Dare to Dream, Make a Meal: Keftedes!

It was Jacques Houdek who once said, ‘Dare to dream, make a meal’ – ok yes, that wasn’t quite the lyric, but with this year’s slogan ‘Dare to Dream’ why not make a few adaptations! With this year’s contest quickly approaching, it’s time to start planning your Eurovision parties. With the help of Eurovision Union, you can plan out the ultimate Eurovision party for you and your friends!

Over the last month, we’ve gathered some of the tastiest and most intriguing dishes from across the participating nations and we have put our aprons on to test out these recipes! We selected a diverse range of food, as well as both savoury and sweet dishes, so if you are hosting a Eurovision party this year, you can take inspiration from our cooking adventures across Europe and recreate these dishes for you and your friends!

Keftedes (Cyprus)

Being of Cypriot background myself, this was a dish that really brought a sense of nostalgia. There’s just something so satisfying about cracking open a freshly fried meatball and seeing the steam come out, and it is safe to say that a considerable amount of meatballs didn’t even make it to the table as everyone loiters around the stove to get one while it’s hot!

Meatballs seem to be one of those dishes that a lot of cultures have their own spin on, and Cyprus is no different. There is a unique process that makes Keftedes what they are as opposed to just another meatball. Even searching online, this process seems to be missed in a lot of recipes, so I’ll do my best to explain the special process, although I’ll give fair warning to say that the following recipe may be a bit informal since it’s come from the wisdom of my talented aunt who like many, cook based on familiarity with the dish rather than a written recipe.

If you want to try this at home, you can try with our recipe or otherwise I’ll add another recipe, albeit one that doesn’t follow the same Cypriot family tradition but I am sure will still be tasty!  Let’s start with the family version:


  • 700g of coarse ground mince (we used chicken, although traditionally Pork is used)
  • 2 Large Potatoes or 3 small
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • Parsley
  • Dried mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sunflower or Vegetable oil for frying


  • Grate the potatoes into a large bowl and add the juice of half a lemon. The grated potato should be fine, but not so fine that it turns to mush. Add the bread into this mixture to soak up the liquid.
  • Dice the onion and add to the mixture, add garlic if desired.
  • To the mixture add the mince and eggs, as well as the chopped fresh parsley, dried mint, a small amount of nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the baking powder.
  • Hand mix the meatball mixture to ensure it is combined, and leave overnight if possible
  • To cook, put enough oil in a pan to the depth of around 2-3 centimetres and place over a medium heat
  • Place the keftedes in the oil and cook for around 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through
  • Drain the Keftedes to remove the excess oil and serve hot

I did warn you, it’s not a very precise recipe but if you are part of a family with passed down cooking traditions, you will understand this well. The key process that is missing in many of the other recipes online is using the grated potatoes and also adding in bread to soak up that liquid, acting as a starch to hold the meatballs together, as well as the eggs.

Here’s what we started with:

And here is our finished product!

If you are looking for a bit more precision, here is a recipe online that is fairly similar to ours (credit: Mary Calombaris via SBS):

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Makes: 16


  • 250g coarsely minced pork
  • 250g coarsely minced beef
  • 1 Large brown onion, grated
  • 2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp roughly chopped mint
  • 2 tsp salt flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 potatoes, grated, excess liquid squeezed out
  • Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
  • Flat leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)


  • Place all the ingredients (except oil) in a bowl and mix together well
  • Leave to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then form tablespoons of the mixture into football shapes
  • Pour the vegetable oil into a frying pan to a depth of 2-3cm and place over medium heat
  • Add the Keftedes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden and cooked through
  • Remove and drain on paper towel, then serve hot with parsley (if using)

    Beer List

    Our resident beer expert has done research (and a whole lot of tasting) to come up with some of the must-try beers of the nation. For each nation there are three suggestions:

    • The National Treasure – this is a beer that is recognisable and accessible to buy
    • The Party Starter – this is a nicer alternative, but still fairly accessible to buy
    • The Show Stopper – this is for the beer enthusiasts or those with a sense of adventure, but may not be as easy to purchase outside of that nation


    The National Treasure – KEO Lager (Pale Lager – 4.5%)

    The Party Starter – Aphrodite’s Rock West Coast (American IPA – 6.0%)

    The Show Stopper – Hula Hops Cyprus Citrus IPA (American IPA – 6.0%)

    Listen to our Dare to Dream, Make a Meal playlist below: