation came in with the pickle juice.
- Another quick stir and the end result is a very creamy yummy sauce that will just brighten every bite of the kafta!
Forming the Kafta
This is the fun part of making Kafta. Time to get our hands on things. Of course, wash them first, lol.
So how you make these Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce, goes something like this:
- First, take a tablespoon of the mixture and place it in your hand. Press it and form it into a ball then slowly elongate it until it becomes a long oval.
- Second, take a skewer. I used bamboo ones that I had soaking in warm water. Slide the skewer into the center of the long oval lengthwise and push it through until it comes out the other end a bit.
- Lastly, press the meat onto the skewer and continue shaping it lengthwise. It will look similar to a long log. Continue this until all the ground meat is gone.
Does this not look just absolutely lovely? Can't wait to see the aroma coming off the grill. It may even attract some neighbors! Importantly, remember the Kafta do not have to be perfect, some may be plumper than other or even shorter. Doesn't matter, what matters is these are going to be absolutely delicious!
- The Kafta is formed, Tzatziki is done, now time to grill these babies.
- First get the grill nice and hot along with an oiled grilling pan, about 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Secondly, place the Kafta on the grilling pan and turn occasionally. You want to get that internal temperature to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Then off the grill they go, a little olive oil and fresh parsley, and off to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Lastly, it is time to eat and I have to say they smell amazing! A Kafta on the plate with some Tzatziki sauce and a beautifully warm comforting pita.
Time to taste!
Just the aroma of the Kafta and Tzatziki is making my stomach growl. I bite in because I can't stand it anymore and WOW! The meat tender, full of that sweet charred spicy juice. Flavors of coriander, cinnamon, paprika, seven spice, and many others playing joyfully on my tongue. More so I have to say, the tzatziki offers such a beautiful pairing, and the acidity and sweetness subtly caress the bit of spice from the red chili powder and cayenne and that dill brine from the pickle juice just says HELLO to you taste buds.
You gotta just love when textures play so nicely together, a balance between creaminess and crunch, tenderness, and juiciness. So much fun and also so so yummy. I love this dish. It brings back so many childhood and teen memories that make me feel comforted and warm.
We are always looking for ideas for meals and sometimes we hit a wall. That is why food bloggers come into play to help you break that block, inspire you, furthermore, have you enjoying delicious meals made easy!
Give this Grilled Beef Kafta with Tzatziki sauce a try. In conclusion, you are going to be blown away and have a dish that will make several repeat performances!
Song of the day: "All Around the World" by Lisa Stansfield and Barry White.Print
For the kafta:
- 450 g lean ground beef
- ½ yellow onion chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic minced
- A teaspoon each of paprika, onion powder, Lebanese 7 spice, cumin, ground coriander, and dried oregano
- ½ tsp each of sumac, cinnamon, ground fennel
- Pinch of red chili powder, cayenne, and allspice
- 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp each fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
For the tzatziki:
- 3 small cucumbers diced very fine
- ¼ of a red onion chopped very fine
- 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 11/2 Tbsp olive oil mayo
- 1 clove garlic minced very fine
- 1 ½ Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp pickle juice
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- fresh chopped parsley
- lemon wedges
- some fresh warm pita bread
- In a bowl break up the ground beef. Add in the olive oil and all the spices and seasoning, along with the onions, oregano, and parsley.
- Mix well with your hands or if you prefer a spoon or fork, until well incorporated.
- Cover with plastic and place in the fridge for about an hour or better yet overnight.
- In a bowl toss in finely chopped cucumber and onion. Spoon in yogurt, mayo, and blend well.
- Add in parsley, lemon and pickle juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Forming the Kafta:
- Soak some bamboo skewers in warm water.
- Take the marinated ground beef out of the fridge. Scoop a tablespoon into your hand and form into a long oval rope.
- Grab a skewer and slide it through the center of the oval you have created. Press the ground beef into the skewer and form a bit more until you see the meat well formed around the skewer. Place onto a plate.
- Continue until all the meat mixture is done.
- Preheat the barbecue to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place a grilling pan onto the grill and let heat up also.
- Take the kafta and place on grilling pan and turn occasionally to get all the surface browned and caramelized. About 15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit is achieved.
- It is time to take the kafta off the grill, drizzle with some lemon juice, olive oil and fresh chopped parsley. Furthermore, let rest for 5 minutes which will ring the temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit perfect or ground beef.
Ready to serve:
- Serve Kafta with some tzatziki on the side and some warm pita.
You can use ground lamb also to make the Kafta.
Instead of pickle juice, you can use fresh dill finely chopped.
Use any skewers you have if you don't have the bamboo ones.
They say 160 degrees Fahrenheit is the best for ground beef however there is carryover cooking so I usually pull the meat at about 155 degrees Fahrenheit and let sit. It will continue cooking and all the juices will rest back into the meat.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Lebanese
Keywords: Kafta, Lebanese cuisine, tzatziki, grilling, ground beef, Lebanese 7 spice, coriander, allspice, cucumbers,
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.