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.
Moroccan Lamb Meatballs
The fragrance when these meatballs are cooking is outrageous! Based on these Lamb Koftas. The Minted Yoghurt is fabulous – pairs so well with the meatballs! Recipe VIDEO below. See notes for suggestions for sides – pictured in post stuffed in pita pockets.
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 tsp EACH cumin, coriander, paprika (any, I like smoked)
- 1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon, cayenne pepper (add more for spicy)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 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)
- 4 flatbreads (Lebanese or pita bread)