Sofreh’s Nasim Alikhani Shares a Recipe for Koufteh Ghelgheli

Photo by Sabine Scheckel Photography


These small meatballs with carrots and potato are from Isfahan, a city in central Iran. This is a dish I grew up with and have cooked many times for my kids.


1 pound ground lamb or beef (I prefer lamb)
2 onions (one finely chopped and the other grated)
1/3 cup chickpea powder
4 carrots cut in slices
2 potatoes cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying onions
3 tablespoon turmeric
6 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper
½ cup lemon juice
3 cups of water


Add the grated onions, 3 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, chickpea powder, and 1 tablespoon turmeric to the ground meat. Mix them very well until you cannot see any pieces of meat and the texture is soft and uniform. Form them into small balls the size of walnuts.

Saute the chopped onions until soft and golden. Add 2 tablespoons turmeric and saute for one minute. Pour the water over the onions and add 3 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, lemon juice and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the temperature to medium and gently add the meatballs. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, then add the carrots and potatoes. Let them boil for a few minutes before turning the heat to low. Leave the dish undisturbed and allow it to simmer together for about an hour. You should have a thick sauce; if not, bring the dish to a boil with the top uncovered to reduce the sauce. Serves four.

Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Fall/Holiday 2019/20 issue of Brownstoner magazine.

Related Stories

Email with further comments, questions or tips. Follow Brownstoner on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Brooklyn in Your Inbox

* indicates required

What's Happening