A popular way to make kofta at home is to bake it in a tray with potatoes and tomatoes. This isn’t as popular among Egyptians, where kofta is more commonly cooked in a garlicky tomato sauce. Kofta is one of those comforting dishes that you will just love to eat again and again.
Kofta bil saniyah (baked kofta tray) with eggplant and potatoes
- Food Processor
- 9 x 13 inch baking pan with high sides, or other pan of similar volume
For the Veggies
- 2 medium eggplants
- olive oil
- 2 large potatoes
- 4 plum tomatoes or other med-size tomato
For the Kofta
- 2 lbs ground lamb or beef or a mix of the two
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1½ tsp allspice ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp coriander ground
- 1 small pinch cardamom
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
For the Tomato Sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt to taste
- pepper white and black if available, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Slice your eggplants crosswise into 2 cm-ish discs.
- Lay flat on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, toss with olive oil and bake until golden, approximately 30 minutes. Leave the oven at 450, as you will bake the tray at this temperature.
- Slice tomatoes in the same manner.
- Peel potatoes and slice a bit thinner than the eggplants, as they will take the longest to cook.
For the Kofta
- Pulse onion in the food processor until it is finely minced, taking care not to puree it. Squeeze the water out of the chopped onions (you can do this with your hands, putting the onion in a paper towel then squeezing). Set aside onion water. (Always remove the water from onions when making kofta as the excess moisture will cause kofta to fall apart.)
- Pulse parsley in the food processor until finely minced.
- Mix your ground meat, onion, parsley and spices in a mixing bowl. Using your hands gets the best results. Work it until combined but no longer ,as overworking can cause the meat to toughen.
- Form balls with your kofta mix and flatten into patties. Try to get them to be a similar radius and thickness as your vegetables, but don't go crazy with this. It doesn't need to be perfect.
- Sear patties on both sides in a pan with some oil over high heat. You don't want them to cook too much during this step, but just to brown on the outside, it should take about 3 minutes or so on each side.
Making your Tomato Sauce
- Saute minced garlic in some olive oil over a medium flame until fragrant, but don't let it brown.
- Add tomato paste and saute another 3 minutes or so.
- Add water and reserved onion juice and turn up heat to high. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure it is well seasoned, under-seasoned sauce will leach the flavor out of your kofta.
- Arrange veggies and patties in tray in your chosen pattern. Trim any pieces that are particularly larger than the others before assembling.
- Pour hot tomato sauce over kofta and vegetables.
- Cover tightly with foil and very carefully move the pan to the oven and bake for around 45 minutes at 450F. Once you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork put back in oven for 5-10 more minutes uncovered to allow the top to brown.
- Serve hot with rice and yogurt or tahina sauce!