Serves a Crowd

Beef Kofte and Shirazi Salad

July  6, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 30 meatballs; the salad serves 4 to 6
  • Beef Kofte (Meatballs with Mint and Garlic)
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons dried mint, or 1 cup loosely packed fresh spearmint
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grapeseed oil, for browning the meatballs and for frying onions for the sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cups hot water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper,
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Shirazi Salad (Tomato and Cucumber Salad)
  • 3 to 4 (1 pound) medium unwaxed cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 (1 pound) medium to large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Beef Kofte (Meatballs with Mint and Garlic)
  2. To make the meatballs, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear, then shake off as much excess water as possible. In a food processor, combine the rice with the garlic, mint, and 1/2 of the diced onion, and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add the meat, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well. The mixture should be pliable and easy to shape. You can cover the mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours, if desired.
  3. Form the meat into balls the size of a heaping tablespoon. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Working in batches, cook the meatballs for 6 to 8 minutes, until browned on all sides, then transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. To make the sauce, add a little oil to the same skillet, if needed, and the onion. Cook the onion over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste, dill, cinnamon, turmeric, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Delicately place the meatballs in the sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the lemon juice and serve warm.
  1. Shirazi Salad (Tomato and Cucumber Salad)
  2. Seed and dice the cucumbers, and combine them with the tomatoes and onion. Hold your hands over the salad and rub the mint between your plams so that the oils in your skin active the flavor.
  3. Add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently to mix. Serve immediately with the beef kofte.

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I'm fascinated by the way food connects us with different times, places, and each other. I live in Nashville, TN, a city rich with culinary traditions and a fast growing immigrant population. As Culinary Liaison for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, I organize events that unite people around food and spotlight the work of immigrant chefs. My cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is a winner of Food52's Piglet award. I love cooking Iranian rice and hearing people crunch on the crispy tahdig from the bottom of the pot. Find my Persian Rice Bonnet and Persian Spice Kit on my website and on Etsy.