x0x Kofte: The Meatballs of Turkish Cuisine
- x0x Kofte: The Meatballs of Turkish Cuisine
by Tuna Metya
In Turkish cuisine, nearly all kinds of meat, except pork, have a
prominent place. At every meal there is at least one dish prepared
with meat such as pastirma (Turkish "bacon") or sucuk (Turkish
pepperoni) served at breakfast. Also, all kinds of kebab and special
vegetable dishes prepared with meat are eaten at lunch and dinner. And
no Turkish man's stomach could be full without having a meat dish with
pilaf or bread on his plate.
Because of meat's popularity, Turks have many types of meat dishes,
but one item in particular is quite popular; it is called "kofte"
(meatballs). Maybe because of its taste, maybe because of its easy
preparation or maybe because of its nice shape, but whatever the
reason, everybody in Turkey loves kofte. And every young Turkish girl
has to know how to prepare kofte if she wants to be able to find a
husband -- or so say the older-generation Turks.
So here are some easy kofte recipes. Perhaps some day you may want to
teach them to your daughter.
Dry Meatballs (Kuru Kofte)
Ingredients: 750 gr. mixture of ground beef and lamb; 2 grated small
onions; 100 gr. bread (without crust); 2 eggs; 1/2 cup water; a little
pepper and cumin; salt to taste; 4 tablespoons flour; and 1 tablespoon
Soak the bread in water, and when thoroughly soaked, remove from water
and sponge by hand.
Place the bread in a bowl. Add 2 eggs, salt, pepper, cumin, onions,
water and the meat mixture. Knead and roll in the palm of your hand
until they have the thickness and shape of a finger. Roll the kofte in
flour, then fry them in butter for about 5 minutes.
Woman's Thigh Meatballs (Kadin Budu Kofte)
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of rice; 1 finely chopped onion; 500 gr. ground
meat; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. For frying: 2 egg yolks and a cup of oil.
Mix all the ingredients except the oil and egg yolks. Knead. Make
flattened ovals 5 cm. long. Place these meat patties side by side in a
frying pan and cover with water. Cook on medium heat. As soon as the
water is absorbed, place the enlarged patties on a plate.
Beat the yolks in a bowl. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Place
each patty in the egg yolk, then in the oil. Brown each side for 3
minutes and then serve.
Meatballs with Egg and Lemon Sauce (Terbiyeli Kofte)
Ingredients: 450 gr. minced beef; 1/4 cup rice; salt and pepper; 1 cup
finely chopped parsley; 1/2 cup flour; 5 cups water; 1 whole onion; 2
tablespoons butter; 4 diced carrots; and 4 diced potatoes.
Place meat into a bowl, then add rice, salt pepper and parsley. Knead
well together. Wet palms and form walnut-sized meatballs. Put them
into a bowl with flour, and shake until meatballs are coated with the
Bring water to a boil, then add onion, butter, carrots and salt.
Transfer meatballs gently into the boiling water. Add potatoes when
meatballs are half cooked. Simmer for about 1/2 hour on lowest
possible heat until the meatballs are cooked. Remove from heat and
discard the cooked onion.
To prepare the sauce: Ingredients: 2 eggs; and 4 tablespoons lemon
Break the eggs into a bowl, then add lemon juice and beat the two
together. Gradually add 4 tablespoons of broth from the meatballs.
Stir once. The dish should have plenty of gravy.
Grilled Meatballs (Cizbiz Kofte)
Ingredients: 900 gr. minced lamb or veal; 1 grated large onion; 4
slices of day-old crusts removed from white bread (soaked in water and
squeezed dry); 1 clove pressed garlic; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1/2
tablespoon cumin; salt and pepper; and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Place minced meat, onion, bread, garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt,
pepper and baking soda into a bowl. Knead well together until all the
ingredients blend. Pick up the kneaded meat with two hands, lift it
and throw it on the hard surface of the kitchen counter. Repeat this
process 10 times.
Wet palms with water and shape meat mixture into small ovals and
flatten them. Set aside.
Brush grill with olive oil and grill the meatballs on both sides.
Serve with rice or french fries, grilled tomatoes and green peppers.
Ingredients: 500 gr. ground meat; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon
cummin; 1/4 teaspoon red pepper; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; 1 clove
garlic; juice of 2 medium onions; 1 slice of bread; and 2 demitasses
Soak bread in water and squeeze dry. Combine meat, onion juice,
crushed garlic, bread, salt, cumin, red pepper and black pepper in a
bowl. Knead well while adding 2 tablespoons water.
Wet palms and form half-walnut-sized balls. Heat olive oil in frying
pan over medium heat and brown meatballs evenly on both sides. Serve
with potato chips.
Shepherd's Salad (Coban Salatasi)
Ingredients: 2 large diced tomatoes; 2 diced cucumbers; 2 chopped
long, thin green peppers (sivri biber); 6 thinly sliced radishes; 1
onion sliced into rings; and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. For the lemon
dressing: 6 tablespoons lemon juice; 1/4 cup olive oil; and salt and
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix all ingredients together and
gently toss salad with the lemon dressing just before serving.
Tomato and Onion Salad (Soganli Domates Salatasi)
Ingredients: 4 large ripe tomatoes; 1 large onion; and 2 teaspoons
salt. For lemon dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil; 5 tablespoons olive oil;
salt and pepper; and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. You can also use vinegar
dressing: its ingredients are 1/4 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup vinegar; 1/2
cup chopped parsley; and salt.
Wash, peel and seed tomatoes. Cut crosswise slices. Slice the onion
finely. Sprinkle with salt, rub in, rinse and squeeze dry. Place
tomatoes and onions into a bowl.
Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Pour dressing
over tomatoes and onions, and toss. Garnish with parsley.
This salad can also be made in different variations such as with
peeled and sliced cucumber or without tomatoes. For the latter, cut 2
large onions into very fine slices. Place in a bowl with salt. Knead.
Wash with water several times, squeeze dry by hand. Spread on a salad
platter. Serve with vinegar dressing.
Spinach Root Salad (Ispanak Koku Salatasi)
Ingredients: 1,800 gr. spinach; 1 cup boiling water; and salt and
pepper. For the dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil; and 6 tablespoons lemon
Use only the roots and stems of the spinach. Cut off the leaves. Wash
well and place in a saucepan with 1 cup of boiling water. Cook
uncovered for about 10 minutes. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
Place boiled spinach roots and stems in a bowl. Mix olive oil and
lemon juice together. Pour over the roots and toss.