Kabab Halla (Pomegranate Braised Beef)

Pomegranate braised beef

This dish has and always will grace every Egyptian dinner table. Kabab Halla is a cornerstone of Egyptian cooking. Kabab is the meat and Halla is the pot. It's basically the home cook's way of bringing the street food of skewered tender beef (kabab) into the home. 

It will blow you away how minimal ingredients can be so big on flavour. The main star here is the beef and the onions. Cooked slowly so they become rich and dark. The onions and garlic need to be grated so they are pretty much a puree. I use a mini food processor to speed things up. Just make sure you blitz them really well. No chunks. This will ensure a rich and flavourful gravy. 

The pomegranate isn't traditional. It's my twist to bring some sweet and tangy notes to the umami. If fresh pomegranate isn't available, try a drizzle of pomegranate molasses at the end and sprinkle some dried cranberries on top.

Serves 6 


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 kg gravy beef diced (3cm cubes)
2 large grated onions
4 crushed garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups water 
1 pomegranate


Heat the oil in a large pot and add in all the beef at once with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well together over medium heat until the onions are cooked and the meat has absorbed the juices in the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup of water and then reduce the heat and cover the pot. 

Check on the water level every 20 minutes. When the meat absorbs the liquid, stir in another 1/2 cup and then cover and simmer. Repeat this process until the meat is tender and a rich gravy has formed. It should take between 1 hour or 1.5 hours depending on the beef. 

Cut the pomegranate in half. Squeeze one of the halves over the meat. Garnish the dish with pomegranate seeds from the other half.

Serve with white or basmati rice.