Sarımsaklı Köfte – Garlic Meatballs

Now although this dish is translated as being ‘meatballs’, they neither contain meat nor are quite the shape of a ball. This is actually a vegetarian dish with the only non-vegan ingredient from the original recipe being eggs which I simply replaced with an egg replacer. Something I’ve come to realise is that generally in Turkey they don’t use as much garlic as I like and even though this dish has the word ‘garlic’ in the title the original recipe only called for 3 cloves of garlic! I have more garlic than that in my tea of a morning! So I made a few tweaks and additions to the original recipe to suit my taste buds. This dish hails from Adana which although most famous for the kebab actually seems to have quite a bit of food to keep vegetarians happy (don’t take my word on this though cause I haven’t actually been there).

For the Kofte:
1 cup of köftelik bulgur (In Turkey they make the distinction between köftelik and pilavlik bulgur. Köftelik bulgur is a a smaller grain and used for köfte dishes, whereas pilavlik bulgur is larger and used to make a rice-type dish.)
1 tsp cumin
Salt to your liking
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs red capsicum paste
Egg replacer equivalent to 1 or 2 eggs
Flour (enough to bind it all together about 1 or 1 1/2 cups)

Soak the bulgur in warm water for about 20 mins and then drain (it should about double in size). Add to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the flour and mix to combine, then sift in the flour and knead the mixture until it is at a pliable consistency. I do this all in a large mixing bowl to cause as less of a mess as possible.
One by one roll the mixture into little balls and then with the ball resting on your palm use the index finger of the opposite hand to press in and slightly flatten and indent the ball.
Bring a pot of boiling water to the boil and add balls and cook for 10-15 mins. Drain. Whilst the kofte are boiling make the sauce as below.

For the Garlic Sauce:
About 3 tbs oil (olive, vegetable, sunflower, etc)
6 cloves of garlic (or as you like)
3 tomatoes peeled and chopped (or 1 can of tomatoes)
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs red capsicum paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tbs dried chilli flakes (or as you like)
1 tbs sugar
Cooking water from the when you boiled the kofte (or if you already threw that down the drain you could just use boiling water)
1/2 bunch continental parsley

In a pan fry the garlic gently in the oil add the rest of the ingredients (except for the water and parsley) and allow to simmer. Check the taste and if it is too rich and thick add as much of the cooking water from the kofte to the sauce to thin it out a bit. Turn off the heat. Add 1/2 a bunch of finely chopped parsley to the sauce and mix and then add the kofte.

Afiyet olsun! (That’s the Turkish version of ‘Bon appetit’ or ‘Enjoy your meal’.)


About theveganfoodophile

Well the title of my blog pretty much gives me away. I'm an Australian girl currently based in Turkey who loves food and animals, just not when the two are combined. This blog is about my vegan culinary adventures and attempts. I'm not claiming to be a good cook or to have super taste buds, I just simply enjoy food: eating it, looking at it, taking (average) photos of it, reading about it and now hopefully writing about it. Some people have hobbies, I have food.
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2 Responses to Sarımsaklı Köfte – Garlic Meatballs

  1. Hey, what’s the equivalent of köftelik bulgur that I would find at Sainsbury’s out of curiosity?

    • Whilst I do admit that I have in the past spent a lot of time browsing the aisles in Sainsburys, I’m not exactly sure of the answer. I’m pretty sure that just normal bulgur, like the kind you’d use to make tabbouleh is the same, as long as it’s not the pilavlik bulgur which are almost as big as grains of rice. Just go to any corner store in Finsbury Park or Stoke Newington and you should be able to buy whatever Turkish ingredients you need and it’ll probably be cheaper too.

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