Meatballs Wrapped in Eggplant, Topped with Tomatoes.

Discover the savory delight of “Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs”. This dish is a feast for the eyes as much as for the palate!

Certainly, this dish showcases the delectable harmony of seasoned meatballs, delicately wrapped in char-grilled eggplant slices, crowned with a fresh tomato garnish.

Perfect for a family dinner or impressing guests at your next gathering, these kebabs promise to deliver a taste of Turkish tradition with every bite.

Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs

What does Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs mean?

“Islim Kofta” essentially refers to a style of meatball (kofta) prepared or presented in a specific, elegant or wrapped manner (Islim), embodying the culinary traditions of the Ottoman Empire.

Kebabs are traditionally cooked over an open flame, such as a grill or barbecue. This cooking method imparts a distinctive charred and smoky flavor. They can also be baked or broiled.

What’s more, the dish as a whole represents a fusion of various cultural influences, blending the technique of meat grinding with a unique method of preparation and presentation

Skill Level: Intermediate

This dish requires some proficiency in the kitchen, particularly in handling and shaping meatballs, as well as grilling vegetables to achieve the perfect tenderness and char. Patience and attention to detail will ensure that the eggplant wraps the meatballs snugly and that the flavors meld beautifully in the cooking process.

Health Considerations

“Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs” are a health-conscious choice for several reasons:

  • Eggplants: Low in calories and high in fiber, they add bulk and nutrients without excess energy.
  • Tomatoes: Rich in vitamins C and K, and other antioxidants, they provide nutritional benefits along with flavor.
  • Portion Control: The individual wrapping of each kofta helps in managing portion sizes.

Time and Servings

Preparation Time:

  • Approximately 45 minutes
  • Cooking Time: About 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes Servings:
  • Makes 4 servings

Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs Recipe


  • Meatballs:
    • 16 ounces (450 grams) of ground beef or lamb
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) of black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) of paprika
    • 1/4 cup (15 grams) of breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg
  • Eggplant Wraps:
    • 2 large eggplants
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil
  • Garnish:
    • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges


  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, breadcrumbs, and egg. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well-incorporated.
  3. Form the mixture into 16 equal-sized meatballs.
  4. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush each slice with olive oil.
  5. Grill the eggplant slices on a preheated grill or grilling pan until they are soft and have grill marks, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  6. Wrap each meatball with an eggplant slice, securing it with a toothpick.
  7. Top each wrapped meatball with a tomato wedge.
  8. Place the prepared kebabs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Best Tips for Perfection

  • Ensure that the eggplant slices are grilled but still pliable enough to wrap around the meatballs.
  • Do not overmix the meatball mixture; this can make the meatballs tough.
  • When forming meatballs, wet your hands to prevent sticking and achieve a smoother texture.

Optional Ingredients

  • Spices: Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the meatball mix for a deeper flavor profile.
  • Herbs: Fresh parsley or mint can be finely chopped and added to the mixture for a refreshing twist.

Vegetarian Suggestions

  • Replace the ground meat with a mixture of mashed chickpeas, breadcrumbs, and finely chopped mushrooms to mimic the texture and richness of meat.

Serving Suggestions

Serve these kebabs with a side of bulgur pilaf, a refreshing cucumber and yogurt salad, or simply with warm flatbreads to soak up the flavors.

Nutrient Information

Approximately per serving:

  • Calories: 350 kcal
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sodium: 600 mg

Storage and Reheating

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.

Origin and History

To clarify, Islim Kofta has its roots in Ottoman cuisine, reflecting the fusion of Central Asian meat traditions with Middle Eastern spices and Mediterranean vegetables.

It’s said that this dish was a favored recipe in the Ottoman palaces, where it was crafted to perfection by skilled chefs. The dish evolved over centuries, influenced by the diverse culinary practices of the vast Ottoman Empire, which stretched across parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Traditionally, Islim Kofta was a luxurious preparation, often served at banquets and special occasions. The kebabs were a symbol of the rich culinary diversity and opulence of the Ottoman court.

As the Ottoman Empire’s influence waned, the recipe for Islim Kofta spread to different regions, where it adapted to local tastes and ingredients.

To emphasize, today, it is a popular dish in Turkey and in various Middle Eastern and Balkan countries, each adding their unique twist to the recipe.

Islim Kofta is more than just a culinary delight; it’s a historical journey that encapsulates the essence of a once-great empire. It brings together a blend of spices, meat, and vegetables, harmoniously representing the cultural and culinary mosaic of the Ottoman era.

Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs

To put it another way, Islim Kofta is not just a dish; it’s an adventure that transports you back to the opulent days of the Ottoman Empire.

Its rich history is matched by its vibrant flavors and the delightful interplay of spices, tender meat, and succulent vegetables. This kebab is a testament to the art of fusion cooking, embodying centuries of cultural exchanges and culinary expertise.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious food enthusiast, making Islim Kofta at home, though intricate, is a rewarding experience, and the result is a feast for the senses.

Additionally, its versatility means you can tweak it to your taste, experimenting with different meats and vegetables.

Serving Turkish Islim Kofta Kebabs is not just about enjoying a delicious meal…

Moreover, it’s about sharing a piece of history. Each bite is a reminder of the rich culinary traditions that have shaped our modern palate.

So, gather your ingredients, embrace the spirit of the Ottoman chefs, and create a masterpiece that’s sure to impress your family and friends.

Bon appétit, or as they say in Turkey, “Afiyet olsun!”

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