Recipes of the week: Easy Middle Eastern feast

I was supposed to make things easier for myself this week by cooking exactly the same dishes for everyone.

So I dutifully contemplated three dishes both families would enjoy and decided on lamb koftas, butter chicken and meat pies.

But it seemed too pedestrian, so I pimped up the koftas into a full-on feast and made some mash to go with the meat pies. The result was a VERY big day of cooking.

But if you’re just doing the Middle Eastern feast for dinner, it’s really easy (and you can skip the quail breasts, I just happened to find some in my freezer, as you do).

If you notice I’ve forgotten ingredients, let me know – last week by friend Kirsten very kindly pointed out there was no curry paste in the Massaman recipe … eeek!

Funnily enough, the kids in the other family I cook for love my meat pies the most. They’ve even sent me text messages raving about them. So I’ve promised to put them on high rotation.

Here are this week’s recipes. Serve the feast with Lebanese bread, grilled haloumi and a tub of tzatziki if you fancy a bit of variety with your dips.

Lamb koftas

500g lamb mince

1/2 onion

1/4 cup breadcrumbs, preferably panko

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

METHOD: Blend the onion in a food processor with the garlic, coriander, cumin and salt. Add the egg and give it one more pulse to combine. Mix with mince and breadcrumbs and fashion into koftas. Stick a skewer into each one and refrigerate for 30 mins. Then grill.


2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained (reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid)

Juice of 1 large lemon

1/4 cup tahini

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt to taste

METHOD: In a food processor, blend the lemon juice and tahini to form a paste. Add all the other ingredients and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more salt until it’s delicious, but don’t worry if it’s not a total taste explosion at first, it will get better if you leave it for a few hours to let the flavours develop.


3/4 cup burghul (cracked wheat), rinsed

1 bunch continental parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch mint, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large lemon, juiced

METHOD: Place burghul in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Mine wasn’t quite soft enough, so I repeated the process. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Drain, pressing out water with a metal spoon. Add herbs, tomatoes and onion and toss to combine. Shake the olive oil and lemon juice together in a jar and pour over the salad and toss again to combine.

Dukkah crusted quail breasts

1 pkt of quail breasts (Woolies has them in the chicken section)

1 tbsp olive oil

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 large garlic clove, crushed

Sea salt

Pistachio Dukkah (available in the spices section of supermarkets)

METHOD: Mix the olive oil, lemon zest, salt and garlic together. Marinate the quail breasts for a few hours. Sprinkle them with dukkah and then grill until just cooked through.

PS I’m going to try the recipes in the main pic next time, from Pro-Activ – they used cous cous for the tabbouleh and pomegranate molasses in the koftas (yuuuuum).

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