Beautifully spiced Moroccan Lamb Meatballs served with a Minted Yoghurt Sauce. Stuff ’em into pitas for a street food experience, pass them around at a party or pile them over pilaf!
Monday Meatball Mania is here! On the last Monday of every month, Jo from Jo Cooks and I each share a meatball recipe, because we both believe that ball shaped food rocks (fabulously high ratio of golden brown surface to juicy meat inside) and there should be more of it in this world. The rules are that there are no rules. We’ve both been relatively sensible with our meatballs thus far. One of us needs to lash out and push the boundaries…… (Go Jo, go!)
This month I’m sharing Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, inspired by a visit to the Lakemba Night Markets during Ramadan (26 May – 24 June 2017). Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims which involves intensive prayer and fasting from dawn to dusk. During this period, the main drag of Lakemba transforms at night with food stalls lining the pavements and is a popular place to enjoy iftar, a communal feast to break the fast.
If you love Middle Eastern food, you’ll be in street food heaven. A vibrant, lively mood, the smell of charcoal, the sizzle of BBQ’s, and the most amazing smell of spices that Middle Eastern food is so well known for wafts through the street. Totally worth driving 50 km / 30 miles for this aaaalll the way from the Northern Beaches!
Just to be clear, it’s over for this year. It’s only on during Ramadan. Remember it for next year. And I’ll remember my proper camera! 😂
One of the (ahem – many!) things I tried were meatballs stuffed into pita pockets. From memory, they were Egyptian (I swear I took photos with my phone but they have mysteriously disappeared!). It was fabulous. Fragrant, spiced, JUICY meatballs, fresh salad, a minted yoghurt sauce and what I really enjoyed was the fresh mint. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about Middle Eastern food – the use of mint to add freshness. 🙂
I do not know much about Egyptian cooking so I couldn’t really pick the spices in the meatballs. So I decided to recreate it using my Middle Eastern Lamb Koftas recipe.
These Moroccan Lamb Meatballs are made with……. err, I just said it. Lamb. 😂 However, they would be terrific made with beef, or even chicken or turkey. Probably with pork too.
But lamb is Middle Eastern through and through. So I do urge you to try this with lamb if you can!
Bake ’em or pan fry ’em. It will worth great either way because lamb, like beef, browns nicely in the oven. For chicken or turkey, spray liberally with oil if you want to bake them, otherwise you won’t get that gorgeous caramelisation. 🙂 – Nagi xx
PS You all know those aren’t my hands in the photo below. I had someone helping me on the day I shot these. She has gorgeous long, slim hands and I couldn’t resist borrowing them. 😂
- 1 lb / 500 g lamb mince (ground lamb) (Note 1)
- 1 small onion, grated (~1/2 cup, including juices)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, I use panko
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup coriander/cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
- 1 tsp EACH cumin, coriander, paprika (any, I like smoked)
- 1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon, cayenne pepper (add more for spicy)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup plain yoghurt (I use Greek)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (or 1 tbsp dried mint)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 flatbreads Lebanese or pita bread
- Shredded Red Cabbage, Carrot and Mint Salad OR lettuce leaves / tomato slices / finely sliced red onion
- More mint and coriander/cilantro optional for garnish
Mix Minted Yoghurt Sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside for 20 + minutes.
Place Meatball ingredients EXCEPT OIL in a bowl. Mix well.
Measure out 1 heaped tablespoon, then roll into balls. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning to brown all over, for 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to plate, then cook the remaining meatballs.
OVEN OPTION instead of stove: Preheat at 200C/390F. Spray with oil then bake for 20 minutes until browned. Sometimes I put them on a rack to keep them round (put the rack on a tray).
Cut pita pockets in half, warm for 10 seconds in the microwave, then pry it open. Stuff with Salad, then meatballs. Finish with Yoghurt Sauce and more fresh mint and coriander if desired.
1. This recipe is also terrific with beef, and very good with chicken and turkey. No recipe adjustments. If baking the chicken or turkey meatballs, spray VERY well with oil!
2. Suggested sides if you opt out of the pita pockets: The Shredded Red Cabbage, Carrot and Mint Salad is great as a side salad as well, this Middle Eastern chopped salad (skip the chickpeas), Israeli Couscous Salad, Pico de Gallo (I know it's Mexican but the flavours are terrific paired with Middle Eastern), just the rice in this baked Chicken & Rice recipe, Chargrilled Vegetables, Lemon Pilaf (fab pairing!), this Chickpea Rice Pilaf, Fattoush. Because the meatballs are heavily spiced, opt for sides with fresh flavours.
3. Nutrition for meatballs and yoghurt sauce, assuming all the sauce is consumed which it may not be. Also assumes no fat is drained off but I usually discard about 1 tbsp at the end of cooking so the calories will be lower than stated.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Moroccan Lamb Meatballs recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
All that mocking of the photo of him in his hoodie. I ask you – does he look unhappy? Humph! He looks perfectly comfortable to me! 😂 #MockingDozerIsFun