Rice kofta

Rice kofta

Cairo Kitchen
Jonathan Gregson

Rice kofta is a favourite with children as the meatballs are small and soft. Here they are served on vermicelli noodles and covered with tomato sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
250g short-grain rice
500g minced beef
25g fresh dill, roughly chopped
25g fresh coriander, roughly chopped, plus some fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
25g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
250ml vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500g tomatoes
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar

For the vermicelli noodles

Quantity Ingredient
50ml vegetable oil
500g vermicelli noodles
1/2 onion, finely chopped
5 spring onions, sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 litre chicken stock


  1. Wash the rice under cold running water, then soak in fresh water for about half an hour.
  2. In a food processor, blend the drained rice well until mashed up. Add the meat and gradually mix in, then add the herbs, garlic and onion, blending very well until they are completely mixed. Finally, add the allspice, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. To make the sauce, peel the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the base of each tomato, then plunge briefly into boiling water and slip off the skins when cool enough to handle.
  5. In a pot over a medium heat, fry the garlic in the vegetable oil until golden. Add the peeled tomatoes, cumin, tomato paste, sugar and salt and stir frequently, mashing a little, for 20 minutes until you have a tomato purée.
  6. Meanwhile, form the kofta mixture into small-sized balls, the size of cherries. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the balls for about 10 minutes, in batches if necessary, until they become golden brown.
  7. Place the cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and simmer together for an extra 10 minutes.
  8. To make the vermicelli noodles, heat the oil in a pan and fry the noodles until golden in colour. Add the onion, spring onion and carrot and stir, then add the allspice and salt to taste and stir again. Pour in the stock and bring up to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the noodles for about 10 to 15 minutes until tender.
  9. To assemble the dish, place the vermicelli noodles on a plate and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander to serve.
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