Cotlet – Meat and potato patties

Cotlet is a meat patty that in my humble (albeit Persian) opinion ranks quite a few notches above the good old hamburger.  Many cultures have their own version of meat patties and this is the Persian one.

Ground meat of your choice, typically beef or lamb, is mixed with boiled potatoes, eggs, grated onions, the usual salt, pepper, and turmeric, and selected spices, and then fried to a crispy perfection. Each region and household has its own special mix of spices – Advieh in Farsi – for addition to Cotlet to create a welcoming, warming, and comforting flavors.

Advieh can include cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, ginger, coriander, rose petals, nutmeg, and cloves in varying amounts, can be worked into the meat patties. I have experimented with a few combinations and frankly, I have enjoyed them all. I guess that goes to show how much I love Cotlet! For this recipe, I chose a very simple spice profile which includes Gardeh Ghooreh (Persian dried limes powder).

I sometimes measure the popularity of a dish by simply witnessing the level of smiles and wrinkles on the face of the person I mention Cotlet to! Highly unscientific, but a great measure of how much Iranians love their Cotlet. Being a psychotherapist and paying attention to people’s faces and affects has helped me in this less than scientific assessment!

There’s a myriad of meat patty styles in Persian cuisine. The meat can be replaced by beans or yellow split peas can be added to make a patty called Shami-e Lapeh. Potatoes can be eliminated and instead herbs and walnuts can get worked in to make a different style of Shami. Mind you, each will have its own unique shape! Cotlet will always be oval-shaped while Shami is round. Shami from the Caspian Sea region always has a hole in the center of the patty!

My fondest memory of Cotlet is from our trips up to the Caspian Sea when mom would always make Cotlet sandwiches along with a medley of fruits and nuts and beverages for the 4-hour trip. Lavash or Taftoon (Persian flatbreads) would be chosen to make a wrap which would be stuffed with Cotlet, tomatoes, and pickles. When served at home mom would always make Cotlet with fried potatoes and simple tomato, garlic, and turmeric sauce.



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Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Meat and potato patties
4.95 from 59 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4


  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumb
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef, or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 2 teaspoons Gardeh Ghooreh, dried Persian sour grape powder
  • 1/2 cup oil for frying, adjust as needed

Roasted potatoes

  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, sliced to resemble French fries, peeling optional
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground

Stewed tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, diced



  • In a small pot, cover the potatoes with water, bring to a gentle boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked peel and grate. Set aside.
  • Combine the bread crumb and milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients for the Cotlet. Knead for a few minutes to form a smooth paste.
  • Heat 1/2 cup oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Dip your hands in a bowl of water to moisten them. Shape the meat mixture into balls the size of a large egg and then flatten them into oval patties.
  • Brown the patties on both sides in the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Add more oil if necessary. Repeat until all the patties have been fried.
  • Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

Roasted potatoes

  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss the potatoes around to get fully coated with the oil, salt, pepper and turmeric.
  • Place the potatoes in a 375 °F oven and roast for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden and crispy. I prefer to use a convection oven to roast the potatoes to a golden perfection without having to flip the potatoes over. If not using convection, be sure to flip the potatoes once.

Stewed tomatoes

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized sauce pan and saute the garlic for a couple of minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the salt, pepper and turmeric and saute for about 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes.
  • Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside.


  • Arrange the patties and the roasted potatoes on a serving platter with the stewed tomatoes on the side.
  • Cotlet can be served with steamed basmati rice or Persian flatbreads, along with a platter of fresh herbs, yogurt or Torshi (Persian pickles).


If Gardeh Ghooreh is not available, you can substitute other spices to bring more flavor to the patties.
To make this dish vegetarian, you can use your preferred meat substitute.
Keyword beef, Cotlet, cutlet, meat patty
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Shahla Esfandiary says:

    I like the idea of adding gardeh ghooreh! I’ll try it next. For health reasons I always broil my cutletts and baste them with a water oil combination, something my mother taught me. It is not as tasty as fried but considering the health advantage, it’s worth it. Yours look amazing! Thank you!

    1. That sounds like a great alternative to frying! I have also roasted them in the oven using a lot less oil. I usually add all kinds of different spices to my Cotlet, but recently when I tried Gardeh Ghooreh I found that I really liked the subtle flavor it added. Enjoy!

  2. Serena Chenowth says:

    I am so excited to make kotlets! I have not had them since i was little, in Flagstaff. Thank you so much for posting recipes. Still waiting for my momani’s ghormeh sabzi recipe

    1. My pleasure Serena Joon! I look forward to hearing how the Kotlet turns out for you 🙂

  3. Omid says:

    Is it possible to make this without milk or is there a substitute for the milk?

    1. I use milk and breadcrumb to help add some moisture and tenderness to the cutlets. You can easily replace the milk with water or vegetable stock!

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