Persian Meatballs

Based on recipe from Sabrina Ghayour’s Persian lamb meatballs

Full-of-flavour meatballs, also known as koofteh berenji, are made with lots of fresh herbs and spices, best served with flatbreads and natural yoghurt.


150g basmati rice + 100g yellow split peas (or substitute rice or split peas with lentils from The Grain Family)
500g coarsely ground, best quality lamb or beef mince from Braefield Prime Lamb or Real Beef (or substitute with buffalo or pork mince from Tasmanian Buffalo or Mount Gnomon Farm)
Small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped (Laos Fresh Farm, Plants Direct Tasmania, Steve’s Vegies, Tamar Valley Hydroponics)
Small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (Plants Direct Tasmania)
Small bunch fresh chives, snipped (Plants Direct Tasmania)
Small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped (Laos Fresh Farm, Plants Direct Tasmania, Steve’s Vegies, Tamar Valley Hydroponics)
3 tablespoons plain flour (The Grain Family)
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 large onions, 1 finely chopped and 1 sliced thinly into half moons (Mooreville Gardens, Old School Farm, Seven Springs Farm)
2 handfuls barberries or cranberries, roughly chopped (alternatively use currants, raisins or dried sour cherries)
3 medium free-range eggs (Mooreville Gardens, Mt Roland Free Range)
Olive oil for frying (Coronea Grove Olives, Lentara Grove, Mt Direction Olives)
3 garlic cloves, crushed (Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes)
2 tablespoons tomato purée
400g tin chopped tomatoes (alternatively use tomatoes or bottled tomato sauce from Tamar Valley Hydroponics or Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes)

To serve:
Extra fresh herbs, coarsely chopped (Plants Direct Tasmania)
Natural yoghurt (Elgaar Farm)
Flatbreads (pick up some homemade pita bread from Trio of Dips)


  1. Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in 1 litre freshly boiled water from a kettle. Season with salt, then add the rice and boil for 7 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside to cool.
  2. Repeat the same process, cooking the yellow split peas in 1.7 litres boiling water in the same pan. Season with salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled rice and split peas, minced meat, herbs, flour, 2 teaspoons of the turmeric, the finely chopped onion, barberries/cranberries, eggs and a generous amount of salt and pepper, mixing well. Shape the mixture into about 12 large rugby ball-shaped meatballs.
  4. Drizzle in enough oil to coat the base of a very large, deep saucepan with a lid (or a large casserole) and fry the sliced onions over a medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until beginning to colour slightly. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon turmeric and the garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes more. Add the tomato purée and stir well. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to the mixture and stir.
  5. Pour 1 litre water into the pan, add the chopped tomatoes and bring up to the boil. One by one place each meatball carefully into the pan and cook gently over a low-medium heat for 1¼ -1½ hours. Partially cover the pan with the lid – leave it slightly ajar. Once the cooking time has elapsed, taste and adjust the seasoning. Bring the pan to the table and serve sprinkled with fresh herbs, natural yoghurt and some warmed flatbread.

Serves 6 as a main meal or 12 as part of a mezzo.