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Spiced Cumin Meatballs with Minted Yogurt


1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
80g (1 cup) fresh bread crumbs (from LOAF ciabatta or Turkish pide)
Large pinch dried chilli flakes
600g lamb mince
Olive oil, for cooking
Grilled Japanese eggplants, to serve (optional)

Minted yoghurt
375ml (11/2 cups) natural Greek yoghurt
Handful mint leaves, chopped


Serve these with bowls of feta chunks, olives, plenty of bread, some tomato and cucumber wedges and good, store-bought hummus as well as the yoghurt for a great, quick mezze spread or light meal. To grill the eggplants (which are entirely optional), simply cut them in half lengthwise, brush well with olive oil then cook on a char grill plate or over a barbecue for around 4 minutes on each side (medium-high heat).

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


Place the cumin seeds in a small, heavy-based frying pan over low heat then toast the seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Take care not to burn the seeds. Cool seeds then, in a mortar and using a pestle, coarsely crush the seeds. Combine the seeds, onion, garlic, crumbs, chilli flakes and lamb mince in the bowl of an electric stand mixer then, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 5 minutes or until well combined and a little elastic. Alternatively you can knead the mixture in a large bowl using your hands for 10-12 minutes or until elastic. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture at a time and form into round oval shapes. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs, in batches if necessary, for about 8 minutes and turning often, or until golden and cooked through. Meanwhile for the minted yoghurt, stir the yoghurt and mint together in a bowl, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the meatballs with grilled eggplant, if using, and the minted yoghurt passed separately.

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