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+ servings

Kufteh Berenji

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Rice and fava bean meatballs
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4



  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup fava beans, fresh or frozen
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef, or lamb, chicken, turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stems green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 4 cups water, or chicken broth
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced



  • Bring 6 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the fava beans. Continue to boil for an additional 5 minutes until the beans and rice have slightly softened.
  • Strain the rice and beans, and rinse with cool water.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked rice and beans with the remainder of the ingredients.
  • Mix well with your hands until you have a reasonably smooth texture with some elements of beans and rice still visible.
  • Divide the meatballs into 6 equal pieces and form each piece into a smooth round meatball. These are large meatballs!
  • Set aside.


  • Select a pot large enough for the 6 large meatballs to get cooked in a single layer.
  • In this pan, saute the onions with olive oil for 10 minutes on medium high heat.
  • Add the spices, stir and continue to saute for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, stir and bring back to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stove top cooking (option 1)

  • Gently place the meatballs in the pot one at a time, taking extra care to not disturb the meatballs too much.
  • Using a spoon, splash some of the sauce over the meatballs.
  • Bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer and continue to cook on medium heat, uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for another 40-45 minutes. Be sure to splash more of the sauce over the meatballs a couple of times during this cooking process.
  • During this time the broth will reduce and become more flavorful. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Turn the heat off and allow the meatballs to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Oven baking (option 2)

  • Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  • Select an oven-safe pyrex dish that can fit the large meatballs and lightly brush with olive oil.
  • Gently place the meatballs in the pan and lightly brush each meatball with more olive oil.
  • Place the tray in the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes to help the meatballs lightly brown and keep their shape.
  • Slowly pour the broth over the meatballs and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Splash some of the broth over the meatballs before tightly sealing the pan with a piece of foil. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.


  • Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning before serving.
  • Serve the meatballs with Persian flat breads, and a side of yogurt and Torshi (Persian pickled vegetables).


The meat can be completely eliminated to create a vegetarian meatballs.  Increase the rice flour and add an additional egg to help with the binding.
Keyword fava beans, herbs, meatballs, rice
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