A food blog with delicious recipes and stories
Kufte-Bozbash or Azerbaijani Meatball Soup

Azerbaijani Meatball Soup (Kufte-Bozbash)

Today’s recipe is for kufte-bozbash, more commonly called just kufte. This is one of the staples of Azerbaijani cuisine. Jumbo apple-size meatballs cooked in a simple broth with chickpeas and potatoes.

Kufte is the Azerbaijani word for meatball. The word kufte is derived from the Persian “koftan,” which means “to pound.” The name reflects the general method of preparation of  kufte: They are formed by pounding the meat to incorporate it with additional ingredients, then shaped into meatballs, small or big. I’ll talk about some other varities of kufte dishes in my book, but today let’s talk about kufte-bozbash.

Azerbaijani Meatball Soup (Kufte-Bozbash)

So what’s in these jumbo meatballs? Meat, which can be lamb or beef, onion, egg, salt, and pepper. In our family we also add crushed dried mint (nane), dried summer savory (merze), and dried basil (agh reyhan). Adding dried herbs is common in the regions of Nakhchivan, while Bakuvians, on the other hand, do not add any herbs at all. I personally like my meatballs with dried herbs. Makes them so much more flavorful. My Ordubadi grandmother used to make meatballs that way and so does my mother. I follow in their footsteps. I am lucky – I brought my dried herbs from Azerbaijan. They smell heavenly. And so does the kufte-bozbash I make using these herbs.

Also. Each meatball is stuffed with a small dried sour plum (available in Persian/Middle Eastern markets), in part because sour fruits are believed to help with the digestion of the meat, and also because a tart fruit adds a nice bright flavor to the rich meat. If cherry plums or other varieties of small sour plums are in season, you can stuff the meatballs with the fresh fruit instead of dried ones.

Nush olsun! Enjoy!

READ MORE

  • Fresh Walnuts. Istanbul, Turkey.
    Links to Reads, August 2016
    August 29, 2016 by
    Hello, friends! Time for August  Links to Reads!  That picture above was taken in August too, but two years ago, when I was in Istanbul to print the First Edition of my Pomegranates & Saffron cookbook. One day, I had some time to take a stroll in the bustling aisles of the city’s magnificent Grand Bazaar, where walnuts, some still...
    Read more
  • Azerbaijani Firni in Lahij
    Links to Reads, July 2016
    August 2, 2016 by
    Welcome, August! And good-bye, July! Time for a new round of cool links from various sources, so hi there, July Links to Reads! Top 10 links I enjoyed reading. * In Mexico City, trash is recycled both to curb the local waste disposal problem and help the poor get food in return. * Unlike Japanese sashimi, Korean sashimi prizes live...
    Read more
  • How to Dry Mint Leaves
    How to Dry Mint Leaves
    July 27, 2016 by
    When life gives you mint, dry it. And store it. Because you can use dried mint in so many ways in the kitchen and stocking up on it to last through a long time is always a good idea. Dried mint is one of my most important pantry staples and I often use it in Azerbaijani and Turkish dishes. The...
    Read more
  • Azerbaijani-Style Eggs with Tomatoes
    Azerbaijani-Style Eggs with Tomatoes
    July 23, 2016 by
    In Turkey, it is menemen, in many parts of the Middle East, it is shakshuka (claimed to be a North African import), and in Azerbaijan, it is pomidor chighirtmasi, also known as pomidor-yumurta (literally, “tomato-egg”). What do these dishes have in common? In them, tomatoes and eggs prove to be a match made in heaven, or rather a skillet. Although...
    Read more
  • Blueberry Bundt Cake
    Blueberry Bundt Cake
    July 13, 2016 by
    A few days ago, I ventured into making my very first blueberry Bundt cake to take to a picnic with friends. I thought it would be a perfect accompaniment to black tea we all took there in our thermoses to enjoy in the open air. (If you ask why black tea and why any tea at all, it’s because no...
    Read more