Çig Köfte, or raw meatball, is a favorite Turkish snack and a specialty of southeastern Turkey, especially Sanli Urfa and Adiyaman. It is found in Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish cuisine. It is traditionally made with either beef or lamb, and usually served as an appetizer or meze with the main food. Bulgur is kneaded with chopped onions and water until it gets soft. Then tomato and pepper paste, spices and very finely ground beef are added. Lastly, green onions, fresh mint and parsley are mixed in. Some Cig köfte makers do not use water in their recipes. Instead, they use ice cubes and lemons. One spice that is associated with Cig Köfte is isot, a very dark paprika, prepared in a special manner, and which is considered as indispensable for a preparation of Cig Köfte.

A favorite way of eating Cig Köfte is rolled in a lettuce leaf, accompanied with Ayran.

A simple recipe is as follows:

400g fat free ground meat (refrigerated)

2 ½  cups fine bulgur (cracked wheat)

1 ripe tomato

1 large onion

4-5 scallions

4-5 fresh garlic cloves

2 bunches of parsley

½ cup crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon pepper paste

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper



Finely slice the onion. Dice the scallions, fresh garlic cloves, and parsley and save them. Put the finely sliced onion, crushed red pepper, and fine bulgur (cracked wheat) together in a mixing bowl or tray. Thoroughly knead the mix for 4-5 minutes. Add the ground meat, tomato paste, black pepper and salt to your mix. Knead until the bulgur softens. (For 15-20 minutes.) Add the scallions, fresh garlic cloves, and parsley to the mix and keep kneading for 5-6 more minutes. Add grated tomato to the mix, the bulgur will absorb the juice of the tomato. If you are not using tomatoes, you can add couple of ice cubes. Slightly wet your hands and shape the Cig Köfte in your hands, place them on separate lettuce leaves, and add the crushed red pepper as garnish. Serve them with plenty of lettuce and parsley.


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