Turkish 'Lady's Thigh Meatballs' Make Ground Beef A Treat

Turkish lady's thigh meatballs have the delicate taste of allspice and a tender, golden crust. Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings

Turkish cuisine is famous for its meatballs, better known as 'köfte' (kuf-TAY'). In Turkey, meatballs are grilled, fried, baked or even boiled. But no Turkish meatball tops the one named after an important female body part.

'Kadın budu kofte' (kah-DUN' boo-DOO' kuf-TAY'), or lady's thigh meatballs, are as amusing as they are delicious.

And it's not only their name that makes them unique. It's also the way they're prepared and cooked.

First, cooked rice is kneaded into the meat to bind it, rather than stale bread or bread crumbs. This makes the meatballs extra tender.

The addition of allspice and other seasonings gives these meatballs a unique fragrance and mild flavor. The way they're cooked is also different.

First, the raw meatballs are shaped by hand. Then, they're coated with flour followed by beaten egg and fried in hot oil.

The result is a tender, juicy meatball cooked in its own juices that is encased in a soft, golden crust. Kids like to giggle about the name and love them because of their unique look and mild flavor.

Lady's thigh meatballs go especially well with french fries and Turkish navy bean salad called "piyaz" (PEE'-ahz). Try them for your family and put some Turkish flavor in your weekday menu.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef (85-90% fat)
  • 1/2 cup white rice (cooked plain rice or leftover rice pilaf)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons allspice (ground)
  • 1/2 cup dill (chopped fresh, or 2 teaspoons dried mint leaves)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. First, knead together the ground beef, cooked rice, spices, and egg for several minutes until uniform. Set the meat aside for a few minutes to rest. Then, break off large pieces to make plump, flat oblong meatballs that fit in the palm of your hand.

  2. Spread the flour on a plate. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and add a few dashes of salt.

  3. Pour oil in a deep skillet about one inch deep. While the oil is heating, roll each raw meatball in the flour. Make sure it is coated evenly.

  4. Shake off the excess flour. Turn the floured meatball in the beaten egg to coat it thoroughly, then immediately place it in the hot oil.

  5. Repeat this with several meatballs until the frying pan is full.

  6. Let the meatballs fry until one side is golden brown.

  7. Flip them over using a fork or strainer and cook them equally on the other side.

  8. Drain them on paper towels. Repeat until all your meatballs are cooked.

  9. Serve lady's thigh meatballs with french fries, macaroni and cheese and any vegetable side dish for a delicious, simple and economical meal with a Turkish twist.