Kufteh tabrizi is a large meatball of about 20 cm in diameter and much in vogue in Iran. The word ‘kufteh’ translates to ‘pounded’ in English and tabrizi refers to the city from where the kufteh or Persian meatballs had originated. Traditionally, these koftas are cooked in earthen ware over slow fire which embraces the meatballs with a smoky aroma. Our urban life won’t allow such traditional way of cooking but those cooked in our modern kitchens still do not fail to impress us with their flavors. The Persians use these giant koftas in soups and khoreshes but the fried variety can make for a delicious nibble during parties. The yellow peas turn these Middle Eastern meatballs into a hearty dish while the hint of saffron makes this food fit for royalty. Though authentic kufteh tabrizi is cooked with ground lamb, this version with ground chicken is scrumptious and healthy at the same time.
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ½ cup yellow split peas
- 2 +1 eggs
- 6 dried prunes
- 1 white onion, grated
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp saffron
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Salt to taste
- Boil the split peas in water for about half an hour, drain and mash them into a fine paste.
- Hard boil 2 eggs, peel them and set aside.
- Combine the ground chicken with the mashed peas, a beaten egg, spices, onion and a splash of lemon juice.
- Roll them into 2 massive meatballs, make a depression at the centre and insert 3 prunes and one hard-boiled egg into it; close the ball around it.
- Bake the balls in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
- Serve hot.