Skip To Content

Passover Recipe: How To Cook Like a Turk

There’s a good reason we only eat Kalli’ah once a year. The Turkish inspired beef, eggs and potato dish is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have high cholesterol, just stop reading now. But if you enjoy the succulent rich taste of confit, this is the perfect Passover dish for you.

This recipe was handed down to me by my husband’s family. Israelis since long before Israel was a democratic nation, his ancestors originally emigrated from Turkey but identify their cultural heritage as Nashdidanim — a Jewish group from the secluded mountainous boarders of Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan that dates back to the Babylonian exile. Many of their food customs resemble those of the Turks and Kurds with dishes that include stuffed grape leaves known as dolma and meat filled kubbe dumplings poached in soup or served fried. Kalli’ah is one of the community’s signature Passover dishes.

The word Kall’iah refers to the method of cooking the meat in Aramaic — it is fried in rendered fat or oil, also known as confit. The technique preserves meat, making it an excellent option for a long holiday like Passover. According to the website of the Nashdidan community, “Kalli’ah should be eaten with wet matza, alleviating the need for utensils,” another plus when faced with limited kosher for Passover dishes.

The ingredient amounts for the recipe are enough to sever upwards of 30-40 people but the dish is meant to be divided up into multiple meals over the course of a week. It is alos easily divided or frozen. The leftover beef is excellent when added to stews or omelets. Store the beef in an airtight nonreactive container, preferably a glass jar, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Safta Naomi’s Beef Kalli’ah

10-12 pounds beef shoulder, cubed
½ pound reserved beef fat, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt 11 hard boiled eggs
3 pounds potatoes
1 bunch mint
salt and pepper to taste

1) Place the beef fat cubes in a large heavy stock-pot or a Dutch oven and cook on low-medium heat for 20-25 minutes until most of the fat has rendered into a liquid. Scoop out the remaining crispy brown bits with a slotted spoon, discard.

2) Add the beef cubes and teaspoon of salt to the rendered fat and cook on medium heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally until beef is tender enough to be easily broken up with a spoon. Allow beef to cool in the pot until it is cool enough to handle. Transfer to a nonreactive airtight container, preferably a glass jar.

3) While the beef is cooking, peel and cut the potatoes into 16ths. Place in a large stock-pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain, cool, and store in an airtight container.

4) When ready to serve, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add one cup of the cooked beef* to the skillet and break it up with a wooden spoon until beef resembles threads. Add 1 cup of potatoes, three chopped hard-boiled eggs, and one tablespoon freshly chopped mint. Cook until heated through, 8-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5) Reserve the remaining beef, eggs, potatoes and mint for a future meal.

*This amount serves approximately four people. For a larger portion, simply double or triple the amounts.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.