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Koofteh Tabrizi – A traditional Persian Meatball

Discover the rich and delightful flavours of Koofteh Tabrizi, a well-known Iranian dish, it originates from the city of Tabriz in northwest Iran.This is a wonderful and delicious recipe that I absolutely love to make and eat. These meatball is made by combining ground beef with a blend of herbs, spices and pulses, and it is stuffed with prunes, walnuts, and fried onions, then they are cooked in a tomato sauce, giving them a delectable tangy taste.

During my childhood, my mother used to make Koofteh Tabrizi, which was one of my favourite dishes. This traditional Iranian meatball meal is satisfying and ideal for family gatherings or social events. I always like to serve it with some Salad Shirazi, Iranian bread and a plate of mixed herbs on the side. 

In this blog post, I will share the ultimate recipe for Koofteh Tabrizi, and some helpful hints for cooking and presenting this classic Iranian dish. Be ready to relish the wonderful flavours delicious recipe.

koofteh trabizi

Basic Ingredients for Koofteh Tabrizi

Ground Beef: Provides the base of the meatballs and gives them their meaty flavor.

Calrose Rice: A short-grain rice that adds texture and helps bind the meatball mixture together.

Split Peas: A type of legume that adds texture and flavour to the meatball mixture.

Onion: Finely grated onion is used to flavour the meatball mixture.

Fresh Parsley: Adds a fresh, herby flavour to the meatball mixture.

Fresh Coriander: Adds a citrusy, slightly spicy flavor to the meatball mixture.

Fresh Thyme: Adds a fragrant, earthy flavour to the meatball mixture.

Dried Mint: Adds a minty flavour to the meatball mixture.

Dried Tarragon: Adds a sweet, anise-like flavour to the meatball mixture.

Turmeric Powder: Adds a warm, slightly bitter flavour and gives the meatballs their golden color.

Black Prunes: Used as a stuffing for the meatballs, providing a sweet and fruity flavour.

Walnuts: Also used as a stuffing for the meatballs, providing a nutty flavour and crunch.

Fried Onion: Adds a savoury, slightly sweet flavour to the stuffing.

Tomato Paste: Used to make the tomato sauce, providing a rich, tangy flavor.

alternative ingredients

  • Instead of calrose rice, you can use any short-grain rice or long-grain rice such as basmati.
  • For the fresh herbs, you can substitute them with dried ones, but keep in mind that the flavour might not be as vibrant as when using fresh.
  • If black prunes are not available, you can use any other dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, or dates.
  • You can use any other type of nuts instead of walnuts, such as almonds or pistachios.
  • For the tomato sauce, you can use canned tomato sauce instead of tomato paste, but reduce the amount of salt added as canned tomato sauce is usually already seasoned.

Preparation Tips for Koofteh Tabrizi

  • Soak and rinse the rice: Soak it in water for at least an hour before using it in the meatball mixture. This will help to soften the rice and ensure that it cooks evenly. Rinse the rice thoroughly to remove excess starch.
  • Parboil the split peas: Parboiling the split peas before adding them to the meatball mixture will help them cook faster and ensure that they are not too hard.
  • Chill the meat mixture: After mixing the ingredients for the meatballs, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour before forming the meatballs. This will help the meatballs hold their shape and prevent them from falling apart while cooking.
  • Use moist hands to form the meatballs: Wet your hands with cold water or oil before forming the meatballs. This will help to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands and make it easier to form the balls.
  • Stuff the meatballs carefully: Take care when stuffing the meatballs with the prune and walnut mixture. Make sure to press the stuffing in firmly but not too tightly, as this can cause the meatballs to break open while cooking.
  • Use a large pot to cook the meatballs: Use a large pot to cook the meatballs in the tomato sauce. This will give the meatballs plenty of room to cook evenly and prevent them from sticking together.
  • Let the meatballs rest before serving: Once the meatballs are cooked, let them rest in the tomato sauce for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavours to meld together and make the meatballs even more delicious.

Serving Tips for Koofteh Tabrizi

  • Serve with sauce: The rich tomato sauce add an excellent layer of flavour when served with the Koofteh Tabrizi. The tomato sauce is an essential part of Koofteh Tabrizi, as it helps to add flavour and moisture to the meatballs. The meatballs are cooked in tomato sauce, which helps to infuse them with the savoury and tangy flavours of the sauce.
  • Serve with fresh herbs: Fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, basil, green onions, chives and radishes not only add a pop of colour but also a pop added flavour with every bite. .
  • Serve with yoghurt: Serve the Koofteh Tabrizi with a side of plain yoghurt or labneh. The cool and tangy flavour of the yoghurt can balance the rich and savoury flavours of the meatballs and tomato sauce.
  • Serve with torshi: Torshi is a traditional Persian condiment made from pickled vegetables and herbs. It can be served alongside Koofteh Tabrizi to add a tangy and flavorful contrast to the dish.

storage tips

  • Koofteh can be stored in the freezer for up to three days.
  • In order to reheat the koofteh that has been kept, first thaw it in the refrigerator a day before you want to reheat it.
  • On the next day, make the sauce that goes with “Tilit” in accordance with the directions.
  • After bringing the sauce to a low simmer, add the koofteh to the saucepan, cover it, and continue to simmer over low heat for up to 40 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Koofteh Tabrizi (Full Video)

Koofteh Tabrizi

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


Meatball Mixture

  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 cup calrose rice washed, soaked, and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of split peas, parboiled
  • 3 medium onion, finely grated excess liquid drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder

For Stuffing

  • 12 black prunes, pitted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fried onion

Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cups water


  • In a large bowl, combine minced beef, rice, split peas onions, fresh parsley, fresh coriander, dried oregano, fresh mint, dried tarragon, turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Knead ingredients together until well combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 60-gram portions, and shape them into small balls. With your thumb, create a hollow indent in the middle of the ball and fill it with prunes, walnuts and friend onions. Fold the edges together and roll into a ball until it is firm and the edges are smooth.
  • In a medium size pot, on medium-high heat, add onions and vegetable oil. saute onions until they have a golden brown colour. Add turmeric and black pepper, stir for ten seconds and then add the tomato paste and saute for one minute. Add boiling water, salt, and the meatballs. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer on low heat for a least 1 hour, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce as thickened.
  • Serve with bread, mixed herbs and salad Shirazi.

Did you make this recipe?

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