Minced Meat Loaf

Ermeni köftesi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

Variations of this dish can be found in central and eastern Anatolia — this recipe is Armenian. Instead of the minced meat being shaped into small balls, it is spread flat in an oven-proof dish or baking tin and cut like a loaf. It is delicious served with yogurt or beğendi.


  • 1 lb/450 g minced lamb or veal
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter, or olive oil with a little butter
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • butter for greasing

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons tahin
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4-6 fl oz/175-250 ml water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons ground sumak


  • Preheat oven to 350F/Mark 4/180C
  • Soften the onion and garlic in the butter or olive oil, with the cumin and coriander seeds. Leave to cool.
  • Pound the meat in a bowl. Add the onion mixture, the egg and the seasoning. Knead well, lifting it up and slapping it down into the bowl until it resembles a paste. Grease a baking tin or shallow oven-proof dish with the butter, and spread the meat evenly in it. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until it is firm and browned on top.
  • Prepare the sauce. Mix together the tomato purée, the water, tahin, cumin and coriander seeds, parsley and garlic. Beat to a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the meat loaf out of its tin on to an oven-proof serving dish or plate. Stir a little of the excess oil into the sauce and pour it evenly over the meat. Return it to the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the meat has absorbed some of the sauce. Cut the meat loaf into squares or wedges, sprinkle with sumak and serve while hot, with yogurt or beğendi.