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Aug 24, 2014 11:25 AM

ISO Middle Eastern Meatball Recipies

I made Kofta Kebabs with ground turkey recently which were good albeit a bit dry. I have some ground beef that I want to turn into middle eastern meatballs to be served as an entrée. I can pan fry them or grill on a gas grill but I'm wondering if there are any preparations for browning and braising in a sauce like you would when making Italian meatballs? That might take care of the dryness. It does not necessarily have to be a tomato based sauce, in fact it might be nicer to have a "brown" sauce made with beef stock and soy, etc.. I am a total novice @ cooking middle eastern but I have accumulated a lot of spices & spice blends used in that part of the world. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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  1. Ottolenghi has a lot of meatball recipes. One that comes to mind is in a tahini sauce.

    If you use white meat turkey ground it will be too dry IMO. Dark meat works much bbetter

    5 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      Dark turkey still isn't going to be as moist as beef, or meat from most other 4-legged animals.

      1. re: greygarious

        That is not really true. It has to do with the Fat Content. If you have 10/90 ground Beef it will be dryer than most ground dark Meat Turkey.

        1. re: chefj

          If you are using 90/10 ground beef for meatballs, you have a lot to learn about cooking.

          1. re: greygarious

            Agreed but the blanket statement is wrong

            1. re: chefj

              Have it your way. IMO, turkey meatballs are invariably unappealing unless the turkey is mixed with a richer meat.

    2. Here's an Ottolenghi recipe from the book "Jerusalem"
      I'm sure all beef would be fine, though this calls for beef and lamb. read this too!
      Here's another post that looks promising
      one more

        1. Generally speaking , koftas are usually just cooked in the pan, oven, under the grill or on the BBQ, rather than braised in a sauce. Then served with a sauce separately. The internet abounds with yoghurt or tahini based ones.

          I've never made anything other than lamb koftas but would guess beef may work OK. If ever doing the turkey ones again, it may be worth looking up a recipe for toum, which is a Lebanese garlic sauce similar to aioli. It's often served with chicken shish kebabs, so should work with another white meat. Almost needless to say that with koftas you need a goodly amount of fat in there to prevent it becoming dry which may be a problem with turkey and, depending on your mix, may also be an issue with beef.

          Of course, there's no reason why you couldnt braise the beef koftas in beef stock and soy , as suggested in the OP, but the flavours won't be middle eastern.

          1. There a a few from Morocco here is an adapted Paula Wolfert Recipe
            Lebanon, Egypt and Syria, Dawood Basha(spiced Tomato Sauce)
            Tunisia, T'fina Pkaila (in a thin Broth with Beans and Spinach
            )Turkey, Ekşili Köfte Çorbası(in Yogurt-Lemon Sauce), Sulu Köfte (in Tomato Sauce)
            India, Kaccha Kofta Curry, Lamb or Goat Meat balls in a Mughlai Sauce And many others

            2 Replies
            1. re: chefj

              Dawood Basha is the first meatball in sauce recipe I thought of as well given the OP's parameters.

              Turkey meatballs are prone to drying out so beef is likely going to be an improvement with or without the sauce. From there, most any kafta/kefta recipe can be used to make pan fried or baked meatballs, the OP need only ensure that there is enough fat in the meat mixture to keep the end product moist.

              1. re: chefj

                Thanks for linking to the adapted kefta tagine recipe. Making it tonight!