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kofta is the middle eastern version of meatloaf, fast and healthy super dish.

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A Well known dish that is versatile in the way of preparing it, and every country has it’s version, but the basic recipe is simply ground beef mixed of minced onion, parsley, and ground spice mix.

Kofta can be fried, baked, or grilled. Shaped into burgers, pressed into skewers for grilling, rolled into balls to use in soup, thin fingers, or layered and baked usually with other element like tomato or tahini or vegetables.

One of my memories came when I used to go with my father to the market and stop by the butcher to order the meat, he was so punctilious to follow butcher’s work on preparing our kofta the way my mom recommened. Beginning from choosing the right meat then grinding the meat a couple of times along with the onion and parsley. That will ensures the flavors and textures will blend together. Then take the kofta and head to the local oven, not like the electrical ovens nowadays, it was stone oven heated by burning wood. There, he spreads the kofta in the tray that first seasoned with a mix of spices and bake it on hot ground of the oven, then sprinkle it with generous amount of chopped tomato. That kofta’ taste will never leave my tongue. The juicy, and smoky flavored meat.

Baked Kofta in tray with tomato is one way to introduce kofta, it’s called “kofta bil seniyah”. Where the kofta spread evenly into a tray of any shaped, sometimes I like to make an indentation in the kofta with the tips of my fingers as a decoration, the way my grandmother used to make. Sometime I like to grind potato with the meat, this will give it more flavor and became more tender and juicy. Another important step when preparing the kofta is not to over mix it, this will keep it more tender after baking.

Serve the kofta with mixed vegetable salad and flat bread for a satisfying weeknight dinner.

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Baked Kofta with Tomato 

1 lb ground meat (1/2 kg)
1 onion finely minced
1/2 cup fresh finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1\4 teaspoon of each ground cardamom, dried coriander, and cinnamon.
1\2 teaspoon ground all spice
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Mix the onion, ground meat, parsley, salt, pepper, oil, and spices in your hands to make the kofta, don’t over mix.

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Spread the mixture evenly in an oiled baking tray (use any that is available for you, I used the pyrex ). Gently patting the surface until the bottom of the tray is fully covered and smooth.
With your finger tips, make an indentation to look as a decoration to the surface, also this will help it cook better.

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Cover with aluminum foil and bake the kofta at 400 degrees farenheit, until the meat is 3/4 cooked for 1\2 an hour.
Spread the chopped tomatoes on top on the baked Kofta, sprinkle salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste.

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Mix the tomato paste with 1/2 cup water and add it to the tray. Bake uncovered in a 375 degrees F oven for another 20-30 minutes, until tomatoes are well cooked.
Enjoy!

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