Sulu Kofte is a rich and hearty Turkish Meatball Soup / Stew consisting of juicy meatballs and vegetables cooked in a tomatoey broth. This traditional Turkish meatball dish is full of Mediterranean flavours and extremely easy to make.
This Turkish Meatball Soup is a flavourful dish of juicy meatballs made with ground meat (lamb, beef or a mixture), egg, bulgur, onions, herbs and spices. It is a very easy one-pot-dish that the whole family would enjoy, including the kids. Growing up Sulu Kofte was one of my favourite dishes that my mom prepared.
Why This Recipe Works?
- This Sulu Kofte dish is such a crowd pleaser and I promise that your kids will love them.
- The meatballs keep their shape perfectly when boiled, you don't need to brown them before adding them to the soup!
- Meatball soup is hearty enough to stand alone as a complete meal, or you can serve it with a side of Tawa Naan with Garlic.
- You can prepare the meatballs a couple of days in advance and keep them refrigerated until you need them.
- The leftovers would keep refrigerated for up to five days. If you want to keep them longer, you can freeze them for up to three months.
- They taste even better when reheated, same as many soups and stews!
Ingredients and Substitutes
Ingredients for the Meatballs
- Minced meat - The main ingredient for kofte is mince and its fat content is as important as the quality of the meat. The ideal mince should have %30 fat for soft and delicious koftes. Using lean mince will make them dry and tough. If you want to use lean mince, you should add some fat or oil to the mixture. I generally use half lamb and half beef mince to get the right balance of fat.
- Bulgur wheat - Use fine or medium grade bulgur wheat for this recipe. You can find it in the Middle Eastern / Turkish markets and online from Amazon. Alternatively, you can make Sulu Kofte with short-grain rice.
- Onion - It adds extra flavour and moisture to the meatballs. I prefer grating it into the mixture. You can substitute it with shallots.
- Egg - It helps to bind the meat, breadcrumbs, spices and herbs. For up to one kilo of meat, you usually won't need more than one egg.
- Breadcrumbs - They absorb the juices from the meat as it cooks, trapping them within the meatball. Also, they give meatballs a nice and soft texture.
- Parsley - Great tasting herb to add to the Kofte mixture. Use flat-leaf or curly parsley leaves for the best results.
Ingredients for the Soup
- Red pepper paste - Turkish red pepper paste is a rich, delicious paste made with juicy, spicy red peppers and I use it quite often in my Turkish recipes. You can buy it from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops or online from . Substitute it with tomato paste if you don't have it in hand.
- Vegetables - I like using carrots and potatoes for this soup but you can use any vegetables you have in hand such as peas, courgettes, cauliflower or sugar snaps.
- Butter - It makes the soup taste richer. You can substitute it with olive oil.
- Spices and flavourings - You can add any spices you like and adjust the amount to your taste. I keep the spices quite simple for this specific meatball dish.
This Sulu Kofte recipe is very easy to follow. However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Meatballs
Place the mince, onion, bulgur wheat, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, dried mint, salt, chilli flakes, and freshly ground black pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix everything together until it’s thoroughly combined, then continue kneading it for another two minutes.
Shape them into small meatballs, as they will expand when cooked. Use water to wet your hands while shaping to ensure they do not stick to your palms. Place them on a large plate or tray, sprinkle on some flour making sure they are all nicely covered.
Prepare the Soup
Melt the butter in a dutch oven or a heavy-based pan on medium heat and then add the pepper paste. Cook the pepper paste for a few minutes before adding the potatoes and carrots.
Sauté the vegetables for a minute and then add the vegetable stock (or water) along with the meatballs.
Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes or until the carrots are cooked. Remove it from the heat and serve immediately with a slice of crusty bread!
For more delicious Soup Recipes why not try:
Yes, if you're into meal prep and want to make this soup ahead to freeze for later, you can. Let the soup completely cool before you freeze it. Divide it into portions, allowing room at the top of each container.
To reheat the frozen meatball soup, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Warm through over medium heat.
This recipe makes 4 large portions. If you are a small family and have some leftover soup, you can store them in the fridge for five days in an airtight container. Be sure the soup has completely cooled before you store it in the fridge.
To reheat the leftovers, warm over medium heat, adding a little bit more liquid if needed.
Top Tip From the Chef
Make the meatballs as small as possible. They will expand once cooked as they contain bulgur wheat. The small meatballs are easier to eat in the soup!
I hope you enjoy the process of making this comforting Meatball Soup as much as you enjoy eating it!🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Sulu Kofte - Turkish Meatball Soup
For the Meatballs
- 500 g minced meat (beef, lamb or a mixture)
- 1 large onion (grated)
- 100 g bulgur wheat (fine or medium grade)
- 15 g breadcrumbs
- 1 small egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber)
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
For the Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 2 medium potatoes (approximately 400 grams)
- 2 medium carrots (approximately 250 grams)
- 850 ml water or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon plain flour (for dusting the meatballs)
Preparing the Meatballs
- Place the mince, onion, bulgur wheat, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, dried mint, salt, chilli flakes, and freshly ground black pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Mix everything together until it’s thoroughly combined, then continue kneading it for another two minutes.
- Shape them into small meatballs, as they will expand when cooked. Use water to wet your hands while shaping to ensure they do not stick to your palms.
- Place them on a large plate or tray, sprinkle on some flour making sure they are all nicely covered.
Preparing the Soup
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven or a heavy-based pan on medium heat and then add the pepper paste.
- Cook the pepper paste for a few minutes before adding the potatoes and carrots.
- Sauté the vegetables for a minute and then add the vegetable stock (or water) along with the meatballs.
- Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes or until the carrots are cooked.
- Remove it from the heat and serve immediately with a slice of crusty bread!
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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