Kafta Rolls at Tanoreen

February 19, 2010 3:30:09 PM PST
The mother daughter team at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn share their recipe for Kafta rolls."We love the neighborhood, the neighborhood loves us, and I think that's a recipe for success," said Jumana Bishara, one of the owners of Tanoreen.

Just down the street from the Verrazano Narrow's Bridge, Bay Ridge is home for a mother daughter team.

It's at their restaurant where they serve up the flavors of the Middle East.

Tanoreen is the name of a Lebanese village, and it's what they call their custom blended spice, which is imported from Nazareth monthly.

"We love the fact that it comes from there, and it's what makes the food really great," said Jumana.

The food and decor are both inspired by a number of countries.

"Some of it is Mediterranean, Lebanese, Syrian, or from the West Banks," said Rawia Bishara, the other owner of Tanoreen.

Rawia adds her own touch.

For her Kafta, she adds chopped parsley, onions and her custom blended tanoreen spice to ground lamb.

Then in a bowl she combines tomatoes, caramelized onions, almonds and spices.

That's the filling for the meat which is folded over.

She puts a little oil on top and it's baked.

She's created a sauce that sweet and spicy, made from tahini sauce, chilis, molasses and pomegranate.

The sauce is served on top, and it's a big hit.

"Kafta is very good, but we love all the appetizers like the falafel and the tabouli," said one happy customer.

There's a take out area as well, loaded with salads and spreads.

"This is what we eat at home, it's the best, the best you can get."

"I've been told a lot that I cook like the grandma, not the mom, but the Grandma. I think it's bringing tradition back and in food that is great."

Kafta Roll Recipe

Chef Rawia Bishara

Tanoreen Restaurant

Serves 6-8 people.

Lamb Mixture

2 lbs ground lamb

6 oz finely chopped parsley

1 cup finely chopped Spanish onion

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

½ tsp allspice

¼ tsp cumin

1 tsp Tanoreen spices


½ lb. tahini

1 cup lemon juice

2 tbs. red pepper/chili paste

2 oz pomegranate molasses

1 tsp raw diced garlic

2-4 oz of water (dilute to taste)


1 whole sliced Spanish onion

1 finely chopped tomato

6 oz chopped parsley

1 tbs. sumac

1 tsp black pepper

¼ tsp cumin

½ lemon

1 tsp raw chopped garlic

3 tbs. olive oil

1 cup toasted slivered almonds

1 tsp salt (to taste)

For the Kafta, combine the ground lamb, parsley, onion, and spices and knead them until fully combined, set aside in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

For the stuffing, sauté the onion until golden brown but not burned (about 10 minutes), and combine it with, the tomato, parsley, almonds, sumac, lemon, garlic and remaining spices.

To assemble, spread the meat mixture to half inch thickness, about 6-7 inches in length and 4in in diameter on a piece of wax paper to prevent it from sticking. Place the stuffing in the middle of the kafta and gently use the wax paper to fold it over one and a half times so it makes a roll.

Set oven to 450 degrees, drizzle olive oil on top of the roll and place the kafta with the open flap down, on the middle rack to bake for 15 minutes.

For the sauce, thin the tahini with lemon and water until it's a creamy(not too thick or too thin)consistency, then add the garlic, pomegranate molasses and chili sauce. Warm the sauce over low heat and keep warm.

Remove the kafta from the oven, drizzle the tahini sauce over the top and garnish with additional almonds and onions. Serve roasted potatoes and/or a tomato salad.