How to make the best Persian kotlet

If you’re a busy mum looking for something easy to cook for the kids, then look no further. Persian kotlet is comfort food that can be eaten hot or cold and served with either a flatbread or rice. This makes them ideal snacks at picnics or tea. They’re crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle and they contain cinnamon and turmeric which are good for you.

My most memorable and favourite experience of making kotlet was during my second trip to Iran a few years ago to visit family. My mother-in-law and her sisters had the perfect meat patty production line going in the kitchen, making kotlets for all the family.

The four of them spent hours one evening until well after midnight grinding, mixing and neatly forming and frying each kotlet one by one ready for a family trip to Shiraz the next day. There were 15 of us going, so needless to say we needed a lot of kotlets and even more sangak (flat bread) and sabzi (herbs).

Feeding the whole family

Despite the labour-intensive process, the sisters were laughing, joking and bonding with each other while making them all night. It was clear that a lot more than just bareh (lamb), goosaleh (calf) and serious frying were going into the making of these kotlets. There was an abundance of love and pride too at being able to feed the whole family. The sisters saw it not just as their duty, but also something very special they were able to do for everyone.

Persian kotlet
Nothing beats homemade kotlet prepared by maman (mum) and her sisters in Iran.

The boys had headed off earlier to the noonvaei (bakery) to buy a lot of sangak for the trip and had their own production line going, tearing up the huge flatbreads and putting it into plastic bags.

Sangak all bagged and ready for our trip to Shiraz

It was such a treat to be able to watch the experts making kotlet – all the same size and shape. I now associate the super strong smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and turmeric with that of home, sweet home. It’s sweet, peppery, woody and nothing beats the smell of fresh kotlet cooking.

Picnic feast

Helping H’s family devour them during a picnic feast in Isfahan en route to Shiraz was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Everyone had played a part in the making of the kotlet.

Eating kotlet in Esfahan en route to Shiraz

While toiling in a hot kitchen cooking burgers for hours on end may not be to everyone’s taste, I reflect back on my experience in Iran before complaining about cooking on the home front these days! After all, cooking for three is a bit different to burger-making for 15.

Persian kotlet

In our house I have to hide the kotlets while cooking them, or else H will eat them all before I serve them!

Persian kotlet ingredients:

7 medium potatoes
2 onions
800g of ground beef
2 eggs
salt and pepper
A teaspoon of cinnamon
A teaspoon of turmeric

Method

  1. Grate 7 medium potatoes in a large bowl.
  2. Grate 2 onions and add to the bowl.
  3. Add 800g ground beef, a teaspoon of turmeric, teaspoon of cinnamon, salt and black pepper.
  4. Add 2 eggs and mix well.
  5. Shape the kotlets which should all be roughly the same size and thickness.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat.
  7. Place the patties gently into the pan and cook slowly
  8. Place a plate with a paper towel on it next to your work station. When removing the patties from the pan, try to drain as much of the oil as possible, before serving with sabzeh khordan.
Persian kotlet

If you liked this recipe, then why not try out another easy Persian recipe here.

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