Meatball
Overview
 
A meatball is made from an amount of ground meat
Ground meat
Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder or a chopping knife. It is called minced meat or more usually mince outside North America....

 rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumb
Breadcrumb
Breadcrumbs or bread crumbs are small particles of dry bread, which are used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, and adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods. They are documented in cookbooks as early as 1716...

s, minced onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

, spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, and possibly eggs
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

. Meatballs are usually prepared and rolled by hand, and are cooked by frying
Frying
Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BC. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g...

, baking
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

, steaming
Steaming
Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.-Method:...

, or braising
Braising
Braising , is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour...

 in sauce.

There are many kinds of meatball recipes using different types of meats and spices, including vegetarian and fish alternatives, and various methods of preparation.

The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius
Apicius
Apicius is the title of a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD and written in a language that is in many ways closer to Vulgar than to Classical Latin....

included many meatball-type recipes.
Encyclopedia
A meatball is made from an amount of ground meat
Ground meat
Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder or a chopping knife. It is called minced meat or more usually mince outside North America....

 rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumb
Breadcrumb
Breadcrumbs or bread crumbs are small particles of dry bread, which are used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, and adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods. They are documented in cookbooks as early as 1716...

s, minced onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

, spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, and possibly eggs
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

. Meatballs are usually prepared and rolled by hand, and are cooked by frying
Frying
Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BC. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g...

, baking
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

, steaming
Steaming
Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.-Method:...

, or braising
Braising
Braising , is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour...

 in sauce.

There are many kinds of meatball recipes using different types of meats and spices, including vegetarian and fish alternatives, and various methods of preparation.

The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius
Apicius
Apicius is the title of a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD and written in a language that is in many ways closer to Vulgar than to Classical Latin....

included many meatball-type recipes. From the Balkans to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, there is a large variety of meatballs in the kofta
Kofta
Kofta is a Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf.In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions...

 family.

Meatballs across various cultures

  • In Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , meatballs are used as a traditional dish with homemade soups, or are made with a tomato based sauce that may include some plum seeds to increase tartness and is served with bread or rice which is called Kofta-Chelou. Now meatballs are also grilled on top of pizza
    Pizza
    Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

    .
  • Albanian fried meatballs (qofte të fërguara) include feta cheese.
  • In Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    , fried meatballs are called Fleischlaibchen or Fleischlaberl.
  • In Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    , meatballs are called ballekes or bouletten in Flanders
    Flanders
    Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

    , and are usually made of a mixture of beef and pork with breadcrumbs and sliced onions. Many other variations exist, including different kinds of meat and chopped vegetables.
  • Chinese
    Chinese cuisine
    Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

     meatballs (specifically, a dish common in Shanghai
    Shanghai
    Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

     cuisine) are most often made of pork and are usually steamed or boiled, either as-is, or with the addition of soy sauce
    Soy sauce
    Soy sauce is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt...

    . Large meatballs, called lion's heads, can range in size from about 5 cm to 10 cm in diameter. Smaller varieties, called pork ball
    Pork ball
    A pork ball is a Chinese meatball made from finely minced pork, starch, and sometimes cuttlefish to impart a "bouncy" texture and added flavour....

    s, are used in soups. A Cantonese
    Cantonese cuisine
    Cantonese cuisine comes from Guangdong Province in southern China and is one of 8 superdivisions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the great numbers of early emigrants from Guangdong. Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout the country...

     variant, the steamed meatball
    Steamed meatball
    Steamed meatball is a Cantonese dim sum dish. It is popular in Hong Kong and most overseas Chinatowns. The meatball is made of beef, and usually has a tofu skin layer in the bottom, garnished with some vegetables like scallions. It is served with the standardized non-Chinese worcestershire sauce...

    , is made of beef and served as a dim sum
    Dim sum
    Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates...

     dish. A similar dish is called the beef ball
    Beef ball
    Beef ball is a commonly cooked food in southern China and overseas Chinese communities. As the name suggests, the ball is made of beef that has been finely pulverized. They are easily distinguishable from fish balls due to the beef balls' darker color...

    , and the fish ball
    Fish ball
    Fish balls are a common food in southern China and overseas Chinese communities made from surimi . They are also common in Scandinavia, where they are usually made from cod or haddock.-Terminology:...

     is yet another variety made from pulverized fish. In northern China, irregular balls made from minced meat and flour are often deep-fried and eaten for special occasions.
  • Danish
    Cuisine of Denmark
    Danish cuisine is shaped by the practice of fishing and farming, including the cultivation of the soil for raising crops and the raising of domesticated animals, and the history of Denmark. Danish cuisine is known for its open sandwiches , meat balls and sweet pastry...

     meatballs are known as frikadeller
    Frikadeller
    Frikadeller are flat, pan-fried dumplings of minced meat, often likened to the Danish version of meatballs. They are a popular dish in Germany, where they are known as Frikadellen, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Poland , Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands...

    and are typically fried, and they are usually made out of ground pork
    Pork
    Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

    , veal, onions, eggs, salt and pepper; these are formed into balls and flattened somewhat, so they are pan
    Frying pan
    A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

     ready.
  • In Finnish cuisine, meatballs (lihapullat) are made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork, or even with ground reindeer meat, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk and finely chopped onions. They are seasoned with white pepper
    White Pepper
    -Singles:* "Even If You Don't" was released as a single on Mushroom Records with the B-side "Cornbread Red".* "Stay Forever" was released as a single on Mushroom Records with "The Grobe" and "Who Dat?"-Musicians featured on the record:* Dean Ween* Gene Ween...

     and salt
    Salt
    In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

    . Meatballs are traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes (or mashed potatoes), lingonberry jam
    Lingonberry jam
    Lingonberry jam is a staple food in Scandinavian cuisine.Because lingonberries are plentiful in the forested areas of the inland, the jam is easy to prepare, and has good keeping qualities, it has always been very popular with traditional dishes such as kroppkakor, pitepalt, potato cake,...

    , and sometimes pickled cucumber
    Pickled cucumber
    A pickled cucumber is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.-Gherkin:A gherkin is not only...

    .
  • In Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , meatballs are mostly known as Frikadelle, Fleischpflanzerl, Bulette or Klopse. A very famous variant of meatballs are Königsberger Klopse
    Königsberger Klopse
    Königsberger Klopse, also known as Soßklopse, is a Prussian specialty of meatballs in a white sauce with capers.The dish is named for the Prussian city of Königsberg and is one of the glories of East Prussian cuisine...

    , which contain anchovy
    Anchovy
    Anchovies are a family of small, common salt-water forage fish. There are 144 species in 17 genera, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Anchovies are usually classified as an oily fish.-Description:...

     or salted herring
    Herring
    Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

    , and are eaten with caper sauce.
  • In Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    , fried meatballs are called keftédes (κεφτέδες) and usually include within the mix bread, onions and mint leaf. Stewed meatballs are called yuvarlákia (γιουβαρλάκια: from the Turkish
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

     word yuvarlak, which means "round") and usually include small quantities of rice.
  • In Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    , as well as territories from neighbouring countries where Hungarian is spoken, a meatball is called fasirt or fasirozott (ˈfɒʃirt or ˈfɒʃirozotː) probably coming from Austrian German faschierte Laibchen. Also the májgombóc (liver dumpling) is popular in soups.
  • In Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    , several types of meatballs are consumed. If they are cooked in a stew, they are called kufteh. If they are fried (typically small meatballs), they are called kal-e gonjeshki (literally "sparrow
    Sparrow
    The sparrows are a family of small passerine birds, Passeridae. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a genus of the family, Passer...

    's head"). Both types are consumed with either bread or rice. Typically, herbs are added, and for kufteh, usually the meatball is filled with hard boiled eggs or dried fruits. There are several (at least 10) types; the most famous is "kufteh tabrizi", traditionally from Tabriz
    Tabriz
    Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

     in northwestern Iran.
  • In Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    , meatballs are called bakso
    Bakso
    Bakso or baso is Indonesian meatball or meat paste made from beef surimi and is similar in texture to the Chinese beef ball, fish ball, or pork ball. Bakso is commonly made from beef with a small quantity of tapioca flour, however bakso can also be made from other ingredients, such as chicken,...

    which are usually served in a bowl, like soup, with noodles, beancurd (tofu), egg, siomay/steamed meat dumpling, and crispy wonton. They have a consistent homogeneous texture. Bakso can be found all across Indonesia, but the most popular are bakso Solo and bakso Malang (named for the city from which it originates). In Malang, bakso bakar (roasted bakso) is also popular. As most Indonesians are Muslim, generally it is made from beef or is mixed with chicken.
  • In Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , meatballs are known as polpette, and are generally eaten as a main course or in a soup. The main ingredients of an Italian meatball are: beef and or pork and sometimes turkey, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs and parsley, mixed and rolled by hand to a golf ball size. In the Abruzzo
    Abruzzo
    Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east...

     region of Italy, especially in the Province of Teramo
    Province of Teramo
    The Province of Teramo is located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Teramo. The province has an area of 1,948 km², a population of 296,063 , and is subdivided into 47 comunes , see Comunes of the Province of Teramo...

    , the meatballs are typically the size of marbles, and are called polpettine.
  • The Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    ese hamburger steak
    Hamburger
    A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

    , hanbāgu, is typically made of ground beef, milk-soaked panko
    Panko
    is a variety of flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods, such as tonkatsu. Panko is made from bread baked by passing an electric current through the dough, yielding bread without crusts, and it has a crisper, airier texture than most types of breading found...

     (bread crumbs) and minced, sauteed onions. They are typically eaten with a sauce made from ketchup and Worcestershire sauce
    Worcestershire sauce
    Worcestershire sauce , or Worcester sauce is a fermented liquid condiment; primarily used to flavour meat or fish dishes.First made at 60 Broad Street, Worcester, England, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the Lea & Perrins brand was commercialised in 1837 and...

    . Chinese style meatballs are also popular.
  • In the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    , meatballs are called gehaktbal, and are often served with boiled potatoes and vegetables. This combination has been the most common dish in Dutch households for many years.
  • In Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    , meatballs are called kjøttkaker ("meat cakes") and resemble Danish frikadeller, but they are usually made from ground beef
    Ground beef
    Beef mince, ground beef, hamburger meat , hamburg or minced meat is a minced meat food, made of beef finely chopped by a mincer. It is used in many recipes including hamburgers and cottage pie...

    . This dish is traditionally served with boiled potato
    Potato
    The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

    es, gravy
    Gravy
    Gravy is a sauce made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces and gravy is often thicker than in Britain...

    , lingonberry jam and/or stewed green peas
    PEAS
    P.E.A.S. is an acronym in artificial intelligence that stands for Performance, Environment, Actuators, Sensors.-Performance:Performance is a function that measures the quality of the actions the agent did....

    . Some people also like to add fried/caramelized onion on the side.
  • In the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

    , meatballs are called almondigas or bola-bola, and usually served in a soup with rice vermicelli called misua
    Misua
    Misua is a very thin variety of salted Chinese noodles made from wheat flour. It is originated from Fujian, China...

    , toasted garlic, squash and pork cracklings
    Pork rind
    Pork rind , is the fried or roasted skin of a pig. Frying melts most of the fat from the pork rind...

    .
  • In Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    , they are called pulpety or klopsy (singular pulpet; klops), and pulpeciki ("little pulpety"), and are usually served cooked with a variety of sauces (such as tomato or a kind of gravy thickened with flour, as well as forest mushroom sauce) with potatoes, rice or all sorts of kasza. Pulpety or klopsy are usually made from seasoned ground meat with onion and mixed with eggs and either breadcrumbs or wheat rolls soaked in milk or water. Fried pulpety are larger than typical cooked ones. They can be round or flat in shape. The latter, in many countries, would be considered a cross between a meatball and a hamburger. The fried variety is called mielony (short for kotlet mielony – literally "minced cutlet"), and its mass-produced version (as well as the one served in bars, etc.) is a subject of many jokes and urban legends explaining what is used to produce it.
  • In Portugal
    Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

     and Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

    , meatballs are called almôndegas. These are usually served with tomato sauce and pasta.
  • In Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    , meatballs are called chiftele and pârjoale and are usually deep fried and made with pork or poultry, moistened bread and garlic. Chiftele are smaller and contain more meat. A crude, plain meat variant is used for sour soup, making ciorbă de perişoare.
  • In Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     and Latin America
    Latin America
    Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

    , meatballs are called albóndigas, derived from the Arabic al-bunduq (meaning hazelnut, or, by extension, a small round object). Albóndigas are thought to have originated as a Berber or Arab dish imported to Spain during the period of Muslim rule
    Al-Andalus
    Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

    . Spanish albóndigas can be served as an appetizer or main course, often in a tomato sauce, while Mexican albóndigas are commonly served in a soup with a light broth and vegetables.

  • In Sweden, köttbullar (meatballs) are made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork and sometimes veal, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk and finely chopped (fried) onions, some broth, and, occasionally, cream. They are seasoned with white pepper
    White Pepper
    -Singles:* "Even If You Don't" was released as a single on Mushroom Records with the B-side "Cornbread Red".* "Stay Forever" was released as a single on Mushroom Records with "The Grobe" and "Who Dat?"-Musicians featured on the record:* Dean Ween* Gene Ween...

     or allspice
    Allspice
    Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or newspice, is a spice that is the dried unripe fruit of Pimenta dioica , a mid-canopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world...

     and salt
    Salt
    In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

    . Swedish meatballs are traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and sometimes fresh pickled cucumber
    Pickled cucumber
    A pickled cucumber is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.-Gherkin:A gherkin is not only...

    . Traditionally, they are small, measuring one inch in diameter. In the United States, there are a number of variations, based on the assimilation of Swedes in the Midwest.
  • In the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , faggot
    Faggot (food)
    Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK, especially South and Mid Wales and the Midlands of England. It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. A faggot is traditionally made from pig's heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and...

    s are a type of spicy pork
    Pork
    Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

     meatball. A faggot is traditionally made from pig heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring, and sometimes breadcrumbs.
  • In the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , meatballs are commonly served with spaghetti
    Spaghetti
    Spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical pasta of Italian origin. Spaghetti is made of semolina or flour and water. Italian dried spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina, but outside of Italy it may be made with other kinds of flour...

     as in spaghetti and meatballs
    Spaghetti and meatballs
    Spaghetti with meatballs is a dish that usually consists of spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs.According to Food Network host and correspondent Alton Brown, early 20th-century Italian immigrants in New York City were the first to make it and the National Pasta Association was the...

    , a dish in Italian American cuisine, assimilated from Italian immigrants coming from southern Italy in the early 19th century. Over time, the dishes in both cultures have drifted apart in similarity. In the southern United States, venison or beef is also often mixed with spices and baked into large meatballs that can be served as an entree. Another variation, called "porcupine meatballs" are basic meatballs often with rice in them.
  • In Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    , meatballs (thịt viên) can be used as an ingredient in phở
    PHO
    PHO may refer to:* Primary Health Organisation* Potentially hazardous object, an asteroid or comet that could potentially collide with Earth...

    . It is also common to cook meatballs in tomato sauce, and finely chopped spring onion and peppers are added before serving. In bún chả
    Bún chả
    Grilled Pork Noodle Soup is a Vietnamese dish, which is thought to be originated from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Bun cha is served with a plate of white rice noodle and herbs in a steamy broth.-External links:* *...

    (a specialty Vietnamese rice noodle), meatballs are grilled to be chả and served with bún (rice noodles) and dipping sauce (based on fish sauce seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili).

Kofta


Kofta is a Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern and South Asian meatball or dumpling
Dumpling
Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. They are based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. They may have a filling, or there may be other ingredients mixed into the dough. Dumplings may...

. The word kofta is derived from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 kūfta: In Persian, کوفتن (Kuftan) means "to beat" or "to grind" or meatball. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat
Ground meat
Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder or a chopping knife. It is called minced meat or more usually mince outside North America....

 – usually beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

 or lamb – mixed with spices and/or onions. The vegetarian variety like lauki kofta, shahi aloo kofta are popular in India.

The meat is often mixed with other ingredients such as rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, bulgur
Bulgur
Bulgur is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. In the United States it is most often made from white wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Bulgaria...

, vegetables, or eggs
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

 to form a smooth paste. Koftas are sometimes made with fish
Fish (food)
Fish is a food consumed by many species, including humans. The word "fish" refers to both the animal and to the food prepared from it. Fish has been an important source of protein for humans throughout recorded history.-Terminology:...

 or vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s rather than meat, especially in India. They can be grilled, fried, steamed, poached, baked or marinated, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce. Variations occur in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, the Mediterranean, Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. According to a 2005 study done by a private food company, there were 291 different kinds of kofta in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, where it is very popular. In Arab countries, kufta is usually shaped into cigar-shaped cylinders.

Early recipes (included in some of the earliest known Arabic
Arab cuisine
Arab cuisine is defined as the various regional cuisines spanning the Arab World, from Morocco and Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, and incorporating Levantine, Egyptian .-History:...

 cookbooks) generally concern seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized meatballs, and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron
Saffron
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel...

. This method was taken to the west and is referred to as gilding, or endoring. Many regional variations exist, notable among them the unusually large Iranian Kufteh Tabrizi, having an average diameter of 20 cm (8 in).

Koftas in South Asian cuisine are normally cooked in a spicy curry and sometimes with whole pre-boiled eggs. Sometimes the eggs are encased in a layer of the spicy kofta meat so that the final product resembles an Indian Scotch egg
Scotch egg
A Scotch egg consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, coated in breadcrumbs or rolled oats, and deep-fried...

. These kofta dishes are very popular with South Asian families and are widely available from many Indian restaurants.
In West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, India and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, koftas are made with prawns, fish, green bananas, cabbage, as well as minced goat meat.

World's Largest Meatball

The record for World's Largest Meatball was set several times in 2009. It was first set in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in August weighing 49.4 kg (109 pounds) and then again a month later in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 when late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel
James Christian "Jimmy" Kimmel is an American television host and comedian. He is the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, a late-night talk show that airs on ABC. Prior to that, Kimmel was best known as the co-host of Comedy Central's The Man Show and Win Ben Stein's Money...

 helped set the record weight at 90 kg (198.6 pounds). In October 2009, an Italian eatery in Concord, New Hampshire
Concord, New Hampshire
The city of Concord is the capital of the state of New Hampshire in the United States. It is also the county seat of Merrimack County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 42,695....

 set the new record at 101 kg (222.5 pounds).

See also

  • Boulet à la liégeoise or "boulet sauce lapin" originates originates from Liège
    Liège
    Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

     (Belgium)
  • Faggot
    Faggot (food)
    Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK, especially South and Mid Wales and the Midlands of England. It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. A faggot is traditionally made from pig's heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and...

  • Frikandel
    Frikandel
    A frikandel is a Dutch snack, a sort of minced-meat hot dog,developed either in 1954 or in 1958/1959 in the Netherlands, depending on the source.-Overview:...

     – A Dutch
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     and in Belgian
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     snack, similar in texture to meatballs, but more like hot dog
    Hot dog
    A hot dog is a sausage served in a sliced bun. It is very often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish and/or sauerkraut.-History:...

     or sausage
    Sausage
    A sausage is a food usually made from ground meat , mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted.Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made...

     rather than ball shaped.
  • Rissole
    Rissole
    A rissole is a small croquette, enclosed in pastry or rolled in breadcrumbs, usually baked or deep fried...

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