Spicy Meatballs from Smyrna (Soutzoukákia Smyrnéika)

Spicy Meatballs 3a


Η συνταγή και στα ελληνικά στο τέλος της ανάρτησης!

Smyrna or Smýrni in Greek or Izmir in Turkish is the third largest city of Turkey. It is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean found in 3,000 B.C. and was inhabited by Greeks from the ancient years until its destruction by the Turks in 1922. Although Christian Greek population has endured many slaughters throughout the years, in 1922 they were about 165,000. Ottoman Turks were 80,000, 55,000 Jews, 40,000 Armenians, 6,000 Levantines and 30,000 other foreigners. The language widely spoken was Greek and the Greek community played a major role in the economic activity of the city and also in its cultural life. My grandfather used to tell me that Greeks of Smyrna were so rich and cultured that they brought ballets and actors from Paris to entertain them. Turkish called the city Giaour Izmir which meant the non-Muslim Izmir.

Spicy Meatballs

In September of 1922 and after the departure of the defeated Greek army from Turkish arm, Turk soldiers under the commandment of Kemal Ataturk entered the city and slaughtered the majority of the Greek and Armenian community, put fire and burnt the city apart from the Muslim and Jewish areas. George Horton the American consul there wrote: “One of the keenest impressions which I brought away with me from Smyrna was a feeling of shame that I belonged to the human race.”

All in all, Greek military campaign in Turkey cost to Greece 25,000 dead soldiers, 600,000 dead civilians and 1,500,000 Greek refugees who left their homes forever and all came to Greece.

Spicy Meatballs

These people brought their culture, their customs and of course their food. Their kitchen was deeply influenced by Middle Eastern one which has dishes with rich sauces and plenty of spices. You can see also other dishes from this kitchen as Imam Bayildi, Little Eggplant Bites, Cilbir, Galaktoboureko, Little Chocolate Baklava Bites etc.

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika or İzmir köfte is a Greek and Turkish dish of spicy oblong köfte with cumin, cinnamon, and garlic served in tomato sauce. This dish along with others was brought by the refugees when they came here. It is a delicious dish, very aromatic and spicy, but not hot and it is best served over rice or pasta. I, personally, love to eat them with French fries soaking them in the red sauce. My grandmother who came from Asia Minor used to make these and my mother also. I continue the family tradition and make these meatballs for my husband and son. Meatballs are a dish everyone loves, kids and adults and if you want to jazz up your usual recipe try these ones, they won’t let you down.

Spicy Meatballs



5.0 from 10 reviews
Spicy Meatballs from Smyrna (Soutzoukákia Smyrnéika)
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Main Course
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Greek
Ingredients/ Συστατικά
For the Meatballs
  • 1 kilo / 2 lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp salt and pepper according to your liking
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Olive oil or any oil you like for frying
For the Tomato Sauce
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 70 gr. / 2.5 oz. tomato paste
  • 3 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
For the Tomato Sauce
  1. Add everything in a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 1 ½ hour.
For the Meatballs
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and knead just until they are incorporated.
  2. Take a quantity equal to a small lime and make it an oval meatball.
  3. Do the same with the rest of the ground meat.
  4. Take about a cup of semolina or flour and flour them.
  5. Let them rest for 30 minutes and then fry them in very hot oil.
  6. You don’t have to fry them completely just about.
  7. Let them rest for about 10 minutes and then transfer them to the sauce.
  8. Let them cook for 15 to 20 minutes and serve them over rice, pasta or as I did over French fries.

5.0 from 10 reviews
Σουτζουκάκια Σμυρνέικα
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Κυρίως Πιάτο
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Ελληνική
Ingredients/ Συστατικά
Για τα Κεφτεδάκια
  • 1 κιλό μοσχαρίσιο κιμά
  • 2 αυγά
  • 2 κρεμμύδια, ψιλοκομμένα
  • 2 σκελίδες σκόρδο, λιωμένες
  • ¾ φλ. φρυγανιά
  • 2 κ.γ. αλάτι και το πιπέρι σύμφωνα με τις προτιμήσεις σας
  • 1 ½ κ.γ. κύμινο
  • 1 κ.γ. αποξηραμένη ρίγανη
  • 1 κ.γ. αποξηραμένο δυόσμο
  • 1 κ.γ. πάπρικα
  • ¼ φλ. ελαιόλαδο
  • Ελαιόλαδο ή οποιοδήποτε λάδι σας αρέσει για το τηγάνισμα
Για τη Σάλτσα Ντομάτας
  • 4 φλ. χυμό ντομάτας
  • 70 γρ. πάστα ντομάτας
  • 3 κ.γ. αλάτι
  • Πιπέρι
  • 1 κ.γ. πάπρικα
  • 1 κ.γ. μοσχοκάρυδο
  • 1 κ.γ. κανέλα
  • 1 ½ κ.σ. ζάχαρη
Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
Για τη Σάλτσα Ντομάτας
  1. Προσθέστε τα πάντα σε μια κατσαρόλα και βράστε.
  2. Μειώστε τη θερμότητα στο χαμηλό και αφήστε να σιγοβράσουν για 1 ½ ώρα.
Για τα Κεφτεδάκια
  1. Αναμίξτε όλα τα συστατικά σε ένα μεγάλο μπολ και ζυμώστε έως ότου ομογενοποιηθούν.
  2. Πάρτε μια ποσότητα ίση με ένα μικρό λάιμ και φτιάξτε ένα οβάλ κεφτεδάκι.
  3. Κάντε το ίδιο με τον υπόλοιπο κιμά.
  4. Πάρτε περίπου ένα φλιτζάνι σιμιγδάλι ή αλεύρι και αλευρώστε τα.
  5. Αφήστε τα να ξεκουραστούν για 30 λεπτά και στη συνέχεια, τηγανίστε τα σε πολύ καυτό λάδι.
  6. Δεν χρειάζεται να τα τηγανίσετε εντελώς γιατί θα ψηθούν και στη σάλτσα.
  7. Αφήστε τα να ξεκουραστούν για περίπου 10 λεπτά και στη συνέχεια ταμεταφέρετε στη σάλτσα.
  8. Αφήστε τα να μαγειρευτούν για 15 έως 20 λεπτά και σερβίρετε πάνω από ρύζι, ζυμαρικά ή όπως έκανα πάνω από πατάτες τηγανιτές.


48 Responses to Spicy Meatballs from Smyrna (Soutzoukákia Smyrnéika)

  1. These meatballs sound amazing!

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  3. Sounds really nice. Thanks for sharing, will be giving this recipe a go.


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  5. Susan says:

    I love that each country has their own version of this comforting meal. Love the spices!

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  7. Abigail says:

    This meatball dish is bursting with many flavors and the sauce alone sounds so delightfully good with the spices you added! Yum!

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  9. Miz Helen says:

    Your Meatballs look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great day.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  11. These look amazing! Popping in to let you know you are one of the features at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link to this week’s party. http://www.thededicatedhouse.com/2015/11/make-it-pretty-monday-week-157.html Hope to see you again at the party. Have a happy week! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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  13. Sissi says:

    These meatballs look so beautiful and delicious, one almost forgets the tragical part of the Greek history you mention (by the way, I wonder why it’s mentioned so rarely in other European countries…). Thank you for sharing once more your family history which includes such a rich culinary heritage.

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  15. Love this recipe and your step by step pictures are wonderful. As is the background story!!

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  17. Chef Devaux says:

    These meatballs are heavenly. And in combination with the spicy and the sauce makes this recipe perfect.

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  19. I love all the seasonings in these meatballs, they sound delicious!

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  21. Love the spice added to these meatballs, look so yum…

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  23. Nicky says:

    These look really good. I enjoy combining different spices. I like the idea of the cumin, mint, and paprika. Pinning this for later.

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  25. Winnie says:

    These meatballs look fantastic!! I’m a vegetarian, but my husband would looooooove them. and I would certainly love the aroma :)

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  27. katy allred says:

    I grew up in Smyrna… Smyrna, TN :) I recall learning about Smyrna in school and being surprised it had the same name as my small southern town! And I do love meatballs, pinning this immediately!

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  29. Erlene says:

    We love meatballs at our house and this is an unusual mix of spices for us. I love that you’re keeping a family recipe tradition going too. I just came back from Hawaii and brought back some family recipes.

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  31. Sandra says:

    These meatballs with french fries to dip them in sounds yummy! Love the spices you added!

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  33. Diane says:

    These meatballs look like a great recipe. I especially like the spices you use! Yum!

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  35. Kelly says:

    This is similar to what I make, except the spices are different. I’m so excited to try this!! A great mix of flavors!

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  37. The spices you’ve chosen for these tasty meat balls has my mouth watering. On my “to do” list for sure.

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  39. The spices are interesting. The meatballs are shaped differently than we would generally shape them here in the US. Do you deep fry them in oil, or simply brown them and turn them over?

    I think I would also very much enjoy them with French Fries!

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  41. mjskitchen says:

    When is the human race ever going to see the WRONG in slaughtering of people and in war! It really needs to stop.
    This is a great meatball dish! Was surprised to see dried mint in the meatball and those spices in the sauce. Great dish!

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  43. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party.

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  45. Nadji says:

    Tes photos sont tellement gourmandes qu’on a envie de repasser à table.
    Dommage que tu habites aussi loin. Je me serai invitée chez toi.
    A bientôt

  46. 24
  47. grace says:

    i get my weekly dose of knowledge from you, katerina! this is a great dish–love those herbs and spices, and the sauce is wonderful!

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  49. A recipe with so much history behind it, thank you for sharing the food and story!

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  51. Your recipe sounds so good with all the different spices in both the meatballs and sauce.

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  53. Yum! These sound so good. Pinning for later x

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  55. mia xara says:

    We all love soutzoukakia at home!Very aromatic indeed, lots of nice spices for the right flavor…They look really yummy :) Have a great day,Katerina, XOXO

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  57. nipponnin says:

    Sad to hear the tragic history of the city…but very fascinating.

    This looks very delicious and comforting. Your new photo of yourself is very pretty!

  58. 30
  59. Yum, yum, yum – loving your yummy dish! Thanks for sharing with us at #TryaBiteTuesday! I’ve pinned & tweeted your recipe – hope to see you back next week!

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  61. Marion says:

    Τα έχεις φτιάξει πάρα πολύ ωραία Κατερίνα.
    Οπως πρέπει με την σάλτσα τους.
    Η Ελληνες της Σμύρνης έφεραν πολλά καλά μαζί τους.

    Φιλιά πολλά

  62. 32
  63. I totally agree with that George Horton comment. Glad traditions do live on, especially in food. These meatballs sounds amazing Katerina.

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  65. Τα σουτζουκάκια είναι φαγητό απίστευτης νοστιμιάς, με τα ωραία μπαχαρικά και την πλούσια σάλτσα τους.
    Και είναι και φαγητό που αγαπάνε εξίσου πολύ μικροί και μεγάλοι!
    Πραγματικά δείχνουν αξιοζήλευτα Κατερίνα!
    Σε φιλώ!

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  67. Liz says:

    Yup, we love meatballs around her, too! Love the more unusual tomato sauce spices—fun to shake things up now and again :)

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  69. GiGi Eats says:

    Well, meatballs are officially ON THE MENU this week! 😉

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  71. All I have to say is YUM! Thanks for another great recipe!!

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  74. Your recipes are often so unique! Sounds amazing!

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  76. Barbara says:

    Truly enjoy reading your history at the beginning of each post, Katerina. And you so often weave your family history in as well.
    These are some monster meatballs….just what my family would love. Not only do I like the herbs and spices in the meatballs, but the fall spices in the sauce.
    Looks delicious!

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  78. Daniela says:

    Such an interesting post, it’s great to learn a bit more about Greek history.
    The Kofta looks fantastic, I’m so going to prepare this, thanks for sharing Katerina!

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  80. marcela says:

    WOW! It looks gorgeous, Katerina!

    PS. It’s Marcela from tortadellafiglia I moved to tastefolio.com! Hope you’ll like it :)

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  82. Juliana says:

    Hi Katerina…sorry for the absence…I have been so busy lately and not spending enough time blogging…
    I love the shape of these meatballs, and the fact that you have cinnamon, paprika and nutmeg in your tomato sauce…sounds and indeed looks delicious.
    Have a wonderful week my dear :)

  83. 43
  84. Το σουτζουκάκι πρεπει να ειναι Σμυρνέικο!

    Καλή εβδομαδα:)


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  86. My husband is a loyal fan of anything made with ground meat. This looks really tasty!

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  88. Beth says:

    These meatballs look great. I love that you’re still sharing family recipes, and family stories, with us!

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  90. Katerina I just pinned these! Once my kitchen is done I will be making them and also sharing with my mom as a surprise! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

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  92. Ola says:

    I often make them according to one of the Greek cookbooks, now I will have a chance to prepare it according to your recipe:)

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  94. Loving this unique tomato sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t think I have tried anything like this before. Even the shape is unique. I love when cultures mold together as some amazing dishes are created. Thanks for the fun little history lesson. I would have never stayed awake in high school to learn about this but if you tantalize me with some delicious spicy meatballs I will be sitting upright and ready to learn.

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