Keftes, or Syrian Meatballs

These little Syrian meatballs are totally different from the ones we eat on top of spaghetti. Keftes tend to be smaller and are cooked in a sweet and sour tomato-based sauce and are eaten over rice. They’re one of my favorite Syrian dishes, and though they’re usually served as part of a whole spread of meats, salads and vegetables (sometimes they’re not even the only serve-over-rice dish), I like to make them the main event on a weeknight!

Keftes, or Syrian Meatballs


For the keftes:

  • 1 lb chopped meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons matzah meal
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 (14 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the keftes together and form into balls, about 2 tablespoons in size.
  2. Brown the meatballs in a little bit of olive oil in a pot.
  3. Add all of the sauce ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the fire, cover and let simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, making sure the keftes are cooked through.
  5. Serve over rice.

Oh, and happy birthday Rebekah!