Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Indian Baked Meatballs with Buttery Rice Pilaf and Spinach Raita

Indian Baked Meatballs with Buttery Rice Pilaf and Spinach Raita
Home Cooking

I'm about a month overdue for a cooking post. Work has made me too lazy to cook... but wait, that's not really a valid excuse since it was mostly Byron's cooking that got blogged anyway. I think we've just had a streak of excessive dining out mixed with boiling instant noodles at home.

Well in this instance, I actually did do the cooking. After a couple of days perusing through various cookbooks, I settled with baked meatballs from Bill Granger's 'Feed Me Now' because he included recipes for accompaniments.

Indian Baked Meatballs

Serves 3-4


For the meatballs
  • 500g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 small onion
  • 55g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 red chillies, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
For the tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (I accidently misread this and only used 1)
  • 1 tsp sugar
For the rice pilaf
  • 1 tbsp mild-flavored oil (I used canola)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 10g currants
  • 1 tbsp chopped toasted almonds/cashews (I used almonds)
For the spinach raita
  • 250g spinach, shredded
  • 500ml natural yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper

To make the meatballs...
1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celcius.
2. Combine the mince, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, coriander, egg, cumin, paprika, chili and plenty of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands.3. Wet hands and shape the mixture into small balls.4. Toss gently in olive oil and place in a roasting tin.5. Bake for 10-15min.

To make the tomato sauce...
1. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5min, until translucent.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and turmeric. Cook for 2min or until fragrant.3. Add the lime, chopped tomato, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook whilst stirring frequently for about 10min.
4. When the meatballs are done, add to the sauce and simmer for 10min (I didn't see this step and just poured the sauce on top of my meatballs).

To make the rice...
1. Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter, then onion and salt.
2. Cook for 5-10min, until the onion is lightly coloured.3. Add the rice and stir for 1min.4. Pour in 500ml of boiling water. Add the currants and bring to the boil, stirring.
5. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10min.
6. Turn off the heat and leave the pilaf to stand, covered for 10min. Serve scarred with chopped nuts.

To make the spinach raita...
1. Blanch the spinach in hot water and drain thoroughly.
2. Whisk the yogurt together with garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl until smooth.
3. Add the spinach and stir to combine.4. Refrigerate until required.

I was a bit frantic throughout the cooking affair because my skills are rusty so mostly I had pots and pans and herbs flying in all directions. Amazingly, things turned out alright in the end although my sauce dried out a tad (aided by the fact that I left out 1 can of tomato and also didn't simmer my meatballs in it) and I attempted to make mint sambal without mint (I didn't even bother including my sambal in this post).

The meatballs were hearty and moreish. My favorite part was the rice pilaf which turned out fluffy, flavored and separated. It went really well with the meatballs. I thought the yogurt complimented the meal really well too.

We had a few boxes packed as left overs but they didn't last very long at all. Byron had one box straight away before it even made it to the fridge. I polished off a box the next day and he did likewise. The left overs were very yummy.

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