Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato-Sumac Sauce

4 to 6 Servings

40 minutes

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This recipe is our take on kebab hindi that, despite its name, is a Levantine, not Indian, dish. In traditional versions, the meat mixture is formed into stubby cigar shapes—as if shaped around a skewer—and the kebabs are baked in a tomato sauce. We opted to form the meat into patties and cook them, sans sauce, under the focused heat of the broiler. When the patties are done, we use the same baking sheet to broil tomatoes and onion until softened enough to form a chunky, relish-like sauce. The sauce is seasoned with tangy ground sumac, which is sold in well-stocked supermarkets, spice shops and Middle Eastern grocery stores. If it’s not available, simply squeeze a little lemon juice into the sauce while stirring in the water after broiling. Serve with rice or flatbread.

4 to 6



Don’t discard the foil lining from the baking sheet after transferring the patties to a serving platter. Keep the foil in place so that cleanup is a breeze after broiling the tomato-onion mixture.

40 minutes


  • pounds 80 percent lean ground beef

  • 1

    large red onion, ½ finely chopped, ½ thinly sliced, reserved separately


Michelle H.
July 4, 2022
My kids love these!
Anything is a win if I can get my picky eater 7-year-old to eat it, and she requests these now. I make them mild with sweet paprika instead of spicy, because of my kids, but they devour them and they love the veggies too. Five stars for sure.
Diana L.
December 16, 2022
Potential to be good
I would definitely add more salt to meat mixture. I also ended up using sweet paprika. The smell reminded me of growing up in Baku. I don't think it needs additional 2 tablespoons of water. My entire dish is floating in the juice. Its too much liquid. My kid liked it so giving it a 4 star rating.
Ron L.
June 10, 2022
Execellent flavor, but a little spicy
The combined flavor of the spicy meat balls and the chunky tomato sauce was delicious. However, my meatballs were a little too hot for my wife. I appreciate spicy food, but I know my hot paprika (sourced from markets in Budapest) is fairly hot... maybe one notch down from cayenne. I planned accordingly and used two tsp of hot paprika, one tsp of smoked paprika, and one tsp of sweet paprika. We both enjoyed the flavor though she thought the result was a bit too spicy. I served it with a cucumber-yogurt salad and some rice.
Cameron M.

This is worth it for the sauce alone. I have been in love with sumac ever since their mussahkan chicken recipe so used about a quarter cup. The sauce was so perfectly charred and savory I am thinking of so many other uses. The patties were good too but holy moly the sauce!