Izmir Koftesi with Hunkar Begendi

Dilled Turkish Meatballs with Eggplant Puree

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This dish is a “sleeper.” Little did we know when we first cooked it that it would become so popular with our clientele. Even the cooks ask me to put it on the menu, and, if you want to know what the best item in a restaurant is, take a look at what the cooks are eating for dinner.



  • pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (or as needed) olive oil
  • 4 cups Tomato Sauce
  • Hunkar Begendi
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish


    For the meatballs, place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until blended. Shape into thirty-two -inch meatballs.

    Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add as many meatballs as will fit without crowding and sauté until well browned on all sides and medium-rare inside, about 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons oil as needed for each batch.

    Heat the sauce to simmering in a large sauté pan. Add the browned meatballs and simmer until heated through.

    To serve, spoon a large mound of hunkar begendi on a large platter. Spoon the meatballs and sauce on and around the eggplant in a random pattern. Sprinkle with the parsley.