Chi Kofte (Armenian Steak Tartare)


  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium tomatoes (or 4 plum tomatoes) (¼-inch diced (about 1 ½ cups))
  • 1 cucumber ( peeled and ¼-inch diced (about 1 cup))
  • 1 green Italian pepper (Cubanelle) (¼-inch diced (about ¾ cup))
  • 4 scallions (thinly sliced)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumac ((optional))
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grade fine bulgur ((cracked wheat))
  • 1 ½ cups cold water (plus more as needed)
  • 1 ½ pounds very fresh top round (trimmed of all fat and ground 3 to 4 times until fine like a paste)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving (optional))



Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When melted add the ground beef, stirring and breaking up into small pieces. When the beef has started to brown but is not completely cooked yet, add the onions and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to cook until the beef is well-browned and cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.


For the salad, mix together all the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve. It will be quite juicy.


Fill a small bowl with some water to use to wet your hands as needed during the mixing and shaping process. In a large mixing bowl, soak the bulgur with the 1 ½ cups cold water for about 15 minutes until absorbed but still wet. Add the meat and mix thoroughly with your hands. Season with salt, paprika, and pepper and mix well. Mix in ¼ cup scallions and ¼ cup chopped parsley.


To shape the kofte, dip your hands in the water and grab a small handful of the mixture. Form it into a ball and then lightly begin to make a fist with your hand to make it a bit more oblong (but not completely flat) and leave finger imprints on one side. Place on a serving dish, dip your hands in water and repeat the process until all of the mixture has been used to form koftes. Garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley and serve with the gheyma, salad, and olive oil (if desired) on the side for topping.

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