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Fragrant Yogurt-Meatball Soup Recipe


It is a rather unusual combination for Western cuisine, I suppose, to throw meatballs in a yogurt broth, but it works rather wonderfully in this recipe! The meatballs are superbly and temptingly spiced, while the rich, lemony yogurt-and-rice broth provide a contrasting coolness. The resulting flavor palette is both exotic and diverse, and the meal is hearty, filling, and substantial.

I have adapted this recipe from Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories, by Naz Deravian.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 5 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dill
  • 2 ounces fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried allspice
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil


  1. Begin making the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the meat, 1/2 onion (peeled and very finely chopped), and finely chopped garlic, turmeric, basil cumin, cinnamon, oregano, dill, fresh mint, tarragon, pepper to taste, allspice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into small balls on a baking sheet. There should be around 40. Drizzle them with olive oil, then bake in an oven preheated to 425 F degrees for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine together the flour with an equal quantity of water and stir together in a small bowl. In a large casserole, combine together the yogurt with 4 cups of water, then add in the flour-water mixture. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil while stirring constantly in one direction. Then add in the onion after 10 minutes, boil for 5 minutes longer, then reduce heat to medium and add in the rice and butter, continuing to stir.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes longer, then add in the remaining 3 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, cilantro, and meatballs. Simmer for a final 20 minutes, with continued stirring intermittently, then serve.

© 2019 Ryan Thomas


Liz Westwood from UK on June 13, 2019:

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This looks like an interesting recipe. The step by step illustrations are very helpful.

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