Sonia Tashjian’s Chick Brtuj (Meatless kufteh) with Onion-Tomato Dipping Sauce
Traditional Kufteh is made with fine bulgur mixed with finely ground meat for the shell, and then stuffed with a spiced meat-onion filling. It’s sometimes shaped like a small football (my maternal grandmother’s style), or flattened on the bottom with a rounded top (my paternal grandmother’s style)– somewhat like a flying saucer -at least, that’s what we thought, as kids.
Sonia’s meatless kufteh is perfect for a vegetarian or Lenten meal.
“‘Chick’ means “chga” – or – ‘there is none – or – without’ and the Armenian name of such kyuftas is ‘brtuj’, which means a portion prepared in the palm.
(other synonyms are sekhem & jankig)…..
Therefore, chick – brtuj (or chick kyufta) means this is a meatless dish.
This recipe is the everyday version of uncooked meat brtuj, or chi kufteh.
(Nowdays when we say chick kyufta, we understand it to be the meat version; but in the old books, there is mention about this non-meat kyufta).”
1)- Mix 1 Tbsp. of red pepper paste into 1 cup of fine bulghur; set aside.
2)- Finely chop 1 medium onion + 1 tomato + 1 green or red pepper.
3)- Mix together, knead it by pouring olive oil; season with red & black pepper, cumin & lemon juice.
4)- Blend it in a food processor if necessary.
5)- Mix in chopped mint leaves & parsley;
6)- Shape brtuj to resemble little sausages using wet hands.
Serve with onion – tomato sauce.
To prepare sauce: Dilute some water into 4 Tbsp. tomato paste until it can pour thickly from a spoon. Mix in finely chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.