Persian Koofteh Tabrizi

Persian Koofteh Tabrizi

The city of Tabriz in Northern Iran is the origin of these aromatic meatballs that are mixed with peas, rice, herbs, and Persian advieh seasoning. The authentic balls are gigantic to allow a filling of egg, nuts, and dried fruits. Of course, their preparation takes a bit longer and is optional. For a weekday night, enjoy the meatballs in a smaller size without the filling.
hands-on time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 3



  • 1 lb ground beef see notes [*1] for substitutes
  • 1 egg

Fresh Produce

  • 2 onions (any type) halved and sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley (any type) see notes [*2] for alternatives

Packaged Goods/Staples

  • 1/3 cup yellow split peas see notes [*3] for substitutes
  • 1 cup cooked rice (any type)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste see notes [*4] for substitutes
  • salt
  • oil

Koofteh Tabrizi Culinary Spice Kit

  • Turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, rose petals, black pepper, cumin, mint see notes [*5] for alternatives

Advanced Option: Filling for Giant Ball

  • 1 egg hard-boiled, cut into eight parts
  • 4 tbsp chopped nuts of your choice walnuts recommended
  • 1/2 cup dried fruits, chopped see notes [*6] for recommendations

Suggested Sides

  • flatbread e.g. lavash or naan
  • cooked rice
  • boiled potatoes
  • lettuce salad recommended with plenty of fresh herbs and radishes
  • sautéed spinach


Cook the Split Peas [Can be done up to 3 days beforehand.}

  • Follow package instructions or:
  • In a small POT, add 2 cups of slightly salted water.
  • Add 1/3 cup yellow split peas [see notes [*3] for substitutes].
    yellow split peas
  • Cover. Bring to a boil.
  • Cook over low heat until soft (about 10-20 minutes).
  • Drain and let them cool.

Collect the Meatball Ingredients (Except the meat.)

  • 1 egg
    one egg
  • 1 onion (any type), sliced
    onions red sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley (any type)
  • or optional herbs (see notes)
    chives bunch
  • cooked split peas (see above)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (any type)
    cooked rice

Blend the Meatball Ingredients (Except the meat.)

    food processor blender
  • - all the ingredients from above (egg, onions, herbs, split peas, rice)
  • - salt to taste, and half of the Koofteh Tabrizi spices (about 2 tsp) [see notes for alternatives].
  • Blend until smooth. Don’t overdo it.

Add Ground Meat & Form Meatballs

  • In a large BOWL, add 1 lb ground meat.
    ground meat
  • Add the blended meatball ingredients, and mix well.
  • Form meatballs in the size of a golf ball or choose the following advanced option.
    meatballs golfball size

Advanced Option: Authentic Giant Meatballs

  • Mix nuts and dried fruits.
  • Form up to 8 meatballs in the size of a tennis ball instead of a golf ball.
  • Push your thumb in the center to form a hole.
  • Fill each meatball with 1/8 of the boiled egg and about 1 tbsp nuts & fruits mix.
  • Close the hole and round up the meatball.

Cook the Meatballs

  • In a large POT, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Fry the remaining onions until they turn slightly brown.
  • Add tomato paste & 2 cups of water [*4], half of the Koofteh Tabrizi spices (about 2 tsp), and salt to taste.
  • Stir for about one minute.
  • Cover. Bring to a boil.
  • Add meatballs. Cover.
  • For small meatballs:
    Cook 30 minutes over low heat.
    Every 10-15 minutes, scoop sauce over the meatballs.
  • For large meatballs:
    Cook 60 minutes over low heat.
    Halfway, turn them carefully.
    Every 10-15 minutes, scoop sauce over the meatballs.


  • Serve meatballs with the sauce and your preferred sides.
  • Optionally, sprinkle nuts and dried fruits over the plated meal. (Recommended for the small meatballs.)


[*1] Substitute beef with lamb, veal, pork, or chicken.
[*2] Optionally, substitute some of the parsley with chives, cilantro, savory, tarragon.
[*3] Substitute yellow split peas with red lentils.
[*4] Substitute tomato paste and the water for the cooking with 2 cups tomato puree.
        Alternatively, substitute with 2 large fresh chopped tomatoes, and 1 cup of water. Add some water during cooking if necessary.
[*5] Alternative spice blend, simplified, that should be covered by your spice rack, though it will not have the same rich aroma:
        2 tbsp turmeric,
        1 tbsp cinnamon,
        1 tsp each of cardamom and coriander
        1/2 tsp each of black pepper, cumin, and mint powder
[*6] Recommended: barberries or cranberries. 
        Variations: apricot, mango, prunes, raisins, or a mix.