Kufteh Tabrizi - Stuffed Turkish Meatballs
Kufteh Tabrizi is originated from the city of Tabriz in the north-west of Iran. The beautiful historical city is famous for mountains, it's colder climate, and of course their tasty food.
These giant meatballs are made with a combination of rice, split peas, herbs, and ground meat (in this recipe we have used plant-based mince as an alternative). What makes this dish super special is the delicious stuffing in the middle of each Kufteh such as dried fruits (barberries, plums), walnuts, and fried onions, it's then cooked in a flavourful tomato spiced sauce
There are 3 steps required to cook this dish, but the results are absolutely worth the effort!
-1/2 Cup Rice
-1/3 Cup Yellow Split Peas
-500g Mince Beef (Or Plant-Based alternative)
-Small Bunch of Parsley, Spring Onion & Tarragon,
Finely Chopped (Or 2 Tbsp dried parsley)
-2 Tbsp Chickpea Flour or Wheat Flour
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-1 Jar or Exotic Bazaar's Tabrizi - Turkish Recipe Base
-Half a Brown Onion, Finley Sliced
-8 Prunes or Dried Apricots
-1/4 Cup Walnuts.
-Salt and Pepper to taste
Step 1- Cook the rice and split peas.
- Wash the rice and split peas together a few times until the water runs clear. Soak for at least half an hour.
- Drain the soaking water of rice and split peas. Add them to a non-stick pot and pour water up to cover about 2cm above the rice and split peas. Cook them until all the water is absorbed. Set aside until it cools down.
Step 2- Fry the Onion
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, add sliced onions and fry until they start to change colour. Add the 1/4 tsp of Kebab spice and fry for another minute and then set aside.
Step 3- Assemble
1- In a very large bowl, combine the cooked rice and split peas, the mince, chopped herbs, chickpea flour, and kebab spice all together by hand until the ingredients hold together. It needs to be mixed well, otherwise, the Kufteh may crack open during the cooking process.
2- Take a handful of the Kufteh mix and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Put about a tsp of fried onion, one walnut, and one prune in the middle, and gently bring the sides together to form a ball shape. Place the Kufteh on a plate. Repeat until all the mince is used. Rest the Kufteh in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight if you have the time.
Step 3- Cook
3- In a large pot (big enough for all the Kufteh balls) add a Jar of Exotic Bazaar's Tabrizi sauce, 1 cup of water, and bring to boil.
4- Gently place the Kufteh balls in the sauce and cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat with the lid on. Every 10 minutes, pour some of the sauce on top of Kufteh and gently turn them around halfway through so they will cook evenly. (You can also oven bake them with the sauce)
5- Serve in a bowl and use some of the stuffing for garnish.
6- Enjoy Kufteh Tabrizi with rice, flat or Turkish bread, pickles, and fresh salad.
- You can cook the Kufteh Tabrizi in the oven as well. Preheat oven to 180C fan force, use a deep baking dish, add the sauce first, and then Kufteh balls. Bake for about 40 minutes.
-The Plant-based mince normally contains salt and spices, you can use half the amount of Kebab spice for that.
- I used barberries for garnish here, you can find them in Iranian supermarkets or use cranberry sauce instead.