Meatballs Classic

Meatballs Classic |

As Turkish people, we love matballs (we call it “köfte” in Turkish) so much that we eat it very often. It is the second popular Turkish fast food after simit. There are a lot of restaurants serving meatballs in each city of Turkey. Also, you can come across with vendors grilling and selling meatballs on streets. You may start to feel hungry with its so appetizing smell while walking on a street and you may find yourself ordering the second.

There are several versions of meatballs. All of them are equally tasty, but our favorite one is this classic version. I learnt how to make such scrumptious meatballs from a small meatball restaurant (Small ones are always better than the big ones at making meatballs). We often go there and one day I couldn’t wait any longer to ask for the recipe. The chef was so kind that he didn’t make me beg for it. He said “I’ll give my recipe provided that you won’t tell it to other chefs.” You’re not planning to open a meatball restaurant here, do you?

You can try this recipe and have the pleasure of it at your homes.


•    500gr ground beef
•    ½ cup breadcrumbs
•    ¼ cup water
•    1 onion, grated
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1tsp baking soda
•    1tsp fresh lemon juice
•    2tsp salt
•    2tsp cumin
•    2tsp thyme
•    2 tbsp olive oil

For serving:
•    Green pepper
•    Bread slices

The key point of this meatball is the time of its process. If you’re planning to grill/fry meatballs, you should start it one night before.

Put the ground beef, breadcrumbs, water and salt in a large bowl. Knead it very well with your hands. And put it in the refrigerator to wait it at least 10 hours. That’s why, you should start to make it a night before.

In the morning, mix the baking soda and lemon juice in a tablespoon. Add it to the mixture. Put the grated onion, minced garlic and spices in it. Knead all of them very well. Grab pieces as big as a walnut and shape it in your palms.  Wait these meatballs in the refrigerator until the evening. If they are too many for you, you can keep some of them in deep-freezer to cook them later.

When it comes to cook these meatballs, put the oil in a pan. Heat it over maximum level. Place the meatballs in the pan and bring the heat to medium level. Fry the meatballs by turning over them continually. Do not wait to cook first one side, then the other. It’s important to cook both sides at the same time. That’s why, you should continually turn them over. It will be cooked within 10 – 12 minutes. Do not overcook them. You can check one of them with a fork, if its inside turns from pink to brown, it’s cooked.
While cooking meatballs, in a non stick pan, grill some green peppers and bread slices without any oil. Then you can serve meatballs on these bread slices with green peppers. And piyaz is an indispensable salad near meatballs.

Meatballs Classic |

e_awardAnd I’d like to thank to Sophie at Sophies foodie files for passing her award on me. She’s so generously sharing her experiences and recipes with us in her blog. I’d like to share it with all of you. If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, go visit it or you miss a lot.


  1. says

    Ha, I love kofte, and its very popular in Persia as well, as I learned, the easy way, from my friend. I cannot wait to try your version – you do realize I might be cooking Turkish for the rest of 2009 to keep up with all these wonderful recipes you provide?

  2. says

    Since my husband doesn’t like tomato sauce, I always make Swedish meatballs for him but now that I learned about köfte, I will make it for him and I know he will love these! Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. says

    I just love meatballs, I definitely need to try your version. They look so delicious.

  4. says

    These meatballs look delicious! Although it’s not yet warm enough to grill outside, I imagine these will be marvelous made over an open flame!

  5. says

    Your meat balls look yummie!! Me too, I made little balls like that including lemon zest & lemon juice!! I love those tastes in the meat!!

  6. lil mama says


  7. Shima says

    I love kofte however in my opinion It is dreadful making kofte.
    I don’t like touching raw meat or washing the bowls afterwards, I don’t like shaping them into balls, neither standing for half hour frying them, is there an easier way to cook kofte I don’t know?

    • says

      Maybe you can wear kitchen gloves when making kofte. And if you don’t like frying, you can cook it in oven.

  8. Amandine says

    In 1978 in Oslo, when I was in second grade, 8 years old, we had a new girl starting school in my class. She was from Turkey, and the most exotic person I’d ever met. Not many foreigners in Norway in 1978! Her mum came to school one day, bringing turkish meatballs to all of us, – and it tasted like nothing I’d ever tasted in my life! I have tried to copy but never succeeded until I gave your recipe a try, and really think I nailed it! Thank you! They turned out almost as yummy as I remembered them, just as yummy if you strip them of pink nostalgia:-)

    • says

      Thank you Amandine for sharing your memory with us. Meatballs are one of the favorites of Turkish moms as no kid refuses these! Great to hear that you liked my recipe!


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