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Appetizers, Mains

Herbed kofte with tahini sauce

Istanbul By 11 p.m., the street theater on Nevizade Street, a narrow lane lined with outdoor restaurants around Istanbul's fish market, works up to a kind of Felliniesque mayhem. Flower sellers push big thorny roses at passersby's noses, while a ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes plus 1 hour chilling time | Makes 42 meatballs

Tahini sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini paste, well stirred
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika

Step 1Combine tahini, chicken broth, lemon juice, cumin and paprika, stirring well.


  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Large pinch ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Minced parsley or sumac for garnish

Step 1Dip the bread in cold water and squeeze dry against the bottom of a fine sieve. In a large bowl, mix bread with beef, lamb, onion, salt, cumin, allspice, red pepper and black pepper. Mix thoroughly, but avoid overhandling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 2Mix in parsley, mint and walnuts with your hands and shape mixture into balls.

Step 3Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add half the meatballs and saute until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Regulate heat so meatballs don't burn, and shake pan vigorously to turn them. Transfer to paper towels. Wipe skillet and repeat with remaining oil and meatballs.

Step 4Top with onions. Garnish and serve hot or warm, with tahini sauce.

Note: Sumac is available at Middle Eastern markets.
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