Review: Azerbaijani-style Kofta soup inspired by Taste of Persia

16 February 2017

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If you follow our page on Facebook, then you already know that I’ve been struggling cooking for our household of two.  It’s been especially difficult now that we’re blogging and I cook more often.  I’m starting to experience that we’re wasting a lot of fresh produce.  My heart breaks every time I throw out a sad carrot that I had promised I would use.

And it just so happens that I’m having trouble cooking consistently lately.  Workload has been forcing me to work a bit later on the weekdays, which pushes my school study time later, and…come on…honestly?  Do I really want to cook tonight?  Yes, I hope my new Instant Pot will help to solve or–at least mitigate–some of this struggle.

My latest obsession: Persian Food

taste of persia

This becomes kind of a problem as my cookbook addiction continues.  While I still primarily lean on Google to find new recipes, I can’t get the inspiration that can be gleaned from a well-written and expertly photographed cookbook, such as Naomi Duguid’s Taste of Persia

Taste of Persia is more than just a cookbook

Her beautiful escape to the culinary diaspora of the ancient Persian empire, including modern day Iran, is inspirational.  The recipes alone are, indeed, quite wonderful, but as a travel journal and sneak-peek into the people and places associated with this region are where it excels.  It is no wonder that this book was named as a best cookbook by so many, including the esteemed The New York Times, Food and Wine, and The Boston Globe.

After falling in love with this book, I decided it was time I try to cook the book, so to speak.  I picked out three recipes that sounded relatively easy and accessible.  Some ingredients are difficult to find where we reside, so I had to make modifications.  Additionally, due to the problem mentioned above of cooking only for two, I substituted frozen or canned produce where I could.  Here I’ll share one of my favorites that also happens to be easy enough to make.

Azerbaijani-style Kofta Soup

This soup is probably one of the most interesting recipes I’ve recreated in a long time.  It’s easy, especially with a few tweaks I made to ingredients.  We found the unique aspect to be that the meatballs are stuffed with dried apricots.  I wasn’t sure at first that I liked it, but after awhile we could see that it did add something to the meatballs.  If you don’t think you’d like the apricots in the meatball, just omit it.  The beans and potato make this incredibly filling.

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Azerbaijani-style Kofta Soup
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 6 hours
For meatballs
For soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 6 hours
For meatballs
For soup
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Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
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  1. Put onions into a food processor or blender and blend into a mush.
  2. Add meat, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and blend until completely mixed. Remove mixture into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add rice and mint to meat mixture and mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Once the texture is smooth and even, cover and allow to refrigerate for at least one hour and up to six hours.
  5. Add olive oil to a soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add tumeric, onion, and tomatoes. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add water, bring pot up to a boil, then lower it again to a slow simmer.
  7. Add beans to the pot and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  8. In the meantime, shape your meatballs into 6 equal size balls. Create a space for the apricot by poking your index finger into the ball, inserting the apricot, and then closing the meat back over the hole.
  9. Add meatballs, potatoes, salt, and pepper to the broth and raise heat to a low boil. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Serve in bowls topped with fresh cilantro or parsley.



  • Reply Ivonne 18 February 2017 at 11:35 am

    Excellent cook book review and recipe which looks absolutely delicious!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:17 am

      Thank you, Ivonne! I highly recommend the cookbook.

  • Reply Amber 18 February 2017 at 2:57 pm

    This looks so delicious! I need to pick up this book. I think I’d really enjoy making recipes from it.

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:18 am

      I agree, Amber! My friend picked it up from our local library and was surprised to find out even her kids are enjoying it. The stories are a huge bonus.

  • Reply Criselle Anne 18 February 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks delicious! I’ll definitely try it in the future.

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:18 am

      Thank you for stopping by! It’s definitely a unique recipe.

  • Reply theblissfullyexhaustedmama 19 February 2017 at 9:01 am

    I haven’t had the opportunity to try Persian food, but I’d love to give it a try. Your recipe looks like a delicious, unique dish that I want to try! The apricots in the meatballs is something I haven’t heard of, but I would try!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:19 am

      I had never heard of apricots in meatballs before reading this book and knew I had to settle the question for myself of whether I’d like them. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply girlfromgirlintherapy 19 February 2017 at 1:36 pm

    I’m not familiar with Jewish or Persian cuisine (I live in Asia), but apricots in meatballs sounds interesting! Based on the picture and ingredients, this looks like a comforting soup to have on a cold day 🙂

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:20 am

      Hello! So nice to meet you and glad you stopped by. I am visiting Asia for the first time this Spring (Beijing) and can’t wait to see how things differ.

      • Reply girlfromgirlintherapy 21 February 2017 at 3:28 pm

        I hope you enjoy your trip to Beijing! Who knows, maybe you’ll receive some foodspiration 😉

  • Reply Krysti Jaims 19 February 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve never tried Persian food but it looks absolutely delicious! Might have to check out this recipe book!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:21 am

      It seems to be available at most public libraries, so perhaps you can check it out for free! I think it’s worth it to learn all about this culinary region.

  • Reply Jenn @ Love My Blog 19 February 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Ooh, looks good. Love the fresh herbs on top.

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:21 am

      Thank you, I am addicted to fresh herbs!

  • Reply Blair Villanueva 20 February 2017 at 1:13 am

    I haven’t got an opportunity to try Persian foos. But based on your recipe, this looks yummy! I’ll check if we have Persian restaurants here in Manila.

  • Reply Baskets Life Travel 20 February 2017 at 6:50 am

    YUM! I dont think I have ever had Persian food but it sure looks good! Nice review I always like a little heads up on content before buying a book!

  • Reply interNATionalcaty 20 February 2017 at 7:19 am

    The recipe looks easy and the dish is yummy. Never had Persian food. Must give it a try

  • Reply Krystal // The Krystal Diaries 20 February 2017 at 8:22 am

    This recipe looks really good. I’ve never tried Persian food before but it sounds really good!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 1:57 pm

      I hadn’t tried Persian food, either, until just recently. It’s really different from the middle eastern cuisine I’ve tried before. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Andrea R Warren (@WaldorfFries) 20 February 2017 at 8:41 am

    This looks amazing. Not sure I could eat lamb always taste to gamie for me but I could do the beef recipe for sure:)

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Beef works really well! You could also use turkey or chicken, I’m sure, but I haven’t tried it. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Mommy Travels 20 February 2017 at 9:12 am

    I have never heard of this soup or had Persian food. Sounds interesting.

  • Reply Ritika Chakrabarty 20 February 2017 at 9:34 am

    Kofta is the BEST! I’d likely make it with chicken instead, I’m sure the results would be great too. PS. Digging the bowl, I have the same one!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I think chicken–particularly dark meat–would work great! Do you really? It’s my favorite of my bowls! Cheers!

  • Reply The Accidental Mrs. 21 February 2017 at 11:11 am

    This looks so unique and delicious!

  • Reply laurencemakano 21 February 2017 at 11:38 am

    Hmmmm interesting!! I’ve never really tried any Persian cooking, but I’m in this cookbook buying spree and this one is going on the list!!

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 11:39 am

      This was my first foray into this style of cooking. I think you’d really love it!

  • Reply OvenStruck 21 February 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I love mint with beef when proportioned correctly. This looks absolutely fabulous. I’m going to put on the “have to make” list 🙂

    • Reply Chava 21 February 2017 at 1:59 pm

      I SO agree about beef and mint! I think lamb and mint are a great combo, too.

  • Reply Ashly J 22 February 2017 at 8:36 am

    Love the review. The recipe looks delicious!

  • Reply waitingforrain28 22 February 2017 at 8:17 pm

    That looks really interesting. I love trying new foods, and learning more about where they came from. Looks like I should give this a try. 🙂

  • Reply Nina 22 February 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t know too much about Persian cooking but I always love to learn about different cultures. That soup look amazing!

    • Reply Chava 23 February 2017 at 4:03 pm

      I didn’t know much about Persian cooking either, and still can’t say I do, but so far I really like what we’ve tried. Thank you for stopping by!

    What do YOU think?