Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More

Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Roasts and Kebaps

Baked Turkish mini meatballs, koftes in pepper and tomato sauce

We Turks love our koftes, Turkish homemade meatballs. A childhood favorite, they get ready in almost no time and the delicious aroma greets you as soon as you are in the kitchen.

Mini Turkish meatballs, koftes; a delicious appetizer or a main course with rice aside.

Mini Turkish meatballs, koftes; a delicious appetizer or a main course with rice aside.

I recently made these baked mini koftes, meatballs for a friend, who follows a gluten free diet. They were delicious and moist in pepper and tomato sauce, also healthy, as being baked. You can serve them as a mezze, starter or bigger portions can make a lovely main course with some rice and steamed vegetables aside. Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt would complement these mini koftes very well too.

This lovely meatballs in peppery sauce recipe and many others are included at my Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  Signed copies for 30 % Off for a limited period at this link, delivered worldwide including the USA.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 3 reviews
Baked Turkish mini meatballs, koftes in pepper and tomato sauce
 
These delicious Turkish mini meatballs, koftes are a real crowd pleaser. The pepper and tomato sauce make them moister; they are also gluten-free and healthy, as they are baked.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizers, Mezzes
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 225gr/ 8oz ground beef
  • 225gr/8oz ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 fl oz./1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil aside to shape the koftes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the grated onions, eggs and parsley and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously.
  3. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well.
  4. Cover this ground meat mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, while stirring often.
  6. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and 8 fl oz./ 1 cup of water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
  7. Take out the ground meat mixture from the fridge to shape meatballs. Have a small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil near you.
  8. Wet your hands and take a small walnut size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place the meatballs in a baking tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into mini koftes, meatballs.
  9. Bake the mini koftes in the pre heated oven (180 C / 350 F) for 25 minutes, they will start to get a nice golden brown coating.
  10. Transfer the baked mini koftes in a large baking dish and pour in the pepper and tomato sauce around them, giving a gentle mix.
  11. Bake the mini koftes in tomato and pepper sauce for a further 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken, the flavors blend in and meatballs will have a wonderful coating.
  12. Serve hot with plain rice and Cacik dip of cucumber, yoghurt and mint if you like.
 

 

Continue Reading

Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Our national favorite Patlican, or aubergine or eggplants are appearing in the markets more now; I love its deliciously sweet, meaty flesh in mezzes, salads, casseroles, even in boreks, savory pastries. This recipe, bended eggplant slices with meatballs or Patlicanli beli bukuk, or Boynu bukuk as we call it, is a childhood favorite. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is simply heavenly. All you need is some crusty bread or rice aside and you are all set with a scrumptious, complete meal.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

You need slim and long purple eggplants for this recipe, as they are first quartered lengthways and then each quarter are cut into deep splits (keeping the skin intact). Once the slices are shallow fried (or baked in the oven, if you prefer), they will soften and bend. If you are in Turkey, you can get those really slim and long eggplants, patlican, which won’t need cutting lengthways; you can just cut deep splits side ways and prepare the recipe.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

We then insert small meatballs, koftes to these slits, which will naturally bend the eggplants and hence comes the name; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk or Patlicanli Boynu Bukuk Kebab (Bended Eggplant Kebab). It may sound a little tricky to do, but it really is not; you will get the hang of it in a few tries. The meatballs cocooned around the eggplants cook deliciously in the juicy sauce with peppers and tomato sauce.

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs - Patlicanli beli bukuk

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs – Patlicanli beli bukuk

I hope you enjoy one of our favorite kebabs with patlican, eggplant. Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint would be delicious aside, so as this wholesome bulgur pilaf with almonds. I use biber salcasi, Turkish red pepper paste  to flavor the sauce and it adds a delicious heat, if you like it too. If not, you can replace it with tomato paste.

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk
 
I hope you enjoy this childhood favorite; Bended Eggplant Slices with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk. It is a delicious, moist kebab that you can prepare ahead of time. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is heavenly; an impressive dish, great for entertaining.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish casseroles with eggplants and meatballs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 long purple eggplants/aubergines
  • 2 bell or pointy peppers (green, red or yellow), deseeded, quartered and cut in chunky slices
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Light olive oil or canola oil to shallow fry the eggplants
  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, Biber salcasi or tomato paste
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp. water to dilute pepper paste or tomato paste
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Kofte/Meatball ingredients:
  • 400 gr/14 oz. ground beef, lamb or mixture
  • 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 slice of slate bread (white or brown), soaked in a bowl of water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cut the stalk of the eggplants and slice in half lengthways. Then cut each slice again in lengthways, you will get 4 long quarters per eggplant.
  3. Then cut each eggplant quarter into 3 -4 deep splits (keeping the skin intact), depending on the length of the eggplant.
  4. Sprinkle salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture and the bitter juices come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly afterwards.
  5. To prepare the meatballs, soak the stale bread slice in a small bowl of water then squeeze dry. In a large bowl, combine all the kofte, meatball ingredients except the meat and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogenously. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 - 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well. Cover this mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes (or a little more, if you can).
  6. While the meatball mixture is resting, prepare the eggplant quarters. Pour in 2 tbsp. light olive oil or canola oil in a heavy pan and lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes. You may need to top up with light olive oil if you’re shallow frying (Alternatively, you can bake the eggplant quarters in the preheated oven at 200 C, for 20 – 25 minutes. Make sure the tray and the eggplants are greased with olive oil before baking). Place the sautéed eggplant quarters on a large tray and set aside.
  7. Shape the meatball mixture into walnut sized meatballs. Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in. You will insert 3-4 meatballs into each eggplant slice.
  8. Carry on until all the meatballs are inserted into the splits of the eggplants. If you have any meatballs left over, you can place them in the middle of the bended eggplants with meatballs or you can place them around the tray.
  9. Place the eggplants with meatballs in a baking tray.
  10. Spread the chopped onions, garlic and peppers around and stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil over these vegetables and gently mix with your hands.
  11. Pour in the chopped tomatoes around the tray.
  12. Dilute 1 tbsp. pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste, with 4 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Pour in this mixture over the tray too.
  13. Stir in 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water over the tray and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
  14. Bake, uncovered for 40 – 45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked and meatballs and vegetables start to brown. About 25 minutes into baking, check if more water needed in the tray. If so add another ½ cup of water, it is delicious to have some juice in this tray bake.
  15. Gently take out the squared eggplant slices with meatballs, using a large spatula. Serve hot with Cacik dip of cucumbers with yoghurt by the side. Plain rice or bulgur pilaf with almonds (recipe available in my blog) also goes well with this eggplant & meatball kebab.
 

 

Continue Reading

Turkish Meatballs, Kofte 101 and Grated Carrots, Red Cabbage Salad

Homemade Turkish meatballs; a childhood favorite; delicious with grated carrot & red cabbage salad aside.

Homemade Turkish meatballs; a childhood favorite; delicious with grated carrot & red cabbage salad aside.

These homemade Turkish meatballs are one of my childhood favorites; my mother would always keep some in the freezer ready to cook instantly and the delicious aroma greets you as soon as you are home. For me there is nothing quite like homemade meatballs, our koftes.

Historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; they have been making delicious koftes for almost 100 years.

Historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; they have been making delicious koftes for almost 100 years.

We Turks love our koftes, Turkish meatballs. Almost every region in Turkey has their own specialty of these meatballs. One of my favorite type is the Sultanahmet Koftesi prepared by the historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; served with fasulye piyazi, delicious beans salad with red onions and sumac aside; they have been making these delicious Koftes in Sultanahmet, Istanbul for almost 100 years.

Izmir kofte; Turkish meatballs with potato, peppers and tomatoes; simply delicious.

Izmir kofte; Turkish meatballs with potato, peppers and tomatoes; simply delicious.

How about the melt-in-the-mouth Izmir Kofte? Here the Turkish style meatballs are cooked with tomatoes, peppers and onions in a delicious tomato based sauce. A delicious, complete meal you can prepare ahead of time.

Back to our Turkish meatballs 101; here are some important tips on kofte making that my mother taught us; it is simple, delicious and a winner with children, as well as adults. I follow the delicious Turkish blog, Kulaktan Dolma Tarifler by Semsa Denizsel and loved her tips on making proper kofte too. Now comes some important tips on homemade Turkish meatballs:

  • I like to have half & half mixture of ground beef and ground lamb in my meatballs; you need at least about 25% of the meat content as ground lamb for that delicious, melt-in-the-mouth meatball taste.
  • Our koftes have quite a generous grated onion in it, as well as parsley, stale bread, 1 egg and salt & ground black pepper seasoning. My mother includes a generous amount of stale bread crumbs in the mixture and that makes koftes taste wonderful and moist.
  • Mix the ingredients (except the meat) first; that softens the onions and the mixture blends with the meat better.
  • Make sure to rest the shaped meatballs in the fridge for about 30 minutes or more before cooking, that helps the meatballs and flavors to settle.
  • If you are a kofte, meatballs fan like we are, make a double batch and freeze half of the shaped but uncooked meatballs in the fridge. You can layer these meatballs in a container and put cling film between each layer, so that they don’t stick together. Just make sure to remove the cling film before cooking.
  •  A great tip from Semsa; cook one meatball on the pan or grill first to check the seasoning. If they need more salt or pepper, add some to the rest of the meatballs. Good seasoning is essential.
Kofte, homemade Turkish meatballs, a favorite for the children and adults.

Kofte, homemade Turkish meatballs, a favorite for the children and adults.

Turkish cuisine is a feast to all senses; healthy, family friendly, great for entertaining too. I have included over 90 authentic Turkish recipes at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table can be ordered at this link with 30 % off discount, it is delivered promptly, worldwide.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

 

Homemade Turkish Meatballs, Kofte; A Childhood Favorite: 

Serves 4 – 6

225gr/ 8oz ground beef

225gr/8oz ground lamb

1 medium or 2 small onions, grated

3 slices of stale bread (of your choice), crusts removed

1 egg

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Light olive oil for shallow frying

 

Kofte ingredients; first mix all except the meat well.

Kofte ingredients; first mix all except the meat well.

 Soak the stale bread slices in a small bowl of water then squeeze them dry. In a large bowl, combine all the kofte, meatball ingredients except the meat and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well. Cover this mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side.

Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side.

After 30 minutes or just before cooking them, have a bowl of water next to you and start shaping the meatballs. First wet your hands and take a small tangerine size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Slightly flatten each ball with the heel of your hand. Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into meatballs.

Sizzling, delicious koftes, Turkish meatballs.

Sizzling, delicious koftes, Turkish meatballs.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide, heavy (preferably non-stick) pan and place the meatballs, 4 -5 of them at a time. Cook for about 6 -8 minutes (3- 4 minutes each side), until cooked and browned on all sides. Alternatively, you can grill them until brown both sides. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Home made kofte, Turkish meatballs, ready to enjoy!

Home made kofte, Turkish meatballs, ready to enjoy!

Serve the meatballs hot with this refreshing grated carrots and red cabbage salad by the side. Cacik dip of diced cucumber in yoghurt with dried mint would go also really well with these delicious meatballs.

 Grated Carrots and Red Cabbage Salad – Havuc ve Kirmizi Lahana Salatasi

This crunchy, vibrant salad is popular served in lokantas as well as kebab houses in Turkey and accompanies grilled meat, fish and vegetables deliciously. It is simple to make and the refreshing lemon juice and the sharp balsamic vinegar dressing pair greatly with the carrots and the red cabbage.

Vibrant, refreshing grated carrot and red cabbage salad with sliced cucumbers.

Vibrant, refreshing grated carrot and red cabbage salad with sliced cucumbers.

Serves 4 – 6

1 small red cabbage

2 medium carrots, grated

1 small or ½ medium size cucumber, halved and sliced

30 ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

45 ml. / 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the tough outer leaves and the middle hard part of the red cabbage. Halve the cabbage and slice thinly. Place the sliced cabbage in a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt and the pepper; using your hands to knead well to soften them up. If you have time, cover and keep this marinated cabbage in the fridge for a few hours before serving, for all the flavors to blend in. This salad keeps in the fridge for a good couple of days and it will taste even better the next day!

Place the grated carrots in a bowl and drizzle 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice over. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Place the dressed carrots and the cabbage side by side on a serving dish. Add the sliced cucumbers and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the cabbage and cucumbers. Serve the salad with your meatballs or grilled fish or vegetables.

 Havuc ve kirmizi lahana salatasi; grated carrots and red cabbage pair well with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Havuc ve kirmizi lahana salatasi; grated carrots and red cabbage pair well with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

Continue Reading