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.
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.
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.
Shirazi Salad (Tomato and Cucumber Salad)
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.
Add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently to mix. Serve immediately with the beef kofte.
I love how food connects us with different times, places, the environment, and each other. I'm the author of two cookbooks: The New Persian Kitchen, and Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life. Magpie Cookshop is my sustainable kitchen goods company.