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Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı

Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı
Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı

Hey there!

Today I have a Main Dish from Turkey for you: Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı. It is a classic!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

But let’s talk a bit about the country first. Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

The Republik of Turkey is a transcontinental country located in Europe but mostly in Asia. It is surrounded on three sides by water, the Mediteranean, Aegean and Black Sea. It is a rather big country with only 75 million people living in it, which makes some areas very rural. Turkey has a very rich history. There are a lot of sites from the time of Alexander the Great, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. I am not much of an expert in any kind of history but it is very impressive to visit the ancient ruins with or without a guided tour! I love doing that, even if I’m more interested in architecture and lifestyle than in the politics of those times!! 🙂

Around the World, Week by Week: Turkey by gingerlemonandspice

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey by gingerlemonandspice








Well the Republik of Turkey as it is called today was only founded 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, how also was the first president. Until today he is adored by many and you can find his statues and picture everywhere, some men even have tattoes on their arms or cars of his name and signature! 🙂

Most of the people in this country are Turks, but there is also a minority group called the Kurds. Most of the people have Turkish as their mother tounge and their money is the Turkish Lira. The weather varies very strongly in the different parts of the country; it can get really cold like -40°C (-40°F) in winter in some areas but also really hot in summers (always above 30°C/86°F).

So that’s enough of the formal stuff for me by now, I have some more pictures for you to click through to get your own view!

If you got any questions about Turkey or my stay there, or made your own experiences just leave a comment below!! I would love to read about it!!


Now on to the food: Meat balls (in Turkish Köfte) can be found in many variations in the Turkish Cuisine. It might even be that every family does them a bit different! What I have here is a very classic recipe for Köfte that can be fryed in a pan or better grilled on a charcoal barbecue!

They are accompanied by the traditional yoghurt dip with cucumbers and garlic called Cacık. It goes with a lot of dishes and can also be found on a Meze (Appetizer) Table! Also I have some rice for you called Pirinç Pilavı. Like with the meatballs there are so many ways of preparing this!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice


I found all the recipes for these in one of my favorite cookbooks, ‘Sofralar’ by Orhan Tançgil of the blog ‘KochDichTürkisch’. They also have a lot of videos to the recipes on the blog, so even if you can’t speek German you might find something you like! Hop over and say hi from me!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A recipe for yummy turkish meat balls with rice and a yoghurt dip with cucumbers and garlic!
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4-6
  • 500g mixed minced meat (lamb and beef)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 slices of stale white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 handfull of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pepper, pul biber spice (chili flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • oil for frying
Pirinç Pilavı
  • 60g butter
  • a small handfull of soup noodles (şehriye)
  • 1 cup of rice, washed in a sieve
  • 2 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 250g süzme yoğurt (turkish yoghurt with 10% fat)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 small turkish cucumbers or 1 usual
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 handfull of fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pepper, pul biber spice (chili flakes)
  • olive oil
Köfte Mix
  1. Start bei preparing the mixture for the Köfte. Just put the meat, the finally chopped onion and parsley, the spices, the egg, the olive oil and the pressed garlic in a big bowl. Cut the bread in small chunks and add to the bowl too.
  2. Now mix very well! It works best if you use your hands. Form small balls and pat them down flat and set aside on a plate or chopping board. Use wet hands while forming the Köfte so that the mixture doesn't stick to your fingers!
Pirinç Pilavı
  1. Melt butter on a pot on the stove on high heat and add the noodles. Fry and stir well until they get a golden color. Then add the rice and fry for 2-3 minutes more.
  2. Pour water or stock in and add the spices. Stir once then cover with the lid and wait until the water boils.
  3. Turn the heat down to very low for about 15 minutes then turn it off and let the pot just sit where it is. The rice will soak up more of the moisture and will get done without sticking to the bottom with this method.
Frying the Köfte
  1. Meanwhile heat one or two big pans and add some frying oil. You don't need much as the meat releases some fat as well. About one tablespoon for each pan! Put the meatballs into the pan and fry them on medium heat until they are half through then turn around and do the other side. It is even better when you have a charcoal barbecue and grill them there! You can also bake them in the oven on 200°C for about 25 minutes if you want to retain some fat. But that's not the most typical way 😉
  1. Mix yoghurt and milk in a bowl with an egg whisk until smooth. Chop the cucumbers as finely as you can or grate them. But on the secon method make sure to press some of the water out!
  2. Add the cucumber, the spices (minus the chili), the finely chopped dill and pressed garlic to the bowl and mix well. Taste and reseason as you like.
  3. Pour the Cacık in a nice bowl and decorate with olive oil, chili and some dill sprinkles!
The cumin spice is essential for the typical taste in the Turkish Cuisine! Don't miss it!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

Afiyet olsun!! – Enjoy your meal!


Here are the other recipes I shared during this series:

An Introduction to the new series

Appetizer – Sigara Böreği

Dessert – Künefe

Drink – Ayran

Salad – Kısır

Pastry – Kurabiye

Snack/Fast Food – Lahmacun

Guest Post – Acılı Ezme


~ Kathrin