What is it about food you have to use your hands for? Food that involves you putting it together, starting with a carb like wraps, tortillas, rice paper, pita or naan, then building a vessel of goodness.
My kids can’t get enough of it. I think it makes them feel some control over what they’re eating, even if I’ve made it.
I’ve had this hankering for weeks for middle eastern flavours – tahini, spices, pita – I think the need for freshness after weeks of alcohol, cream and ham.
There are components to this. I’m not sure it warrants a weeknight dinner option, except if you have willing kitchenhands, as I now do, someone can be making the yoghurt, someone the tomato and cucumber salad and someone prepping the chickpeas while you make the meatballs.
Many hands, light work, you know the drill.
I’ve given you the full gamut of spices I used tonight, but really, you could easily just run with cumin and coriander if your spice cupboard is not prolific.
The yoghurt tahini number was a complete revelation – straight from Smitten Kitchen I wouldn’t change a thing.
The chickpeas were inspired by her as well, but I ended up cooking them a little differently. When it came to putting them in the oven, I dumped them in the baking tray I’d cooked the lamb in, so it had meaty residue and juices. Not great if you’re a veggo but delicious otherwise and also – less washing up.
I served it all with a simple tomato and cucumber salad – diced quite small with a little red onion and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- 1kg lamb mince
- 1tsp salt
- ½tsp ground cinnamon
- ½tsp ground allspice
- ½tsp ground coriander
- ¼tsp coarse cracked pepper
- ¼tsp ground cumin
- ¼tsp cayenne
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- Mix everything together thoroughly
- Roll into smallish balls, or really whatever size you want. I made them roughly walnut size and got 40 meatballs.
- Cook them however you want - on the bbq for about 8 minutes, in the oven at 200C for about 10-15mins (although i did this and they kinda went watering and weird not crispy and golden as I'd hoped), or in a frypan, which probably would have been the correct option for the result I wanted.
Yoghurt tahini dressing
- 6tbsp tahini
- 4tbsp water
- juice of 1 lemon
- crushed garlic clove
- 1 cup natural yoghurt
- pinch of salt
- Mix everything together until nice and smooth.
Spiced roasted chickpeas
- Olive oil
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2tsp ground cumin
- 2tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- zest from half a lemon
- 4 cans of chickpeas (I did two chickpeas and two butter beans because that's what I had), liquid kept from one tin, the rest drained
- (I don't add any salt because of the salt in the water from the tin, but feel free)
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Saute the onions in the oil until softened
- Add the garlic, cook for a couple more minutes
- Add the spices and zest and cook for another minute
- Add the chickpeas and liquid from one of the tins
- Pour it into a baking tray, and roast for 30 minutes, giving it a stir/toss every so often (you really could forget about it and it would be fine)