Food & Drink

Ro’s Recipes: Turkish Delight


Kofte or kibbehs are torpedo shaped meatballs, originating in Turkey, and found all over the Middle East and other countries where they migrated. Each region has its own preferred flavor profile. Made small and skewered for dipping, they are perfect as a cocktail party food. Lamb can be substituted for beef if preferred.

Yield: 40 cocktail size kibbeh or 20 pieces for appetizers for six

Equipment: measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, medium-large mixing bowls, clean dish towel, food processor, medium saute pan, small-medium ice cream scoop, medium-large sturdy saucepan, thermometer, mesh spider, cutting board, chef’s knife, 6” wooden skewers, wire mesh rack, half sheet tray.

Ingredients for the shell:
2 cups bulgur
1 tablespoon tomato paste in water to cover
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely minced onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups finely minced beef
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
Soaked, squeezed bulgur

For the filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups minced scallion
1¼ pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup chopped, toasted pine nuts
10 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ cup paprika
3½ tablespoons ground cumin
3½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1¼ teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ gallon vegetable oil

For the dip:
2 cups Greek style yogurt
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ¼ tablespoons garlic paste
3 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


For the shell, mix tomato paste with cold water to combine. Add enough water to cover and soak the bulgur. Soak for half an hour.

Squeeze dry in clean dish towel.

Heat small pan, add olive oil. Add minced onion and sweat till translucent – about three minutes. Season. Cool.

When cooled add minced beef and ground coriander seed.

Grind to a paste in food processor.

Combine with squeezed bulgur.

For the filling, heat a small pan, add olive oil. Add scallion and sweat for two minutes. Cool.

Add ground beef, parsley, spices, sugar, salt and pepper.

To assemble the kibbeh, form shell mix into quarter cup balls. Holding the ball in one hand and using the index finger of your preferred hand start poking a hole in the shell and making is as big as possible till it is evenly about quarter inch thick. Using a scoop or spoon, add a dollop into the shell and close the shell around the filling. Carefully mould into a torpedo shape. Repeat until all the shells are filled.


For the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and chill until needed.

Fill a medium, sturdy sauce pan less than half way with vegetable oil. When temperature reaches 350 degrees, using a slotted spoon or spider gently lower a kibbeh into the oil. Add two or three more. They should not be touching or crowded. Fry for a few minutes until they rise to the surface.

Remove them carefully with spider to a wire mesh rack on a sheet tray.

Repeat till all kibbehs are fried.

If using as cocktail nibble, skewer with 6” skewer while still warm.

To serve, reheat for a few minutes and serve with yogurt dip.


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  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. March 31, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I wish I could time travel to the Turkey of your memories, Ro.
    Another wonderful adventure shared with readers of WVFC.
    Many thanks for this and for the tempting recipe for Kibbehs.
    I know now why I order in a restaurant and “don’t try this at home”!!
    Who has this much time?
    Pat Allen

  • Millicent Borges Accardi March 31, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    This was a lovely article, BUT I had clicked on it, hoping for a recipe for the candy called Turkish Delight!