Thursday, July 9, 2015

Vegan Tartar From Turkey: Cig Kofte

There are some vegan foods which raise eyebrows: vegan bacon, vegan steak and vegan squid to name a few, but how would you react to vegan steak tartar?  Most of you have probably never had steak tartar in your meat-eating days, and I don't blame you! Raw beef does not sound appetizing at all!  Maybe the vegan version does though as it is made with bulgar, vegetables and spices and is free of mock meats all together.  Let me introduce you to cig kofte, or Turkey's version of the vegan tartar "meatball." 

If you are familiar with Middle Eastern spices, or you enjoy the occasional falafel, you are going to LOVE cig kofte!  These things pack so much flavor into every bite, and one batch will feed you and your family for a week!  

This dish is made in a food processor and is easy-peasy.  You do need to let it sit overnight, however, so plan ahead and make these flavor-bombs well in advance. 

For 30 - 40 Cig Kofte 

  • 2 cups bulgar
  • 3 cups boiled water
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, shelled
  • 1 large onion 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • 4 tablespoons tahini 
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste 
  • 1/4 cup red pepper paste 
  • 4 slices stale bread
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder, coriander and cinnamon 
  • salt, to taste 


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine bulgar, olive oil and red pepper paste.  
  2. Pour boiled water over this mixture and stir.  
  3. Cover with a plate or lid and let it rest for at least an hour so that the bulgar plumps up. 
  4. In a food processor, combine onions, garlic and bread.  Pulverize until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. 
  5. Add this to the bulgar along with the remaining ingredients and kneed together until combined. 
  6. Return this mixture to the food processor in small batches (other wise it will not all fit) and blend until smooth. 
  7. Once blended, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for at least 6 hours, or overnight (this allows the onion and garlic flavors to develop).
  8. With clean hands, rip off small pieces of the dough mixture and shape them into fingerprinted sausage shapes.  
  9. Serve with pita, salad and hummus. 

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