Koofteh Tabrizi (کوفته تبریزی) is a traditional and trendy food of Persian cuisine. Its fame is not limited to Iran. It is famous all over the world.
Indeed, it is a big meatball combined with herbs and some grains. Different types of meatballs are cooked all over the middle east, but Koofteh Tabrizi is more known because of its cooking method and individual, unique stuffings. This food originated in Tabriz, one of the essential cities in Iran. In the past, they used stone mortars to prepare the meat for Koofteh. Nowadays, they use a mincer for grounding the ingredients.
They can use different types of herbs or grains inside it, but we are going to describe the most famous one that Tabrizian people cook it. Most of the time, it has a juicy part like Abgoosht, that people make Tilit (mixing pieces of bread with the juicy part of a food) out of it. It is a formal food, and it can be served in both formal and informal ceremonies. Usually, they serve it in ritual ceremonies as Nazri. You can find it in classic restaurants, almost in every city of Iran.
Different types of Koofteh Tabrizi:
There are many types of Koofteh available in middle eastern countries. In Iran, you can find different types of it according to the region of origin and the ingredients added to it. For example, there is Koofteh Morgh, which is a meatball made by chicken instead of lamb. Or Koofteh Tabrizi, which owes its name and fame to the region it originated in Tabriz. There are vegan Kooftehs that make it with soybeans instead of meat.
Important Nutrition Facts of Koofteh Tabrizi:
Koofteh Tabrizi has about 190 Kcal per 100 gr. It is an excellent source of protein since its main ingredient is meat, it has 13 gr protein per 100gr and about 20gr carbohydrates. This food contains most of the vitamins, mainly vitamin A and vitamin B. It has 490 mg sodium, 56 mg calcium, and 45 mg magnesium, and many other necessary minerals. You should add the nutritions of Sangak to these amounts since it is usually served with Sangak.
Koofteh is a meatball, so if you are a vegetarian, you have to change the primary ingredient of the recipe, the meat. In the past, there was no vegan Koofteh in Iran, but nowadays, they use soybeans instead of meat. All you need to do is to ground soybeans and soak them. After a bit of sauteing with low heat, they are ready to add. Add them to other ingredients and grind them together in a mincer. Other components are vegetables or are easy to change to a vegan type.
Serving Style of Koofteh Tabrizi:
Iranians serve Koofteh as the main course for dinner or lunch. Usually, it includes two parts, a juicy part which is cooked using gravy, tomato paste, saffron, and other spices and the meatballs. Iranians cut bread into tiny pieces and make Tilit by adding the bread to the Juicy part. They eat the meatballs with bread. In the restaurants, they serve it in smaller sizes. However, Koofteh Tabrizi is famous for its extra-large format and its stuffings. It is so big that it can place an entire boiled egg inside itself as stuffing.
In the past, they put small chickens inside it. The most popular bread to eat Koofteh with is Sangak. Usually, Sangak is the best choice for the foods that have a juicy part. Sabzi Khordan (سبزی خوردن) is the best side dish you can serve next to Koofteh. Torshi, Salad Shirazi, and fresh onions are other side dishes that Iranians serve along with Koofteh. Doogh (Persian yogurt drink) and, especially soda Doogh, is the best drink to serve next to Koofteh. However, you can serve and eat it with the drink you like better.
What are the ingredients of Koofteh Tabrizi?
The main ingredient is meat. For Koofteh Tabriz, you need lamb, mostly tight parts. You may use beef or a mixture of beef and lamb. However, we recommend you use lamb only, and if you want to add any other meat, you can add a little chicken while grounding. Split chickpeas and half semi seed rice are the grains; you are going to need while cooking a Koofteh. It is necessory to have some herbs, including leeks and savory. You can either use chopped fresh herbs or dried herbs.
Moreover, you need saffron, turmeric, salt, and nutmeg as spices. For stuffing, you need walnuts, dried palms (Aloo Bokhara), barberries, and an adequate amount of fried onions. You can boil eggs and place them inside your Koofteh. If you are afraid of cracking your meatball, you can skip the eggs.
How to cook Koofteh Tabrizi?
To cook Koofteh Tabrizi, you should wash and dry the meat. It is essential to use dehydrated meat. Then you have to ground it with split chickpeas in a mincer for two or three times. You have to pout small pieces of meat, and little amounts od split chickpeas at a time. You are required to soak and cook the split chickpeas separately, and the ground them with meat. Herbs are the other ingredients that you have to add while grounding. If you are using fresh herbs, it is important to chop them carefully.
After you mixed and grounded the meat along with grains and herbs in the mincer for two or three times, you can prepare the stuffing. If you want to place a boiled egg inside each Koofteh, then you should make them beforehand. For the filling, mix chopped walnuts, black barberries, and fried onions with dried plums in a bowl. To cook the Koofteh, pout some meat mix in a bowl, and make a curve in the middle. Pout some more meat mixture on the stuffing, make a ball inside your hands and fry them in the oil. For a juicy sauce, mix tomato paste, gravy, and some spices. If you re going to make Tilit, you need to add more gravy.
This recipe is adequate for three people. The preparation time is 30 minutes, and the cooking time is about 1.5 hours. You need to prepare some bread, preferably Sangak, to serve Koofteh with it.
- 10 oz ground lamb
- 4 tablespoon split chickpeas
- 2 onions
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cup of gravy
- 1 cup of barberries
- 1 egg (if you want to use boiled egg as stuffing you should boil 3 eggs)
- 1 cup fresh chopped leeks and savory (or ½ cup dried herbs)
- 1 tablespoon rice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup brewed liquid saffron
- 1 teaspoon pepeer
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 dried plums (Aloo Bokhara)
- Soak the split chickpeas for some hours and cook them along with ½ pinch of caraway seeds.
- Cook the rice with a pinch of saffron and turmeric in boiling water
- Ground the meat, herbs, and split chickpeas and the rice for two or three times in a mincer.
- Slice and fry the onions until they caramelize
- Add spices to the mixture of meat and herbs.
- Add egg and mix it well with the combination.
- Add gravy, two cups of warm water, tomato paste, and saffron to a pot to make the juicy sauce.
- Mix chopped walnuts, fried onions and plums, and the barberries to make the stuffing.
- Fill half of a medium-size bowl or a big cup with a mixture of meat and herbs.
- Make a little curve in the middle of that meat.
- Pout the stuffing into that curve and cover it with an adequate amount of meat.
- Make a ball-like shape in your hands.
- If you are using eggs as stuffing, be careful of cracking, and place the meat carefully on top of the filling.
- Fry the meatballs in a pan with oil
- Pout the meatballs into the sauce, you had made, and let them make chemistry
- Serve the juicy part and meatballs separately.
- You can use walnuts and barberries to decorate your meatballs.
- Mix some glee to the meat while grounding.
- Add ¼ chicken’s breast to the lamb.
- You can use other nuts instead of walnuts, such as almonds.
- You can add some dried sour grapes to the stuffing.
- To avoid cracking, you can place smaller eggs, such as quail eggs.