Mediterranean dishes served at Knox restaurants are claiming the spotlight, at least gradually. Yes, it is not as popular as Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and French cuisine. However, more people are discovering its beauty. That comes as no surprise. 

The Mediterranean cuisine made so beautiful and modern by an Australian shopfitter is not just about grilled vegetables which makes it a big hit to both vegans and vegetarians. This cuisine also has some delectable and succulent meat too! And it’s good (perhaps even better) than all other meat dishes out there, so stay with me.
Speaking of amazing Mediterranean meat dishes, have you ever heard of kafta or kofta? No? Alright, you are not alone. Many people aren’t aware of what this dish is and there’s nothing wrong with it. Let this article give you interesting details and even fun facts about kafta. Who knows, you might even immediately head to the nearest Mediterranean restaurant to have a generous serving of this meaty dish.
So, are you ready to know more about the kafta? Let’s get started then…
What is a kafta?
First thing’s first, don’t get confused between kafta and the kofta. Both refer to the same meaty delight. It is called the kafta in Lebanon while kofta in other Mediterranean cities. For this article, let’s refer to this dish as the kafta. 
The kafta is a meatball or skewered dish made of different meats such as lamb, chicken, or beef mixed with traditional herbs and spices. Even better, kafta is only made of a few simple and basic ingredients: choice of meat, lots of parsley and onions, and a spice blend. The spice blend is most likely available in one of your friendly Mediterranean stores around.
History of kafta
There is an interesting history behind this dish that dates back to the 11th century, thanks to the Turko-Afghans. Since then, locals adopted the dish and made their own different variations. It is important to note that the varying adaptations to the kafta were highly influenced by religious beliefs and practices. 
Since it made its way to the Arabian continent where it is fondly referred to as the kofta, locals had to eliminate the use of pork. Chicken, lamb, and beef then became the favorite choice of meat in making the kafta. This is the same way they concocted an age-old dish that paved the way for the best souvlaki in Melbourne.
Even at present, the kafta is still made of any of these three Halal-friendly types of meat. Even better, the kafta has also evolved to have a vegetarian version. Not only is this version healthy, but it is also perhaps the safest to consume as it satisfies all regulations of any known religion.
Health benefits of kafta
The kafta, though a meat dish, has its fair share of health benefits. Here are some of the reasons why kafta is considered healthier:
The kafta is traditionally a grilled dish that may be best to have at home or in one of Knox restaurants. This somehow elevates the health benefits of the kafta. By grilling, no additional oil or fat content is added. Also, the excess fat drips off the meat which makes the kafta generally healthier. People are guaranteed that it won’t be served swimming in so much oil and fat. 
However, as the dish evolved so has its means of cooking/preparation. To make it more accessible, others cook the kafta using their stovetops. If it is fried, the health level of the kafta decreases. So, try considering this cooking option. There are more convenient and doable ways to grill even at home without spending too much.
Use of lean meat
If you stick to using lean meat, then the caloric content of the kafta becomes significantly less. However, some may argue that there’s the risk of leaving the meat dry and bland. Given this valid concern, there are ways to ensure the moistness and juiciness of the meat without drowning it with much fat and/or oil. 
You may take inspiration from cooking burgers using lean meat. Following such tips ensured the burgers came out juicy and moist. Yes, kaftas and burgers are worlds apart in terms of preparation and overall characteristics. However, it won’t hurt to try some healthier cooking variations. To take inspiration from cooking lean burgers while maintaining their juiciness, click here.
Vegetarian option
Well, you know that this will come up, right? As previously mentioned, vegetarian versions of the kafta have emerged. It may not be as succulent and juicy as the original meaty counterpart; however, it is close enough. The vegetarian kafta is continuously evolving. Vegan/vegetarian foodies are always on the lookout for ways to make this version resemble the meat kafta.
Of course, the vegetarian kafta is healthier than its meat counterpart. However, fresh ingredients and natural (even organic) spices have to be used. Also, it should be completely free from additives and other artificial flavorings. Your traditional Mediterranean restaurant should know how to prepare the vegetarian kofta in the healthiest and freshest way possible.
Kafta Preparation
The kafta is good, in fact, really good. There are a lot of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurants out there serving this delightful dish. However, if you are feeling adventurous and exotic, this dish can also be made at home.
If you want to impress your family and friends or just satisfy your craving for some authentic Lebanese/Middle Eastern specialty, you are in luck! Here, you will know how to prepare the kafta by following some simple steps. But first, the ingredients:
Earlier, it was mentioned that the kafta has about 4 basic ingredients. However, it won’t hurt to spruce it up a little bit by adding a few more on the side, right? For a scrumptious kafta, here are the ingredients:
- Lean ground beef (or perhaps any meat of your choice)
- Grated onion (could be white or red)
- Garlic cloves
- Parsley
- Spices particularly cumin, oregano, sumac, and cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
These ingredients are also good to serve on the side:
- Feta cheese
- Slices of cucumber
- Tomatoes
- Parsley
What you need
- Skewers (There are skewers especially made for kafta or authentic kabob. It is ideal to use them for this purpose. However, a strong and durable bamboo skewer should do the trick. Just make sure to oil and moisten up the sticks to avoid burning. This also ensures that the meat doesn’t stick with the skewer when it’s ready to serve)
- Properly greased grill (Just grease the grill to avoid the meat from sticking. The way to do this is by brushing the grill with a tiny coating of oil)
Making the kafta
- In a bowl, combine all spices and the ground beef (or your choice of meat),
- When the spices are properly combined and distributed, add the grated onion, garlic, and finely chopped parsley,
- This is perhaps the most fun part of the entire kafta preparation. Here, the meat mixture becomes playdough or some modeling clay to achieve the ideal shape and size. Get the skewers and tightly wrap the meat mixture around to form a sausage or hotdog on a stick (make sure that no meat portion is falling off the stick),
- While you are preparing the kafta onto the skewers, pre-heat the grill. It’s a timesaver when two things are happening at the same time. Ensure that the grill is hot enough to produce that sizzle when putting on the meat.
- Grill the meat by constantly turning for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked but not burned,
- While the meat is grilling, prepare the other sides for the kafta. You may start slicing the pieces of cucumber, feta cheese, lay down the parsley, and slice the tomatoes. Arrange them beautifully on a serving dish or platter.
- When the kafta is cooked, remove it from the grill and serve.
- What else is left to do? Well, now is the time to enjoy it because you surely will!
In conclusion
If you are looking for a different twist from your usual serving of meat, the kafta is one great dish to try. Its way of preparation is unique, perhaps something you have never done before. Also, the added spices give the kafta an interesting twist. It becomes robust but subtle, subdued but tasty, and most importantly, meaty but healthy. The kafta may represent irony, but it’s a lovely culinary irony.
To enjoy food, a little bit of adventure is necessary. This is also a perfect way to find out cultures and traditions you probably don’t have any idea of. Food lets our senses travel. In place of physically going to places from airport to airport, trying different dishes from other countries enables us to do so.
In this case, kafta lets you see the beauty of Lebanon/Mediterranean. Every bite of the kafta lets you in on the beautiful and exotic culture of that part of the world. It brings such a culture closer even when it’s thousands of miles away. It’s like traveling sans the layovers and the nasty jet lag. Go ahead, try the kafta now. There’s a lot of the world to discover, only this time, it’s one dish at a time that you can enjoy in any of the Knox restaurants around.