Flavor alchemy is one of my favorite parts of being in the kitchen. This recipe has been waiting in the wings, and we had it tonight – it was terrific. Juicy, savory, with a hint of sweetness and tartness. Take a journey to a different place with these family-friendly Middle Eastern “tacos” that are truly delicious.
While I often cook Asian food with homey flavors – sweet, spicy, sesame, tamari/soy, citrus – that are an homage to half of my heritage, I also crave the complexity of middle eastern cuisine with its unique spices (take an imaginative taste journey to the souk markets!) that makes up the other half of my heritage. The spices you pick up for this recipe are classic ones that you can reuse for cooking many middle eastern dishes.
This meal falls under “EASY” in difficulty, but will wow whomever you serve it to.
Ingredients, by type:
- ground beef or lamb(anywhere from 85-96% fat – if you have 96% fat, add in 2 tablespoons of healthy oil – avocado oil is a good choice)
- 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kofta spice blend (mix of coriander, black peppercorn, mace, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, mustard seed, peppermint)
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- dash of cumin
- dash of paprika
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Dressings-your favorite hummus (we like the Mediterranean hummus from Trader Joe’s-Yogurt dressing: 0% fat greek yogurt cup (a single serving yogurt cup makes the perfect amount)+ 1/2 teaspoon sumac
+1/2 teaspooon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- garnish with fresh mint if desired)
- Pita bread with pockets, halved and toasted (then served immediately)
- Prepare the meat by heating the pan to medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and oil, or garlic first if you chose a less fatty meat
- add ground meat
- add in all the spices as the meat browns
- keep combining – the meat’s juices should be visible in the pan
- add in pomegranate molasses, which adds a classic tart-sweet flavor and color to the meat
- add celery and raisins and cover for 10 minutes on low-medium heat
- top with pomegranate seeds
- toast the pita bread
To serve: stuff your “taco”:
Put hummus on the inside in a layer. Add meat to fill the pita pocket. Put a layer of yogurt dressing on the top, sprinkle more pomegranate seeds and chopped mint on top if desired.
You may also choose to serve it on a party platter, with wedges of pita sandwiches holding the perfect rich flavor of the middle east.
Alternatively, serve deconstructed with your favorite pita chips, or make your own pita chips by toasting them in the toaster oven/conventional oven for a few minutes.