Daoud Basha

Daoud is Arabic for David and Basha is a Turkish Ottman class title equivalent to Lord. This title was given to high ranking personnel in the Ottman political system like governors and army generals. Dawood Basha was a nobleman in the Levant and the dish was invented in his kitchen.

Daoud Basha dish is meatballs cooked in tomato sauce and served with rice or bulgur in the Levant country, while it is served with pasta in Europe.





For the kafta balls:

1- 500 g. ground beef or lamb, or a mix of both

2- ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

3- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

4- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

5- A dash of all spice

6- A dash black pepper


For the tomato sauce:

1- 3 large onions, quartered

2- 3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced

3- oil

4- A dash white pepper

5- 1 teaspoon tomato paste 2 1/2 cups water

6- 1 tablespoon butter

7- Salt to taste

8- 1/3 cup pine nuts



1- In a bowl, mix the meat, onion, parsley, allspice, cayenne pepper and salt. (Squeeze the onion and parsley with the palm of your hands before adding it to the meat, ridding it of the excess fluids).

2- Divide the meat into portions, about the size of an apricot. Gently roll each portion between your palms, creating round shaped balls. Set aside.

3- Add oil to a wide skillet and roast the pine nuts over medium heat stirring constantly until golden in color. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4- Add the meatballs in batches to the same skillet and sear the balls on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside.

5- Saute the onions, in the same skillet, to translucent.

6- Add the diced tomatoes and salt and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes start wilting, about 5 minutes.

7- Pour the water and add the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate.

8 - Sprinkle the white pepper and cayenne pepper. Return the meatballs to the skillet and bring the mixture to the ball. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the toasted pine nuts and serve it with plain rice or rice and vermicelli.

If you are a pomegranate molasses lover, drizzle a dash over your plate.


Lara Khouli