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Izmir Kofte(Smyrna meatballs) served with bulgur pilaf
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5 from 10 votes

Izmir Kofte (Smyrna Meatballs)

Classic Turkish dish made with spicy Kofte and vegetables cooked in a delicious tomato sauce.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Turkish
Diet: Low Lactose
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 889kcal
Author: Ayla Clulee


For the Kofte (Makes 16 Kofte)

  • 500 g mince meat (250g lamb and 250g beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion (grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 40 g panko breadcrumbs (or breadcrumbs made with 2 stale slices of bread without the crust)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Vegetables

  • 750 g potatoes (peeled and cut in wedges)
  • 1 large tomato (cut in 8 wedges)
  • 4 long green peppers (or 1 large capsicum) (seeds and core removed and cut into 2-3 pieces)
  • 100 ml vegetable oil (for frying)

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 large tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (add extra ½ tablespoon if the tomatoes are not in season)
  • 4 sprigs thyme (only leaves chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml chicken stock or vegetable stock


Making the Kofte

  • Preheat your oven to 180 °C.
  • Put all the ingredients for the kofte in a large bowl and mix them. Knead the mixture for about 5 minutes until nicely combined.
  • Shape into 16 equally sized oblong meatballs using the palm of your hands. Wet your palm with a bit of water to avoid the meatballs sticking to your hand.
  • Set them aside and start preparing your vegetables.

Preparing the Vegetables

  • Peel and wedge your potatoes, pat dry with a paper towel to avoid splashing hot oil while frying.
  • Prepare the peppers, take the seeds and the core out and cut in preferred size. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Place a frying pan on medium heat and add the vegetable oil.
  • When the oil is hot enough, fry the potatoes, making sure they are browned on all sides and set aside. The potatoes will still be uncooked. We need the caramelisation on the outside.
  • Lightly fry the peppers and set them aside.
  • Add the meatballs to the pan and fry them until all sides are brown. The meatballs will still be uncooked, we want to seal the meatballs to keep the juice and flavour in.
  • Arrange the meatballs in the oven dish with the potatoes and peppers.
  • Cut 1 large tomato into eight wedges and place them into the oven dish as well.

Preparing the Tomato Sauce

  • Discard the excess vegetable oil from the pan, leaving only 1 tablespoon to make the sauce.
  • Add the garlic and sauté quickly to make sure it doesn’t get burnt.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomato paste.
  • Give it a good stir and add the thyme, salt and the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce into the oven dish and cover it with tin foil or a lid.
  • Place the dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the tin foil or the lid and cook for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.


Calories: 889kcal | Carbohydrates: 150g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 2095mg | Potassium: 1509mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 95g | Vitamin A: 1814IU | Vitamin C: 158mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4mg