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Tabrizi Style Meatballs (Kufteh Tabrizi)


  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons dried barberries, rinsed, or cranberries
  • 6 pitted dried prunes
  • 6 walnut pieces
  • 6 dried apricot halves
  • 2 cups yellow split peas or red lentils
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or beef, or chicken or turkey thighs)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh summer savory, or 2 tablespoons dried
  • 2 cups chopped spring onions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint, or 2 tablespoons dried
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil, butter or ghee
  • 3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons grape molasses or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups broth or water


  • 1. For the filling: Cook the eggs (hard boiled), shell, and set aside.
  • 2. For the meatballs: In a large saucepan, cook split peas and rice for 20 minutes in 6 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • 3. In a wide mixing bowl, combine onion, split peas and rice, salt, pepper, turmeric, saffron-rosewater, rice flout, ground lamb, summer savory, spring onions, tarragon, and mint, and knead by hand for 1 minute. Add eggs, one by one, as they are absorbed, and continue to knead by hand for 1 minute longer until the mixture has reached a consistency of a smooth paste. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • 4. For the broth: Heat the oil and brown the onion in a Dutch oven or large braiser, wide enough to fit 6 large meatballs (size of a large orange) with space between them. Add the rest of the ingredients for the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer.
  • 5. Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C)
  • 6. Place a bowl of water next to you. Using damp hands, divide the meatball paste into 6 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a large ball. Using your thumb, make a deep, wide indentation into the center of each ball. Place 1 hard boiled egg, 1 tablespoon barberries, 1 prune, 1 piece walnut, and 1 apricot half into each indentation. Close up with meat paste and shape the meatball into a large, smooth ball.
  • 7. Gently slip each meatball, as you make it, into the simmering broth. Be sure that you leave some space between the meatballs.
  • 8. Cook, uncovered, on the stove top for 15 minutes. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Baste once with pan juices to prevent drying out. Adjust broth seasoning to taste. Serve with bread and yogurt.
  • Vegetarian Variation: Cook 2 cups dried brown lentils and 1/2 cup bulgur with 6 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain thouroughly, allow to cool, and use it in place of the meat in step 3.
  • Note: Meatballs may be individually wrapped and ties in cheesecloth to prevent them from coming apart.
  • **This recipe is taken from renown Persian chef, Najmieh Batmanglij's "New Food of Life". Available for sale on our site**