Arabian Meatballs in Broth Recipe from Saudi Arabia

Arabian Meatballs in Broth

Arabian Meatballs in Broth Recipe from Saudi Arabia
Region / culture: Arabia, Saudi Arabia | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Arabian Meatballs in Broth
Arabian Meatballs in Broth

Arabian Meatballs in Broth is a delightful and aromatic dish that brings the rich flavors of the Middle East to your dining table. This recipe combines the savory taste of ground meat with the freshness of herbs and the tanginess of lemon juice, all simmered in a comforting beef broth. It's a perfect meal for any occasion, offering a unique taste experience that is both satisfying and nutritious.


The tradition of meatballs in broth has roots in various cultures, but the Arabian version stands out for its use of spices, herbs, and the method of preparation. This recipe has evolved over centuries, with each region adding its twist to the basic concept. The Arabian meatballs, known as "Kofta" in some regions, are distinguished by their use of mint, parsley, and lemon juice, ingredients that give this dish its characteristic Middle Eastern flavor.


How to prepare

  1. Mix 0.33 cup of cold water with rice cereal and let it stand for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan of 5-6 qt (5.68 liter) capacity, sauté half of the onion and 1 tsp of garlic over medium-high heat until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, broth, and rice.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. While the rice is cooking, combine beef with 0.5 tsp of salt and 0.25 tsp of pepper.
  6. Mix half of the beef mixture with one-fourth of the rice cereal mixture, the remaining onion and garlic, 1 tbsp of mint, and parsley.
  7. In a food processor, blend the remaining beef mixture and rice cereal mixture until it forms a sticky paste.
  8. Shape each of the meat mixtures into 4 oval pieces.
  9. Flatten one piece of the beef paste in your palm until it is 0.25 inch thick.
  10. Place a coarse-beef oval over the thin piece and fold the paste around it, shaping it into a 3-inch long football shape.
  11. Repeat the process to form each meatball and drop them into the simmering broth as they are shaped.
  12. Simmer the meatballs over low heat, covered, turning them once, until they are no longer pink in the center (cut to test), about 10 minutes.
  13. Add lemon juice, remaining mint, and salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Ladle the meatball soup into bowls.


  • For a spicier version, add a teaspoon of cumin or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat mixture.
  • Substitute ground lamb for beef for a more traditional flavor.
  • Add diced vegetables such as carrots or zucchini to the broth for added nutrition and texture.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Arabian Meatballs in Broth turn out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Use lean ground meat to keep the dish lighter and healthier.

- Let the rice cereal mixture stand as instructed to achieve the right consistency for binding the meatballs.

- Sauté the onions and garlic until they are just softened to avoid burning, which can impart a bitter taste.

- Simmer the meatballs gently in the broth to keep them tender and prevent them from falling apart.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Arabian Meatballs in Broth hot, garnished with additional chopped mint and parsley. It pairs well with a side of flatbread or rice for a more filling meal. A fresh salad with a lemony dressing can complement the flavors and add a refreshing touch.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the careful preparation and simmering of the meatballs to ensure they are flavorful and tender. Additionally, sautéing the onions and garlic enhances the base flavor of the broth.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free rice cereal or breadcrumbs.

- If fresh herbs are unavailable, dried mint and parsley can be used, but in smaller quantities due to their concentrated flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

The meatball mixture can be prepared a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in even tastier meatballs when cooked.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the meatballs and broth in a deep, decorative bowl, garnished with a lemon wedge and a sprig of fresh mint or parsley. A colorful side dish or salad can enhance the visual appeal of the meal.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a lemon-infused iced tea pairs beautifully with the flavors of this dish. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a splash of lemon complements the meal without overpowering it.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently simmer the meatballs and broth in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly warmed.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Arabian Meatballs in Broth contains approximately 250 calories, making it a low-calorie option suitable for weight management.


This dish is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the main sources being the quick-cooking rice cereal and the long-white rice. The total carbohydrate content per serving is approximately 15 grams, making it a suitable option for those on a moderate carbohydrate diet.


The use of lean ground meat significantly reduces the fat content of this dish. Each serving contains about 10 grams of fat, with only 3 grams being saturated fat. This makes Arabian Meatballs in Broth a heart-healthy choice.


Arabian Meatballs in Broth is an excellent source of protein, providing about 25 grams per serving. The high-quality protein from the lean ground meat supports muscle growth and repair, making this dish a great post-workout meal.

Vitamins and minerals

This recipe is rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to the inclusion of fresh herbs and vegetables. It is particularly high in Vitamin C from the lemon juice and Vitamin K from the parsley. Additionally, it provides essential minerals such as iron and zinc from the beef.


The primary allergen in this recipe is the quick-cooking rice cereal, which may contain gluten. Individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease should opt for a gluten-free alternative.


Overall, Arabian Meatballs in Broth is a nutritious and balanced meal. It is low in calories and fats, moderate in carbohydrates, and high in protein and essential nutrients. It's also adaptable for those with dietary restrictions by making simple ingredient substitutions.


Arabian Meatballs in Broth is a flavorful, nutritious, and comforting dish that brings the essence of Middle Eastern cuisine to your table. With its combination of savory meatballs, aromatic herbs, and tangy lemon juice, it's a meal that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Whether you're looking for a cozy dinner option or a special dish to share with friends and family, this recipe is sure to impress.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a clear memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Arabian Meatballs in Broth. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my neighbor, Mrs. Smith. She was a lovely woman with a talent for cooking, and I always enjoyed spending time with her in her cozy kitchen.

On that particular day, Mrs. Smith was busy preparing a traditional Arabian dish for her family. The aroma of spices filled the air, and I couldn't help but be drawn to the pot simmering on the stove. As she worked, she explained each step of the recipe to me, her hands moving with a grace and precision that only comes from years of practice.

I watched in awe as she formed the meatballs with a mixture of ground lamb, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices that she had brought back from her travels to the Middle East. She expertly shaped each one into a perfect sphere before gently dropping them into the bubbling broth.

As the meatballs cooked, Mrs. Smith told me the story of how she had learned this recipe many years ago from a dear friend who had spent time living in Arabia. She spoke of the flavors and aromas that had captivated her from the first bite, and how she had spent years perfecting the dish to make it her own.

I listened intently, soaking up every detail and committing the recipe to memory. Mrs. Smith was kind enough to write it down for me before I left, and I promised to try it out for my own family soon.

When I returned home that afternoon, I wasted no time in gathering the ingredients and getting to work in my own kitchen. I followed Mrs. Smith's instructions carefully, taking care to season each meatball just right and simmer them in the fragrant broth until they were tender and flavorful.

The scent that filled my kitchen as the meatballs cooked took me right back to Mrs. Smith's cozy kitchen, and I couldn't wait to taste the finished dish. When I finally sat down to enjoy it with my family, I was thrilled to find that it was every bit as delicious as I remembered.

From that day on, Arabian Meatballs in Broth became a staple in our household. I would often make it for special occasions or when I wanted to treat my loved ones to a taste of the exotic flavors of the Middle East.

Over the years, I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe, adding my own touches here and there to make it truly my own. But the heart of the dish remains the same – tender meatballs simmered in a fragrant broth that warms the soul and fills the belly with comfort and joy.

I am forever grateful to Mrs. Smith for introducing me to this wonderful recipe, and for inspiring me to explore new flavors and techniques in the kitchen. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, and it is through recipes like Arabian Meatballs in Broth that I am able to share that passion with the ones I love.

As I sit here now, recalling that fateful day and the many meals that have followed, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the culinary journey that I have been on. And I look forward to many more years of creating delicious dishes that bring joy and nourishment to those around me.


| Arabian Recipes | Beef Stock And Broth Recipes | Ground Beef Recipes | Long-grain Rice Recipes | Meatball Recipes | Mint Recipes | Saudi Arabian Meat Dishes | Saudi Arabian Recipes | Tomato Paste Recipes |

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