Chef's Choice

Chef´s choice – Turkish/Arabic Recipes – Icli Köfte or Kibbeh

Turkish/Arabic Recipes

Icli Köfte or Kibbeh

by Ralph Kratzer

Icli KöfteThis recipe originally comes from South East Turkey. It is very popular and every woman wants to learn how to prepare this dish. Some people put some nuts and different spices in the meat filling. Some only steam it; some of them steam and then deep fry it.

In the Arabic world it is also known inter alia as “Kibbeh”.


  •  200g fine bulgur
  • 60g semolina (a type of wheat flour that is often used to make pasta)
  • 50g all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 90 ml water
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste  (kırmızı biber salçası)
  • Salt

For the Filling

  •  500g minced beef
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • salt, black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsps margarine or butter
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste (kırmızı biber salçası)
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • chopped parsley
  • oil to fry


Before you start soak the bulgur in cold water for about 1 hour. Afterwards drain it properly.

1. Put the margarine in a saucepan, let it melt and add chopped onion. Sauté until the onion turns golden brown. Add pepper paste and minced beef, spices, stir to combine. Let that simmer for 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the chopped parsley and turn the heat off. Set aside to cool down. Put the filling in the fridge for a while to chill. Meanwhile, to make wheat dough, put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead well for about 25 minutes.

3. If necessary add a little more water to the bulgur dough, because the dough should be smooth and elastic to be able to give shape.

4. Take some dough as big as golf ball and make an egg shape by holding in your left hand.

5. Wet your right hand index finger with water and make a little hole in the centre of the ball turning the ball in your hand, make the ball like a thin shell. Put 1 tablespoon filling and close the edges together by sealing with your fingers evenly.

6. They are supposed to be nice and firm. If they tend to break while you are shaping them, then start  again. They must be unbroken otherwise they will crack and fall into pieces.

7. Put 3-4 cups water in a deep pan and when it comes to boil, put in a few köfte at a time and boil for 20 minutes. Drain them and deep fry before serving.

For those who couldn´t follow this recipe I found an authentic video (but it didn´t help me anyhow!):-(