Sumaklı Köfte.

A very easy, but very tasty – and quintessentially Turkish – dish that would be rendered in English as meatballs with sumac. Sumac is a relative newcomer to the New Zealand spice cupboard, but it has been used for millennia in the northern hemisphere, particularly the middle east. It is obtained from the dried and crushed fruit of a bush that is endemic throughout Eurasia, and gives a pleasantly tart, citrus-like tang to meats and sauces. It is [or was] also used extensively as a fabric dye. This recipe was pirated from Cooking New Istanbul Style by Refika Birgül. Thanks, Refika.



250g beef mince.

1 medium onion, finely chopped.

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped.

2 slices toast bread, crumbed.

2 tsp ground cumin.

¼ tsp white pepper.

1 tblsp rubbed origanum.

2 tsp sumac.

Salt to taste.

1 egg, lightly beaten.

Olive oil for frying.

1 cup yogurt.

2 cloves garlic, crushed.

2 tsp sumac.

½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped.

Salt to taste.

Milk to thin the sauce [optional]



Place the mince in a deep bowl and add the finely chopped onion and parsley, the crushed garlic, the spices, the bread and the egg. Mix well and knead by hand until fully combined – the more kneading the better the consistency. Cover and allow to stand for at least an hour to allow the flavours to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the yoghurt, garlic, sumac, parsley and salt. Beat thoroughly until fully combined and creamy. Set aside, covered, until ready to use.



Using wet hands, form the mixture into little torpedo shapes. Heat the oil in a pan over a hot flame and fry the köfte until cooked through and keep warm, usually 6-8 minutes. Place them on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. When ready to serve, arranged the köfte on a plate and drizzle with the sauce.


Serve with: Steamed or pilaf rice, and a crisp green salad.


Yields: About 10-12 köfte.

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