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It is with great pleasure that I both welcome and introduce my first-cousin, from my maternal side, Maria Chrysanthou, who kindly put together this recipe for us. Maria picked up her great cooking skills and of course nice recipes, by helping her mum, my lovely aunt Loukia, in the kitchen, from a young age. I thank my cousin for her delicious and Original Keftedes Recipe from Cyprus and can certainly vouch for the outcome, as I have tried them many times over the years, when visiting, so I know you will enjoy the outcome.
by Maria Chrysanthou:
A family favourite at Cypriot dinner tables, Keftedes are Cypriot meatballs traditionally made from pork and beef mince and fried. They stand alone in taste and do not need a sauce to bring them to life – just a squeeze of lemon juice when you eat them.
Most Greek restaurants do not have Keftedes on their menu and the supermarket ones are just not the same. Cypriot Keftedes (apologies to our Scandinavian and Italian friends) are the best by far. So it is a case of having to make your own unless you have a lovely mum or yiayia or Cypriot neighbour to make them for you!
You can have Keftedes anytime. When you are cooking them you can have anything from 2 -20 just to “try them”. They make a perfect main meal with tahini, a fresh Cypriot salad and chips. Also as a side dish with your dinner, Keftedes are great with our other wonderful Cypriot dishes of macaronia tou fournou (Cypriot pasta bake) and koubebia (stuffed vine leaves). Keftedes are a treat as a late night snack – no one will notice five or six missing from the fridge. Hot or cold they cannot be resisted.
I just love them and you can never eat too many – my family and I have tried!
My Keftedes follow my mum’s Original Recipe from Cyprus and makes about 100 Keftedes.
- 500 grams pork mince
- 500 grams beef mince
- 9 large potatoes
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 lemons
- 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
- Fresh flat leaf parsley (lots of it finely chopped)
- Breadcrumbs (shop bought white fine breadcrumbs is ok)
- A little cinnamon, garlic powder and mixed spice to taste
- Sunflower oil to fry the Keftedes
- Lemon to squeeze on to the cooked Keftedes just before you eat them
There are many Keftedes variations. Some people add halloumi to the mix. Others baking powder, to make the Keftedes lighter. Others add different herbs or spices. Vegetarian Keftedes are also great.
Peel the potatoes and grate on the finest grater hole into a large bowl. Once grated, squeeze out the excess water/starch from the potatoes with your hands and put the squeezed drier potato into another large mixing bowl. Dispose of the starch.
Add the mince meat, eggs, parsley, juice from two lemons, the salt, cinnamon, garlic and mixed spice to the potatoes and mix all the ingredients together by hand.
Add the breadcrumbs slowly. How much you’ll need, depends on the moisture of the mix. The consistency should end up being like that of a beef burger mix.
I always make a small flat burger from my mix first and fry in a small pan to taste it – just to make sure there is enough salt and lemon, but that is just me.
With the mix now ready, heat up the sunflower oil in a deep saucepan. (I use a 9 inch wide and 4 inch deep pan). The oil should be about one and half inches deep so that it almost covers the Keftedes when they go in.
While the oil is heating up, get a little of the mix and using the palms of your hands roll it into a ball (about the size of a table tennis ball) and place on a plate. Keep doing this until all mix is used.
Once the oil is hot (it will bubble up when you put the Keftedes in), put your Keftedes in carefully one by one and fry for about 10 minutes. I can usually put in about 10-12 Keftedes. You can stir/turn them about 5 minutes into cooking.
Once cooked, put them into a tray lined with kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil. The Keftedes will be a bit crispy on the outside and a dark brown colour. Put the next lot of Keftedes in the saucepan and cook. Keep doing this until all mix is used.
Try cooking chips or roast potatoes in the oil used to fry the Keftedes. The oil will give an unbelievable flavour to your potatoes. Enjoy xx