Kebab Hindi

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The name of dish from Damascus is “kebab from India” because it originated years ago from an Indian family which settled in Syria.  It is actually flattened lamb koftas in a tomato sauce.  This version is adapted from Imad’s Syrian Kitchen.  It will make 4 servings, but the photo shows a 11 x 7 inch baking dish with 2 servings, as I made a half recipe to use up 8 oz. of ground lamb in the freezer.  This takes about an hour of elapsed time, but little working time.  We ate it with fresh khubz.

For the sauce

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 medium onions, diced

15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 Tbs. chili paste (such as harissa)

For the koftas

2 cloves garlic

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp. bararat (or garam masala, ras el hanout, similar spice mix)

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. ground lamb

Olive oil for drizzling

For garnish

Chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook the cumin seeds until fragrant, about a minute.  Add the onions and cook until translucent and softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and pepper paste.  Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Begin making the koftas by finely chopping the garlic cloves in a food processor.  Add the onion and spice mix, and whirl to mix with the garlic.  Add the lamb and salt and pepper, and whirl to combine.  Form the meat mixture into 16 portions and flatten each into an oval disk.

When the sauce is ready, spread it at the bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Top with the koftas and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts.


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