Azerbaijani Meatball Soup Recipe

I'm particularly interested in travel, reading, history, and cooking.


I like strongly flavored food, and this is a recipe which positively bursts with flavor. It combines together lamb—something that I love because of how much more intense the flavor is than beef—combined with hosts of mint, cilantro, turmeric, and various vegetables, all submerged in beef broth (which makes it far more flavorful than when regular water is used). This dish is an intriguing combination of the sharpness of mint, savory flavor of meat, and the sweetness of prunes, whose flavor just peeks through. If you don't like such strongly flavored food, then I would advise you to stay away from it. This had occurred with my mother, who isn't as fond of such vibrant food as me, but personally, I like food with a very large quantity of spices.

This recipe is adapted from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook by Anya von Bremzen. I use this book quite often, and I always like the recipes it gives, just like with this one.


  • 6 oz ground lamb
  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 12-16 dried prunes, (or 24 to 32 pitted dried sour cherries)
  • 6 cups lamb stock or beef stock
  • 2 medium sized boiling potatoes, peeled, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup drained chick-peas
  • 2 tablespoons marjoram
  • 1 cup cabbage


  1. Prepare the meatballs first. Combine together the ground lamb, the ground beef, the rice, the small onion (which has been either extremely finely cut or grated), the lightly beaten egg, the 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, and the 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, alongside plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt. Mix these together, and then cover in a bowl for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Divide the meat into 12-16 balls, and place a prune or 2 sour cherries into the middle of each. Then pinch the edges together, and roll them to make them smooth.
  3. Bring 6 cups of beef or lamb stock to a boil. Then add in the potatoes and the meatballs and following that reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the carrots, cabbage, and the large onion, and fry for 15 minutes. Add the turmeric.
  5. Stir the skillet contents into the soup. Be as careful as possible to avoid the meatballs disintegrating. Add the chick-peas, and simmer 5 minutes more, and add additional salt and pepper if wanted. Stir in the marjoram and the remaining mint.
  6. Serve at once, either with rice or bread as an accompaniment.

© 2018 Ryan Thomas


Ryan Thomas (author) from Eureka, California on February 11, 2018:

I can't say it is that easy unfortunately - it isn't as hard as some other meatball recipes I've done, but it still takes time for that, and one has to be very careful in making the soup or else the meatballs fall apart. It isn't the hardest recipe, but it definitely takes more than an hour.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 11, 2018:

Sounds lovely, and easy to make too.

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