Little köfte dumplings in minted yoghurt sauce

Little köfte dumplings in minted yoghurt sauce

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

Köfte dumplings are a firm Turkish favourite and we ate countless versions on our travels. Sometimes they were served like meatballs, smothered in sauce or in a soup. Sometimes they were as tiny as chickpeas, and served as a garnish to a thick yoghurt dip. These babies are the latter kind, and the secret to their success is to blend the mixture to a smooth, homogeneous paste.

Pekmez, or grape molasses, is available from Turkish food stores.

Köfte dumplings


Quantity Ingredient
100g fine bulgur
300g lean lamb, chilled and cubed
1 small onion
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon pekmez
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Yoghurt sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
500g silverbeet leaves, roughly chopped
1 red bullet chilli, seeded, scraped and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
250ml * chicken stock [rid:9962]
1 lemon, juiced
500g thick natural yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
50ml water
1 egg, lightly beaten
40g butter
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried mint


  1. To make the dumplings, soak the bulgur in plenty of cold water for 15 minutes to soften it. Use your hands to squeeze out as much water as you can.
  2. Pulse the chilled lamb in a food processor until it comes together as a smooth, homogeneous paste, then tip into a bowl. Whiz the onion to a purée in the food processor and add to the lamb with the bulgur, spices and pekmez, then season with salt and pepper. Use clean hands to mix everything to a soft smooth paste. You may need to add a little cold water to help bind everything together. Refrigerate the bowl for 30 minutes to make the paste easier to work with.
  3. Take a grape-sized lump of the paste and roll it between your hands to make as smooth a ball as you can (wet hands will make this easier). Arrange the prepared dumplings on a tray, and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and poach the dumplings, ten at a time, for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until they soften. Add the silverbeet, chilli, allspice, stock and lemon juice and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes, or until the silverbeet is tender.
  6. To stabilise the yoghurt, beat it in a large bowl until smooth. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the yoghurt with the egg. Stir well, then tip this into the hot silverbeet mixture. Lower the heat and cook, stirring in one direction only, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add the dumplings and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes, or until they are warmed through.
  7. When ready to serve, melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the paprika and mint and heat until foaming. Ladle the hot sauce into warmed serving bowls and swirl on the foaming butter. Serve straight away.
Middle Eastern
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again