Lamb stew with tiny bulgur balls & yogurt (Yogurtlu Ufak Kofte)

Lamb stew with tiny bulgur balls & yogurt (Yogurtlu Ufak Kofte)

By 7 June, 2016

This recipe for tiny bulgur balls with yogurt is from Aylin Oney Tan's book on Gaziantep food, A Taste of Sun & Fire, and shows another way to use fine bulgur (boiled cracked wheat). In Australia, most of us only ever use bulgur in tabbouli, a delicous fresh salad made with lots of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and olive oil.  On my recent trip to Gaziantep, south-east Turkey, I discovered over 101 ways (including sushi, Thai green chicken curry, risotto and pilaf) to cook with this amazing ancient grain.
"This is an extremely filling 
dish, yet is surprisingly light, " she says.

  • Yield : 8-10



Pick over the chickpeas and soak in plenty of water overnight.
Prepare the bulgur balls: Chop the onion very finely. Mix the bulgur, salt, black pepper, red pepper and 1 cup of water and put through the mincer (or in the food processor) twice.
Add the lean meat to the mixture and put through the mincer again (if you don’t have a mincer it is possible to knead the mixture by hand, but that requires time and effort).
Add the egg to the mixture and knead by hand until it is as smooth as bread dough. Prepare the bulgur balls by dipping your hand in water, taking a tiny lump of dough the size of a chickpea and roll into a ball.
Pour half a litre of water into a cooking pot and bring to the boil. Balance a strainer on top of the pan and place the bulgur balls inside. Cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes. Remove and place in a large shallow dish to cool.
Prepare the stew: Put the meat on the bone into another pan, add 5-6 cups of water and bring to the boil. Carefully skim off any froth that forms on the surface using a perforated spoon, then add the drained chickpeas and salt. Cover and cook until the meat and chickpeas are tender.
Beat the egg and strained yogurt in a saucepan, place over a low heat and stir constantly in the same direction. Occasionally add a tablespoonful of the cooking liquid from the stew. When the yogurt comes to the boil, add to the stew.
Just before serving add the bulgur balls and heat through. Do not add the the balls before this stage or they will soften and lose their flavour.
Melt the butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat, add the dried mint and drizzle over just before serving. Serve immediately.
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