Turkish meat rolls or Turkish kofta in a minty yogurt sauce, these juicy and flavorful meatballs can be served as a light appetizer or as a main meal with bulgur or rice.
These Turkish meat rolls are exactly what you need when you want to make the usual meatballs a little more exotic. It is still a beef meatball, but spiced differently and served on a minty sauce with mint, which definitely is not the usual sauce you would choose.
A typical Turkish dish, hearty yet refreshing, bursting with new flavors.
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I once read in a cookbook that the variety of Turkish cuisine is only topped by the variety of Chinese cuisine.
I was really surprised to learn that despite the huge number of Turkish restaurants in Germany, I only knew döner (flatbread filled with meat and tzatziki), lahmacun (Turkish pizza), börek (pastry filled with spinach or ground meat), and some other things like tzatziki, peppers stuffed with cream cheese and a few more.
Which all taste great, but as all the Turkish takeaways around here serve more or less the same dishes, I had never spent a thought on all the other delightful possibilities offered by Turkish cuisine.
My knowledge on this subject increased after I took more interest in cooking in general and especially after eating in an authentic Turkish restaurant, not just a takeaway, while living in London.
We ordered a plate for two full of countless little things, and it was just amazing - a revelation. I have to say that after that, I have never managed to enjoy the usual döner or lahmacun the way I did before; it does always taste good but leaves me wishing I could have the other things instead.
Tips for making Turkish rolls
- Meat: I chose to make the meat rolls with beef because ground beef is available anywhere. But should it be possible for you to get ground lamb, you can use a mixture of lamb and beef instead.
- Onions and garlic: Chop the onions as finely as possible, they will not be cooked before they are added to the ground meat mixture, and it is not nice to bite on larger pieces later.
- Ideally, grate the onion on the fine grater. It is not a pleasant task (lots of tears), but it is well worth it.
- Grate the garlic as well; that works great.
- Frying the meat rolls: I prefer to use a large non-stick pan, which allows me to use less oil (the Amazon link opens in a new tab).
- My pan has a diameter of 30 cm/ 12 inches, so I was able to fry the Turkish meat rolls in two batches.
- Don't overcrowd the pan; if your pan is smaller, fry the meatballs in more batches.
- Keep the meatballs warm in the oven at about 200°F/ 90°C.
- Yogurt sauce: Mixing the yogurt with the cornstarch stops the yogurt from curdling while you heat it, so don't skip the cornstarch.
How to serve Turkish meat rolls?
- As an appetizer in small bowls, together with several other small plates.
- You could choose chopped vegetable salads, bulgur salad, olives, lentil köfte, small pastry rolls, bread spreads, stuffed vine leaves, flatbread, and so on to go with the meat rolls.
- As main dish: They are also great as a main course served with bulgur, rice, or flatbread.
More Turkish recipes
- Stuffed Peppers with Mince - a Turkish or Eastern European style of cooking stuffed peppers.
- Easy Turkey Kebabs - super healthy kebabs with finely spiced, tender turkey breast cubes.
- Beef Kofta Recipe - an easy-to-make beef kofta recipe or spicy Turkish meatballs, always delicious and perfect for any kind of gathering.
- Turkish Börek - Phyllo pastry filled with spinach, feta, and Parmesan; this börek can be eaten either hot or cold.
- Turkish Sarma - Vine leaves stuffed with beef and rice.
Turkish Meat Rolls
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb full-fat yogurt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 small bunch mint
- 3 scallions
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- Meatballs: Chop the onion and the garlic cloves very finely. Mix with the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Form about 14-16 little rolls.
- Cook: Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the meat rolls in two batches. Turn repeatedly so that they get brown on all sides and are cooked through. It took me about 7 to 8 minutes to have one batch ready. Remove all the meat rolls from the pan and keep them warm.
- Yogurt sauce: Stir together the yogurt and the cornstarch. Finely chop the mint leaves. Place the yogurt mixture and the mint in the pan and heat gently. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve the meat rolls with the sauce sprinkled with chopped scallions and more sweet paprika.