Like most Middle Eastern dishes, koofteh takes a while to make because the meatballs are simmered in broth, low and slow. This dish is perfect for a leisurely weekend dinner. Traditionally this recipe calls for white rice, but I’ve substituted cauliflower rice, which works surprisingly well! No one in my family has ever even noticed the missing rice.


2 strands of saffron

2 tsp/10 ml of filtered water


1 tbsp/15 g ghee

½ onion, diced

½ cup/60 g walnuts, chopped

½ cup/85 g prunes, chopped


1 tbsp/15 g ghee

½ onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ tsp turmeric

6 tomatoes, peeled, chopped and seeds removed

2 cups/475 ml filtered water

½ tsp sea salt


1 cup/230 ml cauliflower

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 lb/455 g ground beef

½ onion, grated

1 egg

½ cup/20 g fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup/10 g mint, chopped

½ tsp turmeric

tomato broth

Place the strands of saffron in a small bowl and cover with 2 teaspoons/10 ml of water and set aside. Prepare the filling. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, preferably one with a large, flat base and shallow sides. Add 1 tablespoon/15 g of ghee and sauté half the diced onion in ghee until translucent. Add the walnuts and prunes and sauté for a few minutes until well combined. Set the filling aside.

Prepare the sauce. Add another tablespoon/15 g of ghee to the same pan and sauté the remaining half onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and turmeric. Stir well and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, water and salt. Cover and simmer on low heat while you form the meatballs.

To form the meatballs, remove the stem of the cauliflower and put through food processor until it resembles rice. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, salt, pepper, meat, grated onions, eggs, parsley, mint, turmeric and saffron and mix well. Round mixture into balls, poke a hole in the middle, fill with filling and close. You should be able to make about 10 meatballs.

Slowly place the meatballs in the simmering sauce. Cook on low heat for an hour or until meatballs are cooked through. Carefully turn the meatballs halfway through cooking so both sides have a chance to be immersed in the liquid. Serve meatballs in bowls along with tomato broth.