This is a meze dish that is common in Eastern Turkey and versions of it are served in several central Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In Lebanese cuisine it is known as kibbeh. It is a bulgar shell with a mince meat filling. Previously I had tried recipes that included meat in the shell as well. I recently found a recipe on a blog called Yesimstylekitchen with a shell made of bulgur and semolina. These köfte are an adaptation of that recipe. My main alteration was to include less onion. I am unusual in as much as I don't like onion very much, not because of its flavour but its texture. Therefore, I tend to include less and also to grate it, or chop it very finely so that I can taste the onion without seeing or feeling it!
These are quite fiddly and as you can see mine are not quite aesthetically perfect. Nevertheless, considering I didn't learn the art at my mother's knee, I am not dissatisfied with the result. They tasted delicious anyway.
Ingredients for İçili Köfte (makes about 8)
1 cup fine bulgar wheat
1 cup water
1 cup semolina
half a grated onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1tbsp chilli paste (I improvised with harissa paste and tomato puree)
250 g minced beef
half a chopped onion
cumin to taste
chopped walnuts (optional)
Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl with the water and leave for 30 mins until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, fry the minced beef with onion and spices until cooked through. Break up with a wooden spatula every now and then so the beef does not form clumps. Leave to cool slightly.
Add the semolina, grated onion and seasonings to the bulgar wheat and mix to a dough with your hands. Knead well until the mixture combines. Take a ball of dough the size of a golf ball and insert a finger or thumb into the middle. With your other hand rotate the ball around the finger until it hollows out into a shell about 3 mm thick. It will take some practice. With a teaspoon, put some minced meat into the bulgur shell and seal the edges. Roll lightly in your hands either into a ball shape or an ellipse with pointed ends. Continue with the rest of the dough then rest the köfte in the fridge while you heat up the water or oil. They can be either boiled for about 8 minutes or deep fried over a medium heat until golden.