Almost Turkish Recipes

Sour Meatballs or Meatballs in Egg and Lemon Sauce (Ekşili Köfte)

 Ekşili Köfte, a very popular meatball dish cherished by kids and adults alike has differing  variations in different parts of Turkey; in some parts tomato or pepper paste is used; in some small diced vegetables; and in some eggs are completely left out. This version is from the Northwestern / Western part of Turkey.

1 lb ground beef

1 small onion, grated

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp white rice

1/4 or 1/3 cup very finely chopped parsley

1/4 or 1/3 cup very finely chopped fresh dill

1 egg, white and yolk separated

1 tsp or more black pepper


3 tbsp flour

4 tbsp olive oil

juice of 2 lemons

-Put ground meat, grated onion, parsley, fresh dill, 1/3 cup rice, white of the egg, black pepper, salt in a bowl and mix really well. 

-Flour a tray.

-Make mini meatballs, quarter size, and place them on the tray.

-When all are on the tray, shake the tray back and forth or side to side to roll the meatballs to get covered in flour. This flour on them will make a nice crust and will make the "soup" part of the dish thick. 

-Grab a wide bottom-ish pot and heat. Add the olive oil and once hot place the meatballs at the bottom. 

-Cook the meatballs until they have a nice crust on one side. 

-Add half of the lemon juice, 4 cups of water, and 2 tbsp white rice, and a tad bit of salt, just to your taste.

-Simmer on low for 20 minutes. 

-Mix egg yolk with the rest of the lemon juice in a bowl. Start taking little scoops of liquid or soup from the dish and mix with egg and lemon. We are trying to warm the egg slowly so that it won't curdle when we add it to the dish. Add 3-4 scoops of liquid, one at a time and mix the sauce after each time. 

-Add the egg and lemon sauce to the dish, stir once and let simmer covered for another 15-20 minutes. 

-Serve fresh dill or parsley, or with dry mint flakes on top, and crusty nice bread on the side. 

Tips: If you have picky kids or adults, you can skip the fresh herbes in the meatballs. If you want to add veggies, add diced carrots, potatoes, celery root and peas right after you add the water. 


  1. Anonymous11:51 PM

    Thank you for this lovely recipe, just my kind of food!

  2. We make something similar but the meat balls are deep fried in one version and steamed in another. Also, we use a coconut milk base instead of egg. But I am going to try your version. IT sounds yummy. Thanks for your lovely recipes.

  3. Anonymous1:02 AM

    Thank you for this lovely recipe

  4. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Delicious and simple, love this recipe. It's the second one I've tried from this website and they are two of my favorite dishes

  5. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Hi Burcu, is the rice cooked or uncooked?

    1. Uncooked. The rice will cook as you simmer the dish.