Greek,Indian and Moroccan Meatballs

     Happy Birthday to me!! Yesterday was my birthday. Had a very nice day, supper with my son who is still at home and his girlfriend. My mom made supper and my son baked the cake. We had meatloaf - just hamburger seasoned with LOTS of garlic and onions and a bit of tomato juice and baked. Also had mashed potatoes and corn. Simple, plain eats, but comfort food! Desert was a spice cake with cream cheese icing and strawberries.
     BUT...my son had a wreck that pretty much totaled our car. I had not planned on another car payment just yet. At least no one was hurt - he and the other driver were both alone. Our car was T-boned and sheared off a street sign.Right front passenger wheel is now bent into the car at about a 45 degree angle. Happened at the end of our block - and the other guy is our neighbor!
     On a lighter note, tomorrow the lab is having out Christmas pot-luck. I was assigned to bring "something exotic". So it was decided a selection of meatballs would best fit our menu. They will be a quick bite-size snack throughout the day. I have decided on 3 recipes - a Greek meatball with a cucumber sauce, a Moroccan kofte with a tomato-raisin tagine, and a Kofta Masala recipe. I print them here and hope you enjoy them.

                                                Kofta ( Indian  Meatball)

**For the koftas
2 slices white bread
2/3c milk
1# hamburger - not real lean
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh chili, seeded and finely chopped - or a bit of dried chili to taste
2tsp ground coriander
1tsp dried mint leaves - or 1T fresh
1T salt - this is not a misprint, I cut back and found them needing salt.

Soak the bread in the milk briefly, then squeeze out the moisture. In a large bowl, put all ingredients for kofta. Mix very well with your hands - more than would normally be done for Italian meatballs. A food processor can be used instead, if you prefer.

Divide into 24 pieces, about the size of a walnut. Roll into a ball and fry until just done. Their cooking will be completed in the sauce.

**For the sauce:

3T oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2tsp ginger paste- or very finely chopped ginger
2tsp garlic paste - or very finely chopped garlic
1T ground coriander
11/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp tumeric
1/4tsp chili powder - NOT spice for chilli - you want a dried and ground chili. I use New Mexico chili.
1 small can of tomatoes - or fresh - or frozen, as I use in winter.
2/3c water
1/2tsp salt, or to taste
1 black cardamom pod, split open and seeds removed.
4 whole cloves
1 2"  cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves, crumpled
2T yogurt
2T ground almonds

Heat oil in large pan - medium heat - and fry the onions until just soft. Stir often. Add the garlic and ginger and fry 1 minute. Add corinader, cumin, tumeric, chili and stir.


Add tomatoes. Here I need to explain something. In the summer, I do not can my extra tomatoes - I freeze them! I do not wash them (but I keep my tomatoes of the ground, so they are not filthy. I bring them in and put them in freezer bag, removing what I need to cook with. )

  After a fer minutes, rinse under warm water and skins slip off

skins off and ready to chop

Chopped and ready to use. Sorry pic is dark.

Add water, salt, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves.Bring to a boil, turn to med-lo, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
If you are unfamiliar with cardamom pods, see picture below. There are 2 kinds of pods- green and black. The black is a larger pod as you can see. To remove seeds, crush lightly and separate seeds from shell.

I really need to learn to take better pictures!

Whisk yogurt GENTLY with fork and add ground almonds. Almonds can be ground to a fine powder or you may be able to find almond meal in a well stocked natural foods store.

When almonds are added, stir again GENTLY. Stir mixture GENTLY into the sauce and simmer another 10 minutes. Do not let sauce boil!!

Serve meatballs with a little sauce. We are eating these just like this, though they would be best with fresh naan (Indian bread) or a cardamom scented rice.

                                              Moroccan Meatballs with Raisin Tagine (sauce)

**For meatballs (kofte)

1# ground lamb. I didn't have lamb today, so I used 1/2# ground beef and 1/2# ground UNSEASONED pork.
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/3tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger powder
1/2tsp pepper
1tsp salt
1 egg
2slices white bread moistened with milk
oil for frying

Mix all ingredients for meatballs and mix well by hand. Roll into 24 meatballs and fry, turning over, until done.

**For tagine (sauce)
4 white onions- med- chopped fine
1/2tsp salt
1 cinnamon stock
1/2 tsp cumin
1c finely chopped tomatoes with their juice or 1c tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar

Cook onions in oil until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 15 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer another 15 minutes. Add a little water if sauce gets too thick. Serve with bread.

                                             Greek Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

** Meatballs

3 slices white bread moistened with milk
11/2# ground beef, lamb, or combo beef and pork
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1T dried oregano
1tsp dried mint
11/2tsp white vinegar
2 eggs
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper

Make meatballs as in other recipes. Cook, and drain on paper towels.

** For sauce

2c plain yogurt, drained slightly
1c seeded and diced cucumber
3cloves garlic, minced - can use instead: 1/4-1/2tsp garlic powder
salt to taste.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to stand 1/2 hours to blend flavors.

Please let me know what you think of there recipes. They are composites of several very similar recipes available on the web and in ethnic cookbooks.