I’ve eaten so many versions of these stuffed burghul dumplings in different parts of the world and everyone claims it as their own, but the ones we had in Mardin were right up there with the best of them. This version is nothing like the original and not even close to being authentic but I think it tastes fantastic. They take their pistachios very seriously in this part of Turkey, which is why I wanted to include them in this dish and pay homage to the back-breaking work involved in picking them off the tree.






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (10 votes)


  • 40 g butter
  • 1 tbsp biber salçası (Turkish red capsicum paste)
  • 1 tbsp red pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Lamb and onion filling

  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 200 g minced lamb (not too lean)
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp black pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
  • 2 tbsp slivered pistachios

Burghul dough

  • 500 g fine unbleached (dark) burghul
  • 700 ml water
  • 1 tbsp sabaht baharat (Lebanese 7 spice)
  • pinch of salt

Garlic yoghurt

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • pinch of salt 
  • 260 g (1 cup) natural yoghurt

To serve

  • 16 red vein sorrel leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling/freezing time 1 hour

To make the filling, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mince and onion and stir continuously for 5-6 or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic, pul biber, salt and the pistachios, then cook for another 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to caramelise. Spread onto a tray and cool.

Meanwhile, to make the dough, place the burghul, sabaht baharat and salt in a heat-proof bowl. Stir in the boiling water, cover with a tight fitting lid and stand for 30 minutes. Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead the burghul on medium-high speed for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. You will need to repeatedly scrape down the side of the bowl to make sure it is evenly combined. You may need to add a little bit more hot water if you feel if it isn’t coming together.

To roll the köfte, using slightly wet hands, roll the dough into golf ball-sized rounds. Working one at a time, flatten the balls with your fingers until about 6 cm round. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre, then gently enclose the filling and shape the köfte back into a ball. Place on a tray and continue with the remaining dough and filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the köfte set.

To make the garlic yoghurt, pound the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until a paste forms. Add to the yoghurt, combine well, then cover and refrigerate until needed.

 To cook the köfte, carefully drop the köfte into gently simmering lightly salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

While the köfte are poaching, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add the biber salçası and pul biber and stir through until combined. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat.

To serve, spread a dollop of yoghurt on the bottom of each serving plate, add the köfte and spoon over the brown butter sauce. Scatter with sorrel leaves and serve immediately.