Monday, 14 March 2011

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Rick Stein is my favourite celebrity chef, among the many I enjoy watching and learning from. It is his genuine passion for fish, seafood and simple, natural ingredients (which I share) that I most admire. When I came across a video on YouTube today of him preparing Moroccan spiced meatballs, I knew it was something I had to try. I have changed the recipe slightly here but the principal difference is that I did not have access to a tagine, the traditional Moroccan cooking pot, so I simply used a deep frying pan with a lid. I was so happy with the results, I am definitely going to be adding a tagine to my kitchen appliances in the very near future! (See bottom of post for further details.)

Ingredients for Two People

1/2lb minced/ground beef
1 medium onion
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp paprika
2 eggs
Handful of fresh coriander leaves/cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Fresh bread for serving as an accompaniment


The first step is to prepare the meatballs. The onion should be peeled and finely chopped. Half of it only should be added to a bowl with the beef and half of the roughly chopped coriander. The cumin seeds should be lightly toasted in the dry frying pan before being ground in a pestle and mortar. Half the cumin should be added to the bowl, along with one teaspoon of the paprika. Season with salt and pepper.

The most effective way of mixing this combination is by hand. Be sure to mix it thoroughly and squeeze all the different ingredients and flavours together. The mixture should then be split in to six equal portions and rolled in to balls, approximately equivalent in size to golf balls. The vegetable oil should at this point be added to the frying pan, brought up to a medium heat and the meatballs browned all over. Remove the meatballs to a plate and set aside.

The remaining half of the chopped onion should be added to the frying pan, along with the remaining spices, the very finely chopped garlic clove and some salt and pepper. This mixture should be gently heated and stirred with a wooden spoon for two to three minutes. The chopped tomatoes should then be added and brought to a simmer.

The meatballs should at this stage be re-added to the pan to simmer for twenty minutes, turning them half way through. The meatballs should then be moved to the side of the pan. The eggs should be broken one at a time in to a small bowl and gently poured in to the pan, separate form each other. It is at this time the pan should be covered and left for four to five minutes for the eggs to poach in the sauce.

While the eggs are cooking, the bread should be sliced and placed on a serving plate.

When the eggs are cooked, the remaining coriander should be scattered over the dish and it may be transferred to plates for immediate service.

Tagines and Moroccan Cooking

As I said at the beginning of this post, I was so impressed with this dish that I am definitely going to purchase a tagine and prepare more Moroccan recipes. In this connection, I searched Amazon (where all the best bargains are to be had) as to what was available and found dozens of possible purchases. Below are some tagines and Moroccan cooking ideas from both and which, like me, you may wish to consider if you like the look and sound of Moroccan cuisine.


Moroccan Cooking


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This does look very good, and inspired too. Delicious!

  3. This is a fantastic dish and I refer to your recipie at least once a month. The family love it too. Thank you.

    1. Thank you. I'm glad you like it and grateful you let me know. I hope you continue to enjoy.