Kufteh Berenji

Herbed meatballs with rice.

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persian meatballs

Reprinted with permission from JoyofKosher.com (Courtesy of cheflaura).

The meatballs are so fragrant with herbs and brightly flavored tomato-saffron broth. This recipe is a keeper all year round and elevates the meatball to a new status. Persian food is redolent with fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients. Each ingredient is aromatic and amazing on its own. When they come together it is pure harmony.


  1. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  2. 1 large onion, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup chopped savory
  4. 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  5. 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  6. 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  7. 2 cups chopped fresh parsley
  8. 1 large onion, grated
  9. 2 teaspoons Persian Spice mix*
  10. 2 eggs, whisked
  11. 1 cup Basmati rice
  12. 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  13. 2 cups chopped scallions
  14. 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  15. 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  16. 2 cups chicken stock
  17. 1 cup tomato juice
  18. 1/4 cup olive oil
  19. Optional for garnish: pomegranate, chopped mint and toasted pist


Pick over the rice and peas and rinse. Cook the rice and peas covered for 30 minutes until cooked thoroughly.

Place the eggs, spice mix, onion, ground meat, fresh herbs, and scallions in a large mixing bowl and mix with cooked peas and rice. Knead the mixture thoroughly until it resembles a smooth paste. You can do this by hand or with the aid of a mixer fitted with a paddle at low speed.

In a large sautee pan lightly coated with olive oil, add the sliced onion and garlic and sauté until lightly caramelized. Add the tomato juice, chicken stock, lime juice and saffron. Simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

Shape the meat mixture into meatballs and gently add them to the simmering sauce. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through (about 15 minutes).

Serve with fresh pita and plenty of sauce. Garnish with pomegranate, chopped mint and toasted pistachios.

*Persian Spice Mix (Advieh) is made from equal parts cinnamon, coriander, sesame seeds, cardamom, and cumin (all ground). If you can find pesticide free rose petals they should be added, if not use a drop of rose water in the sauce.

*Saffron adds a wonderful exotic flavor, it will still be delicious if you want to leave it out.

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