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Pine nut lamb keftas, dried barberry and chili

Pine nut lamb keftas, dried barberry and chili

Sabrina Ghayour, a Persian chef, lives in the United Kingdom and is known for preparing easy, delicious and colorful recipes. Her books have become great references for Persian cooking in the past few years. I love her cooking and I was very touched by her extreme kindness when we chatted. This delicious recipe is from her latest recipe book named “Persiana Everyday”. As Sabrina suggested, I could make a few changes and adapt the recipe to my taste… Don’t hesitate to make changes as well!

Pine nut lamb kaftans, dried barberry and chili

21 December 2022
: 4 (8 keftas)
: 10 min
: 15 min
: 25 min
: Very easy


  • 500g minced lamb (20% fat)
  • 8 finely chopped green onions (spring onions)
  • 1 TBS oregano
  • 2 TBS dried barberry
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander (cilantro)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 TBS labneh (or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tsp rose harissa
  • 1 thinly sliced small cucumber
  • A handful of mixed lettuce per person
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh herbs: cilantro, mint, chives, basil.
  • Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to 200°.
  • Step 2 Mix the minced lamb with 4 finely chopped green onions, the oregano, the dried barberry, the chili flakes, the cumin, the cilantro, the chopped garlic, the pine nuts, the baking soda, and the salt and pepper. Mix all these ingredients together until they all blend in evenly. Divide this mixture into 8 portions and shape into ball or small sausage. Bake on wax paper for 12 to 15 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn and turn the oven down to 180° if necessary.
  • Step 3 Serve the keftas with the mixed green salad (mesclun, rucola…), the sliced cucumber, add the remaining fresh herbs and finely chopped spring onions. Serve the labneh topped with a teaspoon of rose harissa in a separate bowl.

Good to know!

The barberry is a tiny berry considered as a spice, it has a tart sweet & sour flavor. It is very popular in Iran and grows on a sort of bushy vine. You can find dried barberries at Middle Eastern grocery stores. If needed, you may use sour cherries, cranberries or raisins instead.

I like to serve these keftas with the dual couscous dish, but Sabrina also suggests to have them on their own or to simply serve them with rice. They can also be served in Arabic bread or on fresh toasted baguette.


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