Köfte or Turkish Meatballs

by Rebecca Manor

Adapted from Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan

Serves 4

  • 1 cup lean ground lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 hot chillis, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 slices of day-old wheat bread, mashed into crumbs (large pieces removed)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • oil for frying
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pitta bread, warmed before serving
  • lemon wedges

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 12 cups plain Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt

In a bowl mix the lamb with the onion, garlic, and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly to ensure that all the flavors blend well.  Knead with your hands and then add in the chillis, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup and chopped herbs.  Mix well with your hands.  Season with salt and pepper.  Form into small meatballs, about the size of a plum.  

In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil and add the meatballs and cook for 8-12 minutes.  Meatballs should be browned on all sides and cooked through.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce.  Smash clove of garlic and add a pinch of salt.  Smash into a fine paste.  Stir into yoghurt.

Serve the meatballs in warmed pittas, with the yoghurt sauce, and lemon wedges.  We added the forthcoming Gypsy salad to our pittas and it was perfect.

© 2009 Rebecca Manor