Recipes from Afghanistan: Kofta Challow (Lamb Meatballs)

Recipes from Afghanistan

Kofta Challow (Lamb Meatballs)

Country: Afghanistan
Course: Main


  • 1 lb lamb, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg (whole)
  • 1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons oil (or enough to cover the bottom of a large pot)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped


  1. Put the minced lamb, onions, garlic, egg, powdered chicken stock, coriander and black pepper into a large glass bowl. Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The mixture will be wet.
  2. Shape the mixture into 2-inch meatballs and set aside.
  3. Mix the tomato paste and remaining spices with the water until everything is dissolved.
  4. Cook the finely-chopped onions in the oil until they are a light to medium brown color. Take care not to burn.
  5. Add the water/tomato/spice mixture to the pot. Gently place the meatballs into the water. Try not to let them touch each other. They should be about 2/3rds submerged; if not, add a little more water.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the meatballs aren't burning.
  7. After 20 minutes, gently turn each meatball over. Replace the lid but leave it cracked so the steam can escape. You want to boil off most of the water, leaving a thick sauce behind.
  8. Serve with basmati rice.