• Yield: Serves 4

  • Time: 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking prep, 1 hour, 50 minutes cooking

Region: Şanlıurfa, Southeastern Anatolia

This is a dish for religious festivals. Other local recipes use cracked rice, lentils, chickpea flour (besan) and legumes instead of bulgur wheat. Cooking the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and meat in a pressure cooker with 1.5 litres (6 1/4 cups / 50 fl oz) water reduces the cooking time significantly.


  • 60 g / 1/3 cup / 2 1/4 oz chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight, drained

  • 4 x 200-g / 4 x 7-oz cuts of lamb shoulder on the bone

  • 2 tbsp medium-grain rice

  • 200 g/1 cup/7 oz strained Greek yogurt

For the meatballs:

  • 100 g / 1 1/4 cups / 3 1/2 oz fine bulgur wheat

  • 150 g / 5 oz minced (ground) lamb (lean, sinew trimmed)

  • 60 g / 3/8 cup / 2 1/4 oz onion, finely sliced

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp dried mint

The Turkish Cookbook The Turkish Cookbook by Musa Dağdeviren


In a saucepan, simmer the chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lamb and 3/4 teaspoon salt in 3 litres (12 cups/100 fl oz) water, covered, for 1 hour. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes.

To make the meatballs:

Combine the bulgur wheat, lamb and onion with 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl or deep tray. Knead for 15 minutes, until well combined. Roll the mixture into very small, round meatballs, approximately 1 cm (1/2 inch) in size. Add the meatballs to the stew, bring it back to the boil, then reduce the heat.

Whisk the yogurt together with 250 ml (1 cup/8 fl oz) cold water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring in the same direction. Add the mixture with a pinch of black pepper to the stew, cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

To make the sauce:

Briefly heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the dried mint and fry for 5 seconds. Pour the sauce into the stew and serve, along with the cooking juices.


From The Turkish Cookbook by Musa Dağdeviren. Photography by Toby Glanville. Copyright 2019 Phaidon.