Meatball Soup (Assyrian Soup/Chipteh)

Meatball Soup (Assyrian Soup/Chipteh)

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Sometimes I share recipes that are a little too “ethnic” for the average person. Or perhaps, they have ingredients that are not easy to come by. Luckily, this isn’t one of those recipes. Most people have had some version of meatball soup. This just happens to be the Assyrian version; extra hearty, and rich in flavor. This is one of those versatile recipes that anyone will enjoy. In fact, if you don’t tell your company that it’s an Assyrian recipe, they will never suspect it.

Assyrian Meatball Soup (Chipteh/Kipteh)

Whether it’s Italian wedding soup, or Mexican albondigas soup, the idea is the same. These soups all start with ground meat, mixed with herbs, spices, and perhaps rice. The meatballs are then cooked in a tomato-based soup. Sometimes a little too watered down for my taste, but not so with this soup! The rice in this soup makes it hearty enough to serve as an entree, which is how Assyrians serve it. If you have some fresh basil on hand, by all means, toss them in!

two men sitting on a couch, one is holding a bowl of meatball soup/chipteh
My dad, with a friend, who just happens to be holding a large bowl of chipteh. You can bet at least a few of them have boiled eggs in the center!

Assyrian meatballs in a silver colored bowl.

Meatball Soup Ingredient Ideas

  • Sometimes the meatballs are formed around a boiled egg, packing even more flavor, and protein. When mom prepared this soup, a few of the meatballs would have boiled eggs inside. Those were reserved for my dad. They were his favorite, so we were not allowed to touch those! Now I can make my own, thank you very much!
  • Another variation is with the grain used. Although my mom always prepared her Chipteh with rice, some use bulgur instead, my grandmother included. If you choose to use this healthier option, you can skip the soaking step in the recipe, as bulgur is already parboiled. Bulgur comes in four grinds: #1 fine, #2 medium, #3 coarse and #4 extra coarse. #2 should be a good option for this recipe.
  • Want to make this soup even healthier? You can replace the beef used to make the meatballs with other healthier options like bison burger, game meat (if you have it, I know not everyone is married to a hunter),  or ground turkey.

meatball soup in a Dutch oven

meatball soup being served with a wooden spoon

You may also enjoy the following recipes: Bamya (Okra Stew), Potato Chop, Booshala (Creamy Yogurt Soup), Masheh (Bean Stew), and Aadas (Lentil Soup).

Don’t forget to check out my  Classic Middle Eastern Food Combinations.

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meatball soup

5 from 5 votes
meatball soup
Assyrian Meatball Soup (Chipteh)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Delicious and hearty Assyrian meatball soup.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Assyrian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 325 kcal
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1/2 green pepper minced
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 small green pepper 1” strips
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Pour 2 cups of water over the rice and allow to soak for 30 minutes. 

  2. Mix the remaining meatball ingredients in a large bowl. 

  3. Rub the soaked rice between your hands to break it up. This will make it easier to cook inside of the meatballs.

  4. Remove 1/4 cup of rice, and add to the meatball mixture. Set the remaining rice and liquid aside to use in the soup. Knead the meatball mixture with your hands. Form eight meatballs and set aside.

  1. Add oil, onion, green pepper and paprika to a 5 qt. Dutch oven. Fry the onion and green pepper over medium heat until soft. 

  2. Add tomato paste, the remaining rice, and the water it has been soaking in. Add an additional four cups of water, basil, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  3. Carefully drop the meatballs into the soup. Cover and cook, over low heat, for 30 minutes, or until the rice inside the meatballs are fully cooked.

Nutrition Facts
Assyrian Meatball Soup (Chipteh)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 325 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 886mg 37%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
Sugars 13g
Protein 25g 50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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