These unique meatballs are flavored with a robust, earthy seasoning blend and roasted the oven. I opted to use ground turkey in place of lamb since that's what I had on hand, and I added some finely diced red onion to the meatball mixture. I also added granulated garlic and reduced the amount of cayenne pepper in the spicy seasoning blend. While the meatballs roast in the oven, you have a pocket of time to make the delicious cooling yogurt sauce that accompanies them. These meatballs are super-spicy – even with a reduced amount of cayenne, so this sauce is a must to serve on the side in my opinion! I opted to serve the meatballs as a mezze plate for dinner…I served four meatballs on a plate, along with toasted pita triangles, the yogurt sauce, lettuce topped with feta and zatar seasoning, and some hummus.
Spicy Tandoori Meatballs & Cooling Yogurt Sauce
adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook
adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425. Make the spice blend by combining the following ingredients in a small bowl: 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, and ½ tsp. cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and set aside while you assemble the rest of the meatball ingredients.
Step 2: Make the meatballs by combining the following ingredients in a large bowl: 1 lb. ground turkey (preferably 85/15), 1 large egg, 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1/3 cup finely diced red onion, the juice of one small lemon, and the reserved spice mixture. Use clean hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Roll the mixture into golfball-sized meatballs, and place them nearly touching in an 8x8 pan. You should end up with about 18 meatballs. Roast the meatballs for approximately 20 minutes, until they are cooked through and browned.
Step 3: While the meatballs roast, make the yogurt sauce. Add the following ingredients to a small bowl: 1 container plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbs. finely diced purple onion, 1 tbs. finely chopped cilantro, 2 tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, and the zest of the lemon used in the meatball mixture. Whisk well to combine and put in the fridge while the meatballs roast. When the meatballs come out of the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Assemble the mezze plates. Place four meatballs on a plate. Then, add toasted pita triangles, some of the yogurt sauce, hummus, and lettuce topped with feta cheese and zatar seasoning around the plate. To eat, you can make little pita-meatball bites or eat the meatballs with a fork and enjoy the pita triangles with the dipping sauces. Just have fun with it!
We really enjoyed these Indian-inspired meatballs…the exotic spices were different from the seasonings that I use on a day-to-day basis, but that's part of the fun of cooking! But beware…even reducing the cayenne in half, these meatballs are still REALLY spicy!! If you don’t like super-spicy foods, I recommend further reducing the amount of cayenne to ¼ tsp. FYI…I’m not a huge cilantro fan, so I significantly reduced the amount I used in both the meatballs and the sauce. Feel free to add up to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro to the meatballs AND up to 1/4 cup to the yogurt sauce. I personally find that a little cilantro goes a long way and that too much can overpower…but I realize that some people really love the flavor and might want a stronger cilantro presence in this recipe. The next time you’re looking for something just a little different for dinner, I hope you’ll give these delicious meatballs a try. They’re simple enough to make on a weeknight, but fancy enough to serve to (adventurous) guests!
I just wanted to say a huge, "Thank you" to Wendy @ Wendy Weekend Gourmet for her guest post this week. I really enjoy reading her blog and I'm so glad I recently discovered it. The past couple of days have been difficult for me since I lost a dear, loved one. Wendy was kind enough to offer to write this post when I did not have it in me to write about food. Never underestimate the ability food has to bring people together.