Friday 30 April 2010

April 2009 - Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce

I am not even going to faff about with what I could have made from issue #81 because while there were a couple of possibilities nothing interested me as much as the recipe that I ended up making. Bill Granger's Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce caught my eye and I decided that I must try it.

I have tamarind in my pantry although it doesn't get used very often. I have loved everything that I have had it in though and this was no exception. The meatballs being baked were great. I didn't have to worry about accidentally breaking them when turning like I have a habit of doing when I fry them in the pan. I think next time I make this, and there will be a next time rather soon I think, I will put them on baking paper in a tray so that I can use less oil. The meatballs could have had a bit more zing although that is all dependent on what type of chilli you use. I didn't have any fresh chilli so I used a small amount of sambal oelek, I will know for next time that more is needed.

The sauce for the meatballs had just the right amount of sweet and sour. I did add a little bit too much tamarind so the colour was a bit darker than the picture of Bill's and I needed to adjust the sugar slightly. I think next time I will use palm sugar instead of regular and use a splash of fish sauce instead of the salt.

Bill suggested serving this wonderful dish with a currant & cashew pilaf, english spinach raita and mint sambal. I, unfortunately just didn't have time to make it all so I served it with some plain rice. I stirred in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves to the sauce and topped with a dollop of natural yoghurt. It was a very enjoyable meal and one that will definitely be added to the often made list.

Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce

Serves 4


500g minced beef or lamb (I used beef)
1 small onion, grated (I just chopped very finely)
55g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish (I used all parsley)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red chilli, seeded, finely chopped (I used a bit of sambal oelek)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Tomato and tamarind sauce

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced (I sliced in half and the slice half-rounds)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 x 425g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tamarind pulp (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 220C.
  • Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands, then shape into small balls.
  • Toss the meatballs gently in the oil in a roasting tin and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for the tomato and tamarind sauce.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium to low heat.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and turmeric and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Then add the tomatoes, tamarind, sugar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the meatballs into a frying pan with the sauce and stir carefully until the meatballs are coated in sauce then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with rice, raita and any other Indian condiments you may have.

Tomato & Tamarind Meatballs

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