Ktzitzot (Israeli Mini Burgers)

Ktzitzot (Israeli Mini Burgers)
From Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller

Kosher Status: Meat
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 33 minutes
Yield: 10 ktzitzot

Ktzitzot are perfect when fresh, but get a little rubbery if reheated. Chanie says that to be really authentic you’re supposed to pan-fry them with a touch of oil. But she always baked them, and that’s what Hubby wants. So that’s what Hubby gets. I much prefer frying them, with the authentic inclusion of sumac, cinnamon, and cumin. My Sephardic soul knows the difference.


1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac or paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Canola oil, for pan-frying (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine the beef, egg, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, sumac, and the cumin and cinnamon, if using, in a medium bowl; mix well.

3. Divide the beef mixture into 10 equal portions. Roll a portion between the palms of your hands to make a compact ball. Flatten the ball into a patty about 1/2-inch thick and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining portions. Bake the patties, flipping them halfway through, until done in the center and browned on the tops, 15 to 16 minutes for medium or 18 minutes for well-done, then serve.

4. Alternatively, pan-fry: Briefly sear both sides in 3 tablespoons hot oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 4 minutes per side of medium, 5 minutes per side for medium-well, or 6 minutes per side for well-done.

Quick Tip
Purplish-red sumac is a traditional spice in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a lovely tangy lemony flavor that’s great in meat, on salads, and sprinkled on hummus. It’s usually available in Middle Eastern markets or spice shops. If you can’t find it, you can sub in paprika—it doesn’t taste the same, but it has a similar look. Chanie uses paprika in place of sumac all the time, so I guess that makes it OK. I do happen to have a jar of genuine sumac, and I love it!

Dress It Up

Hummus-Topped Ktzitzot
Place ktzitzot on a pretty platter. Top each patty with a dollop of Lemon Lover’s Hummus, a sprinkle of sumac, and a drizzle of olive oil. Scatter some fresh parsley leaves around the platter.

Make It A Meal

Ktzitzot Pita Sandwiches
Instead of making small patties from the meat mixture, make four large burgers and pop them into pitas or onto buns stuffed with lettuce and slathered with Lemon Lover’s Hummus or Parsley Tahini or both.

Pair It: Elvi Mati Rioja

Ktzitzot explode with flavor, so pair them with a spunky wine! This spicy but light Rioja from the rice Ebro valley in Spain will complement this dish with true Sephardic flair.

Find this story online: https://www.tabletmag.com/recipes-2/145650/ktzitzot-israeli-mini-burgers