Romanian Meatballs (Chiftele) Recipe are absolutely delicious variant of the popular keftas served throughout the Balkan countries, North Africa and India. Keftas can be also found under other names such as kofta, kufta, kafteh, keftes, cuftah, and kyuftah. 

Romanian Meatballs Chiftele

Romanian Meatballs (Chiftele) Recipe are absolutely delicious variant of the popular keftas served throughout the Balkan countries
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Romania
Keyword: Beef, Lamb
Servings: 6


For the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ bunch dill
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 slice bread , soaked in water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp water
  • black Pepper
  • nutmeg
  • all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 2 scallions , grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • A few pearl onions
  • 1 green hot pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • A few cherry tomatoes


For the Meatballs

  • You can use a food processor to chop potatoes, onion, garlic, dill, parsley, celery and carrot.
  • In a large bowl mince the meat and transfer the chopped vegetables.
  • You can crush some bread, add cold water, sprinkle with nutmeg and add the eggs. Mix by hand then season with salt and pepper.
  • Set a aside the bowl with the mixture for 30 minutes, you can mix it a few times with your hands during that time.
  • Now lightly oil your hands and form smooth round balls from the meat mixture and roll them in the flour.
  • Heat on the stove a large frying pan over medium heat and transfer the meatballs in it. Fry them in cover in half oil.When ready drain them and transfer to a plate with paper tower at the bottom.

For the Sauce

  • On a cutting board cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
  • You can use a different pan and sauté onions over medium heat then add the rest of the other ingredients except the cherry tomatoes and pearl onions, and stir well.
  • Bring the sauce to boiling and add the meatballs to it and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
  • Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 more minutes and when you mark 15 minutes left add the cherry tomatoes and pearl onions in the sauce.

Inspiration and adaptation:,,

Explore other recipes from the traditional Romanian cuisine.

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