Picnic Meatballs

Kuru köfte


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

Although translated as ‘dry meatballs’, these köfte are beautifully moist, light and tasty. They are called ‘dry’ because, unlike most other köfte which are often combined with currants, pine nuts, vegetables, batters and sauces, these are simply flavoured with onion and herbs. When cooked they retain their moistness and keep for days. Ever since they were packed into the sefer tası, a stack of tin dishes once used by soldiers, merchants and traders and carried on journeys, they have become associated with travelling and picnics.


  • 1 lb/450 g minced veal or lamb
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 slice stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
  • small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sunflower oil for frying


  • Mix and knead all the ingredients together. Punch the mixture with your knuckles to knock out the air, lift it into the air and slap it down into the bowl. Repeat until the smooth surface of the pasty mixture begins to crack. Roll and shape small portions of it into logs, and gently flatten them.
  • Heat a thick layer of oil in a shallow pan. Brown the flattened köfte in the oil and watch them puff out, back to the original log shape. Serve hot or cold.