Qifqi Recipe—Albanian Rice Balls

If you have a craving for something quirky and unusual, then you should try something called Qifqi from Albania. It’s like the Albanian version of kibbeh, but it’s totally different in taste and texture.

Qifqi has the shape of a meatball, but it is composed of rice and fresh herbs rather than meat. This article will show you a simple Qifqi recipe.

What Is Qifqi?

If you want to eat a traditional Albanian meal, Qifqi is the way to go! Qifqi originates in the city of Gjirokaster and is a vegan dish. 

Qifqis are crunchy rice balls usually coated with sesame seeds, jam or some other filling. Even though they’re round, they’re incredibly crunchythe first time I tried to eat one of these, I was shocked at just how hard it was to chew!

You will feel great after consuming a bowl of Qifqi despite its hardness because they are packed with nutrients and energy. 

Qifqi is an Albanian food that is cooked in a frying pan that is about the size of a bowl, with a diameter of about 20 cm and a height of about 56 cm. The bottom is coated with a thin layer of lead or an alloy (which makes it nonstick), and it is typically made from copper.

With horizontal handles on both sides, it can be carried easily from one place to another, serving as an outdoor food holder.

Albanian Qifqi

Qifqi Origin

The dish, which is non-meatball in nature, is found in the southern Albanian region of Gjirokastra and is characterized by its peppery and minty flavor. It’s one of the best Albanian recipes.

These Rice Balls, which are more often than not called “the Albanian risotto”, are characterized by their peppery and minty flavor. It also includes parsley, onions, some sort of beef, and rice.  Gjirokastra is home to the famous castle of southern Albania that was built in the 13 th century featuring Byzantine architecture.  The city of Gjirokastra itself was built by the Ottomans in the 18th century, making it one of the few cities in this country that both Byzantine and Ottoman cultures have influenced.

A local oven called “qiq” is used to prepare the dish. This traditional frying pan explicitly used to make Qifqi is an essential component, but it can be made with another pan if done correctly.

Qifqi Recipe

We will be using mint powder in this recipe, which will add to the slightly spicy, never chewy taste.

Using a different pan that can shape Qifqi correctly is a fine alternative if you don’t have a traditional pan at home.


  • 500 gr / 1 lb rice
  • 4 eggs
  • Mint powder (dried mint leaves)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil


Qifqi Recipe Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Rinse And Cook Rice

Prepare your rice by rinsing it in a strainer and bringing it to a boil in a small saucepan. One cup of rice and two cups of water may be combined in a 1:2 ratio.  

Let it simmer for 12 minutes. The recipe can also be made with leftover rice.

  • Mix Rice And Eggs 

The eggs should be beaten in a separate bowl. Toss in freshly ground black pepper and salt and mint powder. Then, combine it with the precooked rice and knead until it is solid.

  • Shape The Balls And Fry Them

Make small rounded balls with the mixture using a tablespoon. Fry them in heated 180°C olive oil on a pan with a socket-bottom intended for this recipe, which can be purchased at Gjirokastra.

Qifqi Recipe Serving Suggestions

You can serve these crispy fried treats with a generous amount of olive oil, djup djath, or toutli suzme. They go well with ajvar and salads.

Additionally, I recommend pairing Qifqi with dhallà, a yogurt-based drink made with yogurt, salt and water.

Looking for more recipes? Check these Balkan food guides:

  1. Burek recipe
  2. Palacinke recipe
  3. Balkan pita
  4. Ajvar recipe
  5. Dolma recipe
  6. Pljeskavica recipe
  7. Piftija Recipe
  8. Shopska salad recipe
  9. Krempita recipe
  10. Tavce gravce
  11. Struklji recipe
  12. Kifle recipe
  13. Moussaka recipe
  14. Tarator recipe
  15. Trilece recipe
  16. Kajmak recipe
  17. Banitsa recipe
  18. Sach recipe
  19. Sarma recipe
  20. rafioli recipe
  21. gyro recipe
  22. Krofne recipe
  23. Goulash Recipe
  24. Lokum Recipe
  25. Paprikash Recipe
  26. Punjene Paprike Recipe
  27. Cobanac Recipe

And our massive country guides:

  1. Traditional Croatian Food
  2. Serbian Food Guide
  3. Macedonian Food Guide

Finally, our curated Balkan food guides:

  1. Balkan Food Guide
  2. Balkan Meat Guide
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