Armenian Meatballs

Armenian Meatballs

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I discovered Armenian Meatballs when I was researching hors d’oeuvres to make for a cocktail party at my home. A group of us were going on an Art Tour of Russia. I knew we wouldn’t be able to eat meat there because it wasn’t Kosher. I decided to give everyone a sense of the flavors we would not be able to eat in Moscow and St. Petersberg.

Armenian Meatballs are a combination of chopped meat seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, mint, cilantro, garlic, raisins and pine nuts. The ground veal mixed with the ground beef produces a lighter meatball than using all ground beef. Shape this mixture into bite size meatballs, brown and simmer. These Armenian Meatballs are the most amazingly delicious hors d’oeuvres you have ever had. Sour Plum Sauce (Tkemali) is used like catsup in Armenia. You can buy it in Russian stores; or try my simplified homemade recipe. It has a hot sweet taste that is a perfect complement to the meatballs.

Prep time: 45 minutes

Armenian Meatballs

By Gloria Kobrin Published: January 5, 2015

  • Yield:

  • about 50 meatballs


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled, cored and minced
  • 3 large garlic cloves peeled & minced
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 14 ounces ground veal
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons Unflavored, Non-dairy Bread Crumbss
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 cup cilantro stems removed, minced and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup mint Leaves stemmed, minced and rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons flour more if necessary


  • 1 electric food processor steel knife inserted
  • 1 large skillet with cover
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • large pan with lip lined with paper towels
  • slotted spoon
  • 2 slotted racks


  1. Pour two tablespoons vegetable oil in skillet. Place over medium flame. Add onion and sauté for eight minutes. Stir in garlic, pine nuts and raisins. Stir until onions and nuts are lightly colored. This takes about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place chopped beef and veal in mixing bowl. Add egg, crumbs, herbs, spices, water and sautéed onion mixture. Mix thoroughly. This is most easily done with your hands.
  3. Form small meatballs-about the size of small walnuts- and set aside. Rinse out skillet.
  4. Sprinkle four on a flat surface. Dredge meatballs lightly in flour. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil and one tablespoon of olive oil in skillet. Place over medium-high flame. Add several meatballs at a time to hot oil. Don't crowd them. You will have to cook the meatballs in batches. Sauté meatballs until brown on all sides. Reduce flame to low and cover skillet. Cook for another 10 minutes shaking the pan occasionally. Remove meatballs from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on slotted rack. Add more vegetable oil and olive oil to skillet and repeat process of browning and cooking until all the meatballs have been done. Serve hot or at room temperature with Sour Plum Sauce.