Kefta Mkaoura – Moroccan tajine with meatballs in tomato sauce

Kefta mkawra is one of the tastiest and most famous tajines in Morocco. There’s no problem if you don’t have a tajine, you can easily replace it with a wok or any other deep frying pan that you have. You will need following ingredients for kefta:

  • 850 g of beef or lamb (pork fits this recipe too, though it wouldn’t be a traditional taste)
  • 1 bulb of onion, crushed (80-100 g)
  • 3 tbsp of minced parsley leaves (8-10 g)
  • 3 tbsp of minced cilantro leaves (8-10 g)
  • 1 tsp of each: salt and paprika powder
  • 0,5 tsp of grounded cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of each: grounded black pepper, cinnamon and curcuma

List of ingredients #2 (sauce):

  • 1 kg of crushed tomatoes
  • 50 ml of oil
  • 1 bulb of onion (120-150 g)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (50-100 g)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1,5 tsp of each: salt and paprika powder
  • 1 tsp of grounded cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of grounded black pepper
  • (optional) 1/4 tsp of chili pepper powder or 2 small fresh chili peppers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp of minced parsley leaves (5 g)
  • 2 tbsp of minced cilantro leaves (5 g)

Optional ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • Some boneless green olives

Instructions

Ground the meat together with the ingredients from the first list (for kefta). Or mix ground meat with other ingredients from 1st list. Form the meatballs ~3 cm in diameter (you can make them smaller, but it will take more time) and set aside.

Meatballs are formed

Let’s go to the list of ingredients #2. Instead of crushed tomatoes you may take fresh tomatoes, then peel (for peeling one needs to place tomatoes from boiling water to cold water and back several times) and dice them. You can also omit peeling and just cut them in small cubes – it’s up to you.

Dice onion and bell pepper, add oil to a frying pan (tajine or whatever you use) and fry them for 5 min. at the medium heat. Crush garlic and add it.

Frying onion and pepper

After 2 min. when garlic starts to exude pleasant smell, add tomatoes, herbs and spices. Cover the pan and cook ~30 min. stirring occasionally unless everything turns into thick gravy. If you make sauce from fresh tomatoes you should double the cooking time. And when tomatoes become soft enough, you should help them to turn into sauce by crushing them with spoon.

Taste the sauce and add spices if you feel that something is missing. Add meatballs, cover the pan and cook at the medium heat ~10-15 min. Avoid overcooking – they can become too tough.

Placing meatballs in tomato sauce

If you want to add olives or/and eggs – do it after ~7 min. of cooking meatballs.

Adding eggs
Adding eggs try not to break the yolk

Eggs should be cooked until the egg white is cooked through and the yolk only begins to become firm. You may decorate the dish with fresh leaves of cilantro.

Kefta mkaoura

Kefta mkaoura is always served together with traditional Moroccan bread khobz. It is very convenient to collect the remains of sauce with bread. You may bake khobz or just buy any other freshly baked white bread.

 

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