Meatballs soup with sour cream, Romanian recipe

The Romanian meatballs soup with sour cream (ciorba de periosare a la grec in its original) is one of my favorite soups ever. One needs to get used to the Romanian idea of “soup”: ciorba is not a cream soup but also not fully liquid. It needs to have lots of vegetables, meat and some rice or very thin pasta. Therefore, it can definitely be enough as a main dish 🙂

meatball soup with sour creamMeatballs soup with sour cream
Servings: 8 (0.67 eur/portion)
Preparation time: 40 min
Cooking time: 35 min
Total time: 1.15 hours
Difficulty: medium


For the meatballs

  • 500 g of minced beef (3.5 eur)
  • 2 egg whites(0.4 eur)
  • 40 g of rice (0.1 eur)
  • 30 g of butter (0.3 eur)
  • 1 onion (0.2 eur)
  • 250 ml of beef broth (from cubes)
  • parsley (I used 3 tbsp of frozen one) (0.2 eur)
  • 10 g of salt (seems a lot, but it is the correct amount)

For the soup

  • 3 celery sticks (0.2 eur)
  • 2 big carrots (0.1 eur)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green peppers (0.3 eur)
  • parsnip, celery root, parsley root (optional)
  • 3.4 tbsps of tomato sauce
  • 20 extra g of rice
  • 1 sour cream (1 eur)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • extra beef broth enough to almost fill your pot
  • lovage on the top
  • salt and pepper


  1. For preparing the meat, it is important to cook the rice half way. The reason is that it will not absorb the water from the meat, but rather keep it moist and soft. Melt 30 g of butter and add one cut onion until it is golden. Add the 40 g of washed rice and the 250 ml of broth and let it cook until the rice is cooked half way.
  2. Add in the meat 2 egg whites, 3 tbsp of parsley, 10 g of salt and the chilled half-cooked rice. Do not worry if there is more liquid in the rice, pour it in as is.
  3. Mix it well until it forms a smooth paste. Even though it might seem too soft, the salt in the meat will make the meat protein sticky and the meatballs will hold together.
  4. Form the meat balls. I had around 32.
  5. Cut the vegetables for the soup: celery, carrot, pepper and onion. If you have parsnip or parsley and celery root, you can add that in as well. It will make it even more flavorful.
  6. Bring the beef broth to a boil and add in the vegetables.
  7. When the pot boils again, add the meatballs one by one too. Do not bother them for 3-5 min.
  8. After 5 min add the extra 20 g of rice that will give it more consistency.
  9. Start gathering the foam.
  10. Let the meatballs simmer on medium fire for 20 min.
  11. At this point add the tomato sauce, too. If you want it more sour you can add a bit of lemon or bran.
  12. Mix the two remaining egg yolks with the sour cream, add in the mixture some hot soup so that you bring it to the same temperature and pour it in the soup slowly.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste, pour in some fresh or dry lovage and it it ready to be served.

This is a great sour and smooth soup, with enough protein that can be considered as a main meal. It is traditionally served with chili pepper and bread and more sour cream, if needed. Enjoy the Romanian meatballs soup with sour cream!

If you would like more ideas from the Romanian cuisine, you can check my category here.