12 December 2013

Kafta with pomegranate molasses - AFF West Asia Dec 2013

Ever since I saw Alan's post on homemade Middle Eastern Pomegranate Molasses, I was so intrigued and determined to give it a shot too! However I couldn't find pomegranate at Sheng Shiong supermarket, Jurong NTUC nor the wet market. Then over the weekend when I was at Clementi Central NTUC, BINGO, I saw big, red pomegranates on sale at $3.35 for 2. Immediately bought 4. Pomegranate molasses is a common condiment found in many Middle Eastern cuisine and can be used as a salad dressing as well.

The very first dish that I made using the molasses was Kafta, meatballs cooked in pomegranate molasses served with side salad of spinach tossed in pomegranate molasses and topped with chopped walnut, dates and feta cheese.

The meatballs were supposed to be made with grounded lamb meat, but I replaced with beef instead (because I wanted to make Kiymali Pide too and sharing the ingredient). And as I have some extra minced pork left from a chinese dish, decided to mix that in as well. Yes, I know I wasn't suppose too. Sorry! A high proportion of blended onion, garlic and parsley were added into the meatballs making them extremely juicy and tender. For seasoning, an exotic mix of pepper, black pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Oh, I must say that I love the smell of cumin, I think I can get intoxicated from sniffing it! The meatballs were pan fried, then simmered using water and finally tossed with some pomegranate molasses. Hmmm, this unique blend of meat, veggie, spices and pomegranate molasses produced a very different kind of meatball, it's juicy, tender, very aromatic with various herbs; savoury and yet sweet with a tinge of tanginess from the molasses. Delicious! Lazeez لذيذ

I started a day ahead, preparing the pomegranate molasses first.

First remove each pomegranate seed painstakingly by hand. Look at the little gems, they are really juicy, slightly sweet and sour. Must be gentle when prying them from the membranes because they can just "pop out" without warning! At the end of the task, parts of my kitchen were stained with pecks of red juice!

Initially I tried to use garlic press to extract the pomegranate juice but my garlic press is so small that it's gonna take forever! In the end, I just blend the seeds and squeeze the pulp for the juice. Had to hand-squeeze a few rounds because the pulp was really juicy. Thereafter, add sugar and lemon juice and simmer over low heat for about an hour.

The pomegranate juice would be reduce by about half into a thick syrup. Pour into glass jar, let cool and chill in fridge if not used immediately. I think I over-reduced the syrup because upon chilling in the fridge, the molasses solidified. But still ok I guess.

Pomegranate Molasses
(with reference from Travelling Foodies and The Shiksa in the Kitchen)

  • 3 cups pomegranate juice (extracted from 4 medium size pomegranate)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  1. Put all the ingredients into a small pot and bring to boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer till about 1 cup of sauce left, stirring the mixture frequently.
  3. The process takes about 45 mins to an hour. At the end of it, the mixture would froth and bubble incessantly.
  4. Take away from heat and let mixture cool down slightly before pouring into a glass bottle.
  5. Let the molasses cool down completely before covering with lid. Store in fridge if not used immediately.
Kafta with pomegranate molasses
(adapted from cook & eat cuisines from the middle east)

  •  135g minced beef
  • 115g minced pork
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk of parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • Seasonings: white pepper, black pepper, cumin and cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place one and a half onions, garlic, parsley and all the seasonings into a blender. Blend into a paste.
  2. Add the paste and breadcrumbs to the minced meats, knead well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Form the kafta mix into balls. Toss them into frying pan and pan fry till slightly browned.
  4. Add a little water and simmer until the balls are fully cooked. Pour the meatballs into a bowl, set aside.
  5. Julienne the remaining half of the onion.
  6. In the same frying pan, add a little olive oil and fry the onions till tender.
  7. Add the kafta balls and pomegranate molasses, toss the balls around the pan to make sure all pieces are well coated with the molasses. Best eaten warm.
I made these for my own lunch and served with a spinach salad. Didn't let hubby try because I don't think he would like the smell and taste of the herbs and spices. Same goes for my son. Nevertheless, I think the molasses serve as a nice sauce for meatballs, perhaps I would make some "normal meatballs" next round to let him and dear son try.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia hosted by Shannon from Just As Delish.

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