Meatballs appear to be present in almost every culture. Dawood Basha (Baked Kafta and Potatoes) is the Levantine version. These Middle Eastern-flavored meatballs braised in a rich tomato stew go perfectly with vermicelli rice for a full meal. The tender potatoes make the dish heartier, and the tangy tomato sauce adds a special touch. That really takes the dish to the next level!
Meet the Complete Comfort Meal
Meatballs are almost a staple in every culture, and they can be served in an infinite number of ways! Chinese meatballs, Italian meatballs, Korean meatballs, Swedish meatballs, Danish meatballs, and probably many more! The concept is applicable to Lebanon and the Middle East as well! I'm sure you've heard of Kafta/kofta kebabs- ground beef seasoned with spices, onion, and parsley. If you're looking for a new way to eat meatballs, consider Dawood Basha (Baked Kafta and Potatoes)!
What is the Origin of Dawood Basha Recipe?
There are many stories as to where this dish originated and why it was given the name Dawood Basha known also as Daoud Basha. What is certain is that Dawood Basha was the governor of Lebanon in the late Nineteenth century appointed by the Ottoman Empire. It's said that this meatball stew was his favorite. That's why this hearty combination of Lebanese meatballs is said to have been named after him.
Why is this Recipe Special?
In this original recipe, meatballs are marinated in Middle Eastern spices, and the stew is infused with flavors from onions. This makes Dawood Basha so delicious. All of the ingredients are simmered in tomato sauce with seven spices, and the end result is one of the most comforting dishes you've ever tasted. This scrumptious stew is best served with vermicelli rice, but you can also eat it with bread.
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Ingredients of Dawood Basha:
To make Dawood Basha (Baked Kafta and Potatoes), you'll need a few simple ingredients:
- Beef: I use regular ground beef to make the meatballs. Lean ground beef works as well.
- Parsley: For added flavor, mix parsley into the meatballs. You can also garnish the dish with chopped parsley when serving.
- Onions: You will need finely chopped onions and pearl onions.
- Potatoes: Use a potato variety that retains its shape when boiled. You can deep fry the potatoes until they are halfway golden, then finish them in the sauce.
- Spices: I like to use seven spices (a Lebanese spice blend that can also be substituted for allspice).
- Sauce: To make the sauce's base, use tomato paste and red pepper taste.
- Veggies: You will need potatoes, pearl onions, chopped colorful peppers, parsley for garnish
- For a savory crunch, garnish with lightly toasted pine nuts.
- For added flavor and texture, you can toss in a few fresh chopped tomatoes in the sauce.
- To ensure that the potatoes cook quickly, cut them into small to medium-sized cubes.
- You can add other veggies such as carrots, mushrooms, or peas if desired.
- You can make your own meatball stew without the potatoes and just use the meatballs. Despite the fact that I believe the potatoes add a lot of flavor.
- Although beef alone is perfectly fine, you can add some ground lamb to the mix for added flavor.
- If you are a pomegranate molasses lover, drizzle a dash over your plate to add some sweetness and a lovely tartness.
- The key to perfectly fluffy rice is to thoroughly rinse it first, removing as much starch as possible. Rinse it once, twice, or even three times, and soak it for 30 minutes before rinsing it again.
Frequently Asked Questions
To keep the meatballs moist, I recommend using regular ground beef for the added fat. You can also use lean ground beef and a little vegetable oil in the mixture.
For the best flavor, spray a non-stick pan with olive oil or vegetable oil then fry the meatballs over medium-high heat about a few minutes per side until browned. They don't need to be fully cooked because they'll cook for another 15 minutes or so in the tomato sauce.
The traditional accompaniment to this stew is vermicelli rice or plain white rice. However, you can also serve it with bread and a side salad like Fattoush.
You can use allspice instead, and it will taste delicious!
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the stew for up to 3 months, or freeze cooked or raw meatballs before proceeding with this easy recipe.
Ingredients for Dawood Basha (Baked Kafta and Potatoes)
- Ground beef
- Onions/ finely chopped
- Fresh parsley/ finely chopped
- 7 spices
- Black pepper
- Cinnamon powder
- Aleppo pepper or red pepper
- One egg
Ingredients For the red sauce:
- hot water
- red pepper paste
- tomato paste
- Potatoes /chopped into small
- Pearl onions
- Chopped colorful peppers
- Parsley for garnish
- oil for sautéing meatballs
To Make the Meatballs:
First, in a large bowl, add ground beef, chopped onions, chopped parsley, the finest spices, cinnamon powder and salt, and finally one egg.
Next, use your hands to combine all the ingredients; form your small balls and sauté them on medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
To Make the Sauce:
In a non-stick skillet, add hot water, pepper paste, tomato paste, and salt, use a fork to mix until everything is combined and smooth.
First, add your fried meatballs to a baking dish; add your favorite veggie.
Then, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
After that, pour the red sauce on the meatballs.
Wrap in aluminum foil.
Finally, bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes.
Enjoy it with vermicelli rice 🍚.
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Dawood Basha (Baked Kafta and Potatoes)
Ingredients for the Meatballs
- 2 cups ground beef
- ½ cup onions finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon seven spices
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 egg
Ingredients for the Red Sauce
- 1½ cup hot water
- 2 teaspoons red pepper paste
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- potatoes chopped into small
- pearl onion
- colorful pepper chopped
- parsley finely chopped
- ¼ cup or less oil for sautéing meatballs
- In a large bowl, add ground beef, chopped onions, chopped parsley, spices, cinnamon powder and salt, and finally one egg.
- Use your hands to combine all the ingredients; form your meatballs and sauté them on medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
To Make the Sauce
- Add hot water, pepper paste, tomato paste, and salt, use a fork to mix until all combined and smooth.
- Add your meatballs to a baking dish. Then add your favorite veggies.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Pour the red sauce on the meatballs.
- Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes.
- Enjoy it with vermicelli rice 🍚 .