How my mother made Koofteh Tabrizi
By Ahmad Poudratchi
West Palm Beach, Florida
May 4, 2001
Dear Ashpaz Baashi,
Thank you very much for your column "Post-feminist
koofteh". It not only made me hungry but it also reminded me of
my childhood -- those innocent days when I used to go home from school and
mother had a very delicious food ready.
I am talking about days when even Italian people had not invented Pizza
and the word of fast food did not exist in dictionaries. Days when mothers
used to spend all day in the kitchen to prepare delicious food. When the
entire family sat around a "sofreh" and had a meal together without
watching TV. Those days will never be repeated.
Anyway, the lady from Tabriz that you met her in San Francisco, must
have left Tabriz a long time ago and she has taken some serious short cuts
in her recipe. An authentic Koofteh Tabrizi is not prepared with ground
beef. You purchase lamb meat, preferably "goosht-e roon," with
not much fat on it.
You then have to beat the meat in a device, which in Turkish is called,
"deabahi" made out of a piece of log, usually about two feet long,
a foot-and-a-half wide, and about a foot high. It has a hole (six inches
wide, six inches deep) in the middle in the shape of a half sphere.
After you have cleaned and washed the meat, you then cut the meat in
pieces of about 2" x 2" x 2". You then put the pieces in
that hole and beat them by a device called "debahi dastasi" in
Turkish, the equivalent of "dasteh-ye havang" in Persian.
However, "debahi dastasi" in Tabriz was not made out of metal,
whereas it was made out of stone and it had a shape very close to a cone.
You then beat the meat with this device till the pieces of meat would pretty
much mix together. You then use this meat instead of ground beef that your
Tabrizi friend had in her recipe.
The Koofteh that you mentioned, is known as Armenian Koofteh, which is
made out of ground meat, except you do not put cooked egg in it. And my
mother, Mrs. Razieh Nayeb Totonchi, bless her heart, is the master in making
I offered this just to clarify an ancient recipe. Nowadays, with this
fast food life style in the "Land of Opportunity," who is going
to take the time to find out how an authentic Koofteh Tabrizi is made?
Before you know it, this Pizza Hut and McDonalds generation, including
my 15-year-old daughter, will think real Koofteh Tabrizi is made of ground
It is the same with Persian carpets. Many Iranians have no idea that
one of the main characteristics of an authentic Persian carpet is that the
wool's color MUST come from a vegetable dye rather than a synthetic dye.
Oh, let's not get into these subjects or else I would not be able to
stop. Thank you for your time and looking forward to reading your future