Koofteh Berenji (Rice Meatball)

I finally got around to making Koofteh Berenji, which is a very tasty Persian recipe that mixes ground beef, aromatic green vegetables, and rice!

Koofteh Berenji

Koofteh Berenji

One thing to note is that some of the aromatic green vegetables (Sabzi moatar) are not easily found (i.e., Reyhan and Tareh). I used a bit of Cilantro in place of Reyhan since I didn’t have dry or fresh Reyhan. And as I have mentioned in other recipes, in place of Tareh you can use the ends of green onions. But if you happen to have these ingredients definitely use them :)

Ingredients (makes 6 large Koofteh Berenji’s):
1 lb ground beef –lean ground beef (kam charbi) is better
1 lb aromatic green vegetables : mint, Reyhan (if you have it), Tarragon (Tarkhan), Green onions (the ends in place of Tareh; unless you have Tareh), and Parsley. I used Cilantro in place of Reyhan.
2 onions — 1 to be grated and added to the ground beef, the other to be chopped up for Piaz dagh (fried onion)
1 cup rice
1 cup split yellow peas
3 eggs
turmeric
salt/pepper
lemon juice
1 tablespoon tomato Paste
1/2 teaspoon (or less) baking powder or baking soda
zereshk (barberries)
crushed walnuts

Mixing the ingredients for Koofteh Berenji

Mixing the ingredients for Koofteh Berenji

Forming the Koofteh Berenji

Forming the Koofteh Berenji

Directions:
Boil some water in a small pot and add the rice. Once the rice boils use a strainer to drain the water. In a small pot boil water and add the split yellow peas and allow them to boil and then use a strainer to drain the water.

Chop up all the Sabzi (green vegetables), you can use a food processor to chop them up as well. In a large bowl, mix in the grated onion, turmeric, salt, and pepper with the ground beef. Add the rice, split yellow peas, and the green vegetables to the ground beef and mix all the ingredients. Add the baking powder (or baking soda) and the three eggs and mix the ingredients. If you desire you can add a bit more salt and pepper.

In a pot go ahead and saute the chopped onion. Once the onion has turned a golden color take out half the onions. Add 2 cups of water into the pot and set the stove top heat to medium. Mix some zereshk (barberries) and walnuts with the fried onions you took out of the pot. Once the water boils begin forming large round balls and insert bits of the zereshk, walnuts, and fried onions mix into the center.

Insert zereshk, walnuts, and fried onion into center

Insert zereshk, walnuts, and fried onion into center

Cooking the Koofteh Berenjis in water

Cooking the Koofteh Berenjis in water

Note: you can poke a hole to the center of the ball and add the mixture of zereshk, walnut, and fried onion then cover over the hole.

After all the Koofteh Berenji’s are formed and in the pot add the tomato paste and some lemon juice. Make sure the Koofteh Berenji’s are covered with water, if needed add more water to make sure they are all covered. Place the lid on the pot and allow it to cook for 45 minutes.

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