The texture of köfte, a staple dish in Turkey, plays a significant role in defining its flavor. Each region of Turkey boasts unique köfte shops with their own special recipes. In this article, you will discover the unconventional and practical köfte preparation tips shared by İlker Yalçınkaya, a köfte master for 29 years.
1. Prepare Your Ingredients
The first step in making köfte is gathering your ingredients. These include medium-fat minced lamb (or beef if you prefer), medium-sized onion, baking soda or baking powder, breadcrumbs, water, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and salt. Put these ingredients into a deep bowl and knead thoroughly. This is the first version of your köfte mix.
2. Shape the Köfte and Complete Preparation
After preparing the köfte mix, form round köftes that are about the size of the palm of your hand. Now, your raw köfte is ready. But remember, we must rest our köfte in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
3. Prepare the Potatoes
Potatoes are another crucial ingredient in köfte preparation. Wash your potatoes thoroughly and put them in a pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and add salt. Leave your potatoes to boil. After they are boiled, peel off the skins and place them in an oven tray. Crush the potatoes roughly, but do not turn them into a complete purée.
4. Prepare the Potato and Köfte Combination
Drizzle olive oil on the potatoes, and sprinkle salt, black pepper, and thyme. Then, place the köftes on top of the potatoes. Drizzle the sauce you prepared over the köftes and sprinkle cherry tomatoes on top. Cover the tray with a baking paper, which you moistened and squeezed out.
5. Bake and Serve
Bake your köfte in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, then remove the baking paper and return it to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until it turns slightly brown. Decorate your freshly baked köfte with finely chopped parsley leaves. Voila, you’re ready! Serve while it’s still hot.
6. Additional Information and Presentation Suggestions
A well-prepared köfte gains more value with its serving style. You can serve it with traditional Turkish side dish piyaz, French fries, or rice pilaf. If you prefer a more filling alternative, bulgur pilaf can also be considered. And of course, a glass of cool ayran will perfectly complement your delicious meal.
7. Key Points in Köfte Making
At this point, it’s worth noting a few key considerations when making köfte. First, the köfte mix should be kneaded thoroughly and rested in the refrigerator. Also, very little oil should be used in the pan where the köfte is cooked, and it should be cooked over medium heat.
8. The Secret of the Köfte Recipe: Preventing Dryness
And finally, perhaps the most critical aspect of this recipe: Preventing the köfte from drying out. The water added to the köfte mix and the correctly proportioned other ingredients prevent the köfte from drying out, enhancing its texture and flavor. Therefore, to ensure the consistency of the köfte, it is recommended to follow the recipe exactly.
In short, learning the nuances of köfte making can enhance one of the most popular dishes of Turkish cuisine.