Pistachio & lamb meatballs with pomegranate sauce (Koofteh Pesteh)

23 March 2018

Koofteh Pesteh is an Iranian recipe. It is parsley, lamb and pistachio meatballs with a pomegranate sauce.

Hello dear readers and especially the ones from Strasbourg for whom we prepared this recipe. This recipe is what we prepared for a cooking class we organised with the Stras’Iran association.

In case you didn’t know, the Persian new year (norois) was 2 days ago. On this occasion, Stras’Iran, organises festivities and events to celebrate. Foodwise, they trusted us this year to share some of our culinary expertise during a cooking class.

Connoisseurs may notice that Koofteh Pesteh is not a Persian new year’s dish at all. Indeed, the new year’s dish is Sabzi-Polo-Mahi and the dessert that accompanies it is Samanu. However we wanted to prepare a dish that can be done in a group. It was important to us that everyone could participate, and the pistachio & lamb meatballs were perfect for that.

I love Koofteh Pesteh because it brings together what I love most about Iranian cuisine: lots of fresh herbs, pistachio and acidity. I understand, however, that acidity is not what most people like in a savoury dish. That’s why we prepared an alternative for the pomegranate mollasse sauce at the end of the article.

Ingredients (makes about 25 meatballs):

For the meatballs

  • 1 Onion
  • 150g Pistachio kernels
  • 20g Breadcrumbs
  • 250 Parsley
  • 100g Coriander
  • 1Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1Tsp Chili powder
  • 1Tsp Black pepper
  • 1Tsp Cumin
  • 2Tsp Salt
  • 1kg Ground lamb meat (can be replaced with beef or rice for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 Egg
  • Oil

For the pomegranate molasse sauce

  • 200g Pomegranate molasse
  • 50g Honey
  • 50ml Pomegranate juice (can be replaced with a mixture of water and pomegranate molasses or cherry juice)
  • 1Tsp Salt
  • 1/2Tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2Tsp Chilli powder

Pour la garniture

  • A small handful of silvered pistachios
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds


Mix together pistachios, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, coriander, lemon juice, pepper, salt, pepper and cumin. You have to have a mixture that is held together but that remains crisp.


Mix together this mixture with the egg and the meat to obtain a homogeneous paste.


Let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.


Preheat your oven at 250 ° C.


Oil a large oven dish.


Take the mixture out of the fridge and start making meatballs. Take about 2 Tbsp for each meatball.


Place the meatballs in the large dish and with a brush put a thin layer of oil on each one.


Bake the dish and cook the meatballs for 15 minutes.


In the meantime prepare the sauce: for pomegranate molasses sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together.


Take the meatballs out of the oven, pour the sauce over them and bake again for 10 minutes.



Serve Kufteh Pesteh with silvered pistachios and pomegranate.


And now an alternative for the pomegranate sauce: herb and lemon sauce
  • 3Tbsp Butter
  • 3Tbsp Flour
  • 500ml Vegetable stock
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Handfuls of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, tarragon)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2Tbsp Lemon juice


n a low heat mix flour and butter. Simmer until you get a nutty color.


Add the broth and finely chopped shallot and continue cooking over very low heat.



Stir in the finely chopped herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper and let it boil for another 30 seconds.


Bonne appétit!

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