Gelin budu, or “bride’s thighs”, is the Iraqi Turmen name for these soft and golden, meat-stuffed croquettes (also known as Kubbat halab in Arabic and Pirinç köftesi in Turkish). What makes this dish unique, other than its memorable name, is its kneaded rice crust, which gives it a distinct taste from similar flour-based dishes. Thanks for this recipe goes to my Iraqi Turkmen friend, Sheyma.
Gelin Budu – Bride’s Thighs (Rice Croquettes)
For the filling:
- 300 g ground beef or lamb
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
For the shell:
- 1 potato
- 250 g (1 cup) rice, rinsed
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- In a medium bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together. Cook the meat mixture over medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Boil the potato until tender. Meanwhile, in a large pot over high heat, bring the rice, water and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Steam the rice for 20 minutes.
- Peel the boiled potato. Pour the rice into a large bowl, crush the potato with your hand into the bowl and mix until well combined. Sprinkle on the flour and knead the mixture until sticky and dough-like.
- Divide the mixture into 16 equal pieces and, with wet hands, roll each piece between your palms into a ball.
- Place a ball in your left hand and press your right index finger down the middle to make a hole. Move your thumb in the hole while squeezing and turning the ball to form a bowl-shaped shell. Keep your hands wet for a thin, smooth shell and to seal any cracks.
- Stuff the shell with a teaspoon of the filling. Seal the opening with wet fingers and shape into an oval. Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Fill a large pot about 4 cm deep with oil and place it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, deep-fry the gelin budu in batches of 5 to 6, stirring gently with a slotted spoon, until golden brown. Serve warm.