Kotlet (Persian Meat Patties)

I got the original Kotlet recipe from the back page of the KYRS community radio newsletter.  It was written by the fellow who hosts the Saturday Persian Hour on the station, a presentation of Persian music and other cultural things.  Before I get to the delicious Kotlet recipe, I must tell you about community radio. In about 1999, the FCC opened up the public airwaves to community radio. These low power FM community stations have very limited rights compared to public and commercial radio stations. The stations must be 100 watts or less, non-profit, and non-commercial. True to their name, these stations serve specific, limited geographic communities, and fill needs that other media do not, providing programming to diverse communities and unserved or underserved groups.  If your community has a community radio station, listen to it and support it with your donations and time.  If it doesn’t have one, start one.

Now about Kotlets.  These delicious patties appear in variations throughout  the Middle East and much of South Asia, often as a snack.  They are typically ground meat, often lamb, mixed with potatoes and spices, and then lightly fried.  They can be eaten as a snack stuffed into pita bread, or as a meal.  They are easy to make, store in the refrigerator, and can be eaten cold, although I prefer to reheat them in the microwave.


1 pound ground beef
1 pound potatoes
1/3 cup egg substitute
1 large onion
½ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
I Tablespoon canola or olive oil, divided

Boil the potatoes until they are tender.  Allow the potatoes to cool enough to peel them and cut into chunks.   Process the onion and the parsley on a food processor until finely ground. Add the cooked potato, meat, and remaining ingredients, except for the breadcrumbs and oil.  Pulse several times until the mixture is well blended.  The mixture will be sticky.  Spread the bread crumbs on waxed paper or another flat surface.  Shape the meat mixture into balls the size of large lemons. As you shape each ball, drop it into the bread crumbs and press down to form a half inch thick patty. Turn the patty over so the other side is also dredged in the bread crumbs.  Set aside on a baking sheet.  (Although it’s not absolutely necessary, it helps to put the raw breaded patties in the refrigerator for an hour or so to help them hold their shape. This also lets you make them ahead.) Spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Heat the pan over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirling to coat the pan. Cook the Kotlets in three batches for about 8 minutes/side, or until they are golden brown.  Add a teaspoon of oil after each batch.  Remove from pan. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.  This made 15 Kotlets with about 3 grams of fat/kotlet.

I ate them the first time with fresh, salted tomatoes and non-fat Greek yogurt.


Then had them several times tucked in pita bread with a raita (yogurt sauce) of yogurt, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers or with yogurt mixed with a touch of fresh garlic.  It made a lot more kotlets than I expected, so I cut a couple of them up, mixed them with onions and cut up leftover baked potato for “kotlet hash browns”.  I even made an effort at cross cultural understanding and had them on a bagel with good mustard and sweet onion – which was delicious.


Note: Ground beef. I have said that I don’t usually eat beef – I eat buffalo – but for some years since I wanted to use ground beef in recipes, I have been grinding my own eye of round, which has about 4.5 grams of fat/serving. I found a pre-made ground beef with 4.5 grams of fat/4 ounces, but it wasn’t very satisfactory.  I am probably going to begin grinding buffalo instead.  Do not use the ground buffalo that you see prepackaged in the grocery.  This is fairly high in fat, about 12 grams to the patty.  You can grind meat in a grinder (mine attaches to my mixer) or pulse it in a food processor until it is the right texture.

Variations:  You can make this with ground turkey, or half turkey and half beef.  You’d have to adjust the fat grams.  Also, one of my cookbooks calls for chiles and coriander to be added (instead of the parsley) which I think would also be good.

Family Anecdote: According to one of my cookbooks, the term Kotlet appears to be derived from an adaptation of the British term “cutlet”.  We usually think of cutlets as thin slices of meat, not a ground meat mixture.  When I was growing up, my father refused to eat chicken. He once drove an egg truck, and said that chickens ate their own feces. Ugh.  But as my mother grew more health conscious, she began to serve chicken.  She told my father that the thin slices were “cutlet”, and he never questioned it.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother, for whatever reason, didn’t tell my father right away. When I was about 4 months pregnant, I told my mother over the phone that if she didn’t tell Dad about the pregnancy soon, I was going to have to name the baby “cutlet”. In the hysteria that followed, she revealed the pregnancy to Dad – and my daughter was spared the name.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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