Bulgur meatballs or by its original local name Fellah Köftesi (Fellah meatballs) is a common dish in both Adana, Mersin, and Hatay cities of Turkey. The dish is simply made with bulgur, egg, flour, and garlic paste sauce.
As I mention countless times on my blog; these cities are famous for their Kebab varieties, mezes, and desserts. Adana Kebab, Spicy Ezme meze, and Künefe dessert are the most well-known tastes of those cities. On the other hand, Bulgur meatballs (Fellah Köftesi) is also another popular dish in the region. If you are vegetarian or you may just want to try a new taste that has no meat in it, I am so sure that you will love this recipe a lot.
Where does its name come from?
Fellah is the name given to the Arabs living in Adana and Mersin cities who are engaged in farming.
Now, you may ask yourself; why on earth that the Arabs are living in those cities in the first place? The answer is; In the book called Memoirs of Cemal Pasha, who was the Governor of Adana between 1909 and 1910, the Arabs, known as Arab Servants, were brought from the Latakia-Syria sanjak by the Ottomans during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz for the purpose of the development of the fertile Adana Plain.
There is no specific evidence on our hand that this dish belongs to a certain minority group in Turkey or not but it is obvious that its name comes from the people who are engaged in farming.
Where to eat Bulgur Meatballs (Fellah Köftesi)?
If you are visiting İstanbul city, I strongly recommend you to stop by at Çiya Sofrası. It is a home-style regional Turkish cuisine in a simple restaurant on 3 floors with a rooftop terrace. The restaurant is offering countless tastes on its menu and one of my favorite dishes in this restaurant is Bulgur Meatballs (fellah köftesi).
- 1 cup fine bulgur
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp all purpose white flour
- 2 tbsp semolina
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 tomatoes grated
- 1 tbsp pepper paste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 bunch of parsley leaves washed, drained and chopped
Place the bulgur into a suitable tray and add hot water to it and mix it.
Cover the tray and let it rest until the bulgur absorbs the water and swells.
Place the ingredients on top of the bulgur and knead until all ingredients and bulgur combine well together. (If the bulgur dough starts to get dry and stick to your hand, a splash of water helps you to keep the dough moisturized.)
Place some flour on another tray surface and take 1-1.5 inch size of small pieces from the bulgur dough and roll them in your palm then dip the tip of your index finger into it and then place them on the floured tray. Continue this process until the bulgur dough finish.
Boil water in a pot and then, place the prepared small bulgur rolls into the boiling water and simmer until they start to float over the water. (You will remove them from the boiling water after they start to float over the water).
While the bulgur rolls are cooking in the boiling water, place olive oil in a large pan and add grated garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
Then, add tomato paste, and pepper paste and stir for about 2 minutes.
Then, add grated tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are softened.
Remove the bulgur rolls from the water using a skimmer spoon and place them into the sauce. Gently stir and let it cook for about 2 or 3 mins and then remove from the heat.
Place it on the serving plate and put parsley leaves on top.