Cig Kofte Recipe: Turkish Raw Meatless Bulgur Ball

Cig Kofte (as çiğ köfte in Turkish) which mean raw meat meatballs is one of the most popular appetizer in Turkey for being super satistying, extremely tasty and healthy.

It is believed that çiğ köfte appeared in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago with a legendary story. According to a rumor, cigkofte is found as a result of an experiment based on how to utilize a prey meat without cooking on fire which is brought home by a hunter unaware of the ban of fire. In time a lot of diferent varieties of cig kofte appeared in this geography both made with meat or meatless bulgur wheat.

In eastern and southern Turkey where cig kofte is widely consumed, it is much more than a mere tasty appetizer. Çiğ köfte is a cultural and social food because it symbolizes attachment, entertainment, unity and solidarity while being prepared and eaten together during traditional social meetings which is an important cultural value in this region.

Cig kofte can be prepared with or without meat. But the sale of cig kofre with raw meat is forbidden by the Ministry of Health in Turkey because of the risk of bactery production.

Health Benefits of Meatless Bulgur Balls: Cig Kofte

There are several health benefits of cig kofte. Bulgur which is the main ingredient of cig kofte is rich in vitamin B and dietary fiber. This promotes proper digestion and helps to prevent constipation, bloating and cramping. Good digestion is also key to preventing such issues as colon cancer, diverticulitis, and polyps.

High fiber foods also are digested more slowly, which helps to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops. It also helps in weight loss because it helps to feel satisfaction for a long time. Since both bulgur and other spices are healthy in nature, makes cig kofte a weight loss friendly healthy food.

How to Make Meatless Raw Meat Meatballs (Cig Kofte)

It may be a hard task to make cig kofte by kneading. It requires time, patience and powerful muscles. Kneading the bulgur until it cooks can be an overwheling job especially for women cooks. But the good news is that thanks to dough kneading machines, it is possible to prepare great tasting cig kofte meatballs.

In this post, we will show you how to make handmade meatless raw meat meatballs prepared with dough kneading machine. It will be as good as the ones that are made by hand-kneading. Here are the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for making meatless raw meat meatballs, the Turkish style.


  • 1,5 glass water dark fine bulgur
  • 1 water glass hot water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika paste
  • 2 tablespoons of isot pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablepoon of plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

How to Make Turkish Cig Kofte

Turkish Raw Meatless Bulgur Recipe

1- First of all put 1,5 water glass fine dark bulgur in a container with lid. Add 1 water glass hot water on it and set aside for 20 minutes.

2- While the bulgurs get soft, we can prepare the other ingredients. For that remove the skin of a medium onion, coarsely cut into pieces and process in the food processor. Squeeze the chopped onion and remove the juice. Put the rest of the onion pieces in a bowl and set aside.

3- Now we can prepare the sauce. For that get a suiable bowl and add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of paprika paste, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. Mix them all.

4- Juice 1 whole lemon and add to the sauce. Blend until homogenous.

5- After 20 minutes, put the softened dark bulgur in the mixing bowl of your kneading machine. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of isot pepper and start kneading with the dough kneading knife of this machine. Knead for about 10 minutes.

6- Now it is time to add the onions. Knead the mixture with onions for about 10 more minutes.

7- The last ingredient will be the sauce. Add the sauce and knead for about 15-20 more minutes. We can understand from its texture that the cig kofte is ready to squeeze into meatballs. If it can be squeezed and shaped easily, then you can say that our cig koftes are ready to serve.

8- Tear off wallnut sized pieces and shape them into long meatballs. During squeezing, the fingerprints of your hand should pass to the cigkofte.

9- You can serve with fresh lettuce, parsley, green onion. If you will make a cig kofte roll, then add lavash, lemon and pomeganate molasses. Enjoy 🙂

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