Traditional Moroccan Cuisine: Kefta Mkaouara, a Moroccan Meatball Tagine

Featuring well-seasoned meatballs in spicy tomato sauce, Kefta Mkaouara is a wonderful example of traditional Moroccan cuisine. Here’s how to make it.

Traditional Moroccan Cuisine

In traditional Moroccan cuisine, Kefta Mkaouara is a classic dish prepared in a tagine (although you can also use a wide, deep skillet with lid). To make it, you will need the following ingredients (tsp = teaspoon/s; tbsp. = tablespoon/s).

For the sauce:

  • 2 lbs of fresh, ripe tomatoes; peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1 very finely chopped medium onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. of fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp. of fresh, finely chopped cilantro (coriander)
  • 3 – 5 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/3 of a cup of olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf

For the meatballs:

  • 2 lbs of ground lamb, beef or a combination of both
  • 1 very finely chopped medium onion
  • 1 finely chopped small green pepper
  • 2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 of a cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 of a cup of fresh chopped cilantro

Traditional Moroccan cuisine does not use eggs or breadcrumbs to bind/fill out these meatballs. However, if your meat is exceptionally lean and/or you prefer meatballs with a spongier, softer texture, you may use an egg and/or 1/2 or so of breadcrumbs.

You will also need:

  • 1 – 2 chili peppers*
  • 3 – 4 eggs*

*Please note: These two ingredients are optional in traditional Moroccan cuisine.

Traditional Moroccan Cuisine: How to Make Kefta Mkaouara

Begin by making the sauce. To do this:

  • Mix the tomatoes and all other sauce ingredients in the base of your tagine/skillet
  • Cover & bring the sauce to a simmer (medium-low – medium heat)
  • Once the sauce is simmering, reduce heat a little and allow to keep simmering gently for a minimum of 15 – 20 minutes before adding your meatballs

To make the meatballs:

  • Mix all meatball ingredients in a bowl
  • Knead herbs & spices into the meat with your hands
  • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (approximately 3/4″ in diameter, roughly the size of a large cherry)
  • Add your meatballs, chili peppers (if used) and about 1/4 cup of water to the sauce
  • Cover and cook for approximately 30 – 40 minutes (until sauce thickens)
  • If using eggs, add them to the meatballs & sauce (without breaking the yolks), cover and cook for a further 7 – 10 minutes (until whites are solid and yolks are only partially set).
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or coriander and serve immediately

In traditional Moroccan cuisine, this family favourite is served in the tagine it was made in, with everyone scooping out the meatballs from their side of the dish with crusty Moroccan bread.

Cookery Courses

If you are staying at the Les Borjs de la Kasbah and have an interest in learning some of the secrets of traditional Moroccan cuisine you should consider booking one or more of our informal cookery courses conducted by our own chef, with a translator. Learn more.

Image & Recipe Source: https://www.thespruce.com/kefta-mkaouara-with-tomato-sauce-eggs-2394672

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