Indian Spiced Meatballs in Chickpea Tomato Sauce

This is a recipe from Jamie Oliver's "15 Minute Meals". I actually didn't really like Jamie Oliver's recipes as they use so much meet and I do love my veggies, but I have started watching his TV Show "15 Minute Meals" and there were more and more dishes that just looked amazing! So... I bought his book :)

I made these meatballs for my Mom when I visited her. She loves meat but she doesn't like to experience too much. She does not usually eat minced lamb as it is too chewy for her, so it needed some convincing from my side. I actually also don't eat lamb, but minced and spiced lamb is something entirely different for me. Especially Indian spiced minced lamb just tastes delicious (like they serve at the Mirchi). So, finally my Mom agreed to try lamb, but what happened then? The small town where she lives in does not have something so fancy as minced lamb and they did not want to grind lamb as they wouldn't be able to use the grinder for beef afterwards... So, long story short, we stuck with our ground beef meatballs :) But don't get discouraged, I am sure it would taste delicious with minced lamb as well!

We tried to eat it with tortillas like Jamie Oliver suggested and that was indeed tasty, but putting all that into the tortilla and eating it was a little bit of a mess. We ate the leftovers with rice and that turned out pretty nice as well :) I made a few minor changes to the recipe, I left out the safran as it was too expansive and I used some more herbs.


  • Olive oil
  • 300 g minced lamb or ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 red chili - sliced
  • 2 spring onions - sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped corriander
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 300 ml chunky tomato sauce
  • Salt, pepper to taste 
  • Optional: herbs de province

  • 1/2 cucumber - cubes
  • 1 gem lettuces - chopped
  • 4-5 radishes - cubes
  • 1 tomatoe - big diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon 

Harissa Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt or sour cream

Serve with:
  • Tortillas or basmati rice


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. In a bowl, mix the minced lamb or ground beef with the garam masala. Divide into 3 pieces. Roll 4 balls with wet hands out of each piece. Place each ball in the oil. Let try for 5-10 minutes and toss regularly till meat balls are nicely browned on each side.
  2. In a large pot, add the olive oil, chili, the spring onions, and the coriander. Heat up. Add the minced garlic. Fry for 1 minute. Then add the bay leaves, drained chickpeas and the tomato sauce. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, you can also use some more herbs (herbs de provence). Cover the pot, bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt and roughly fold in the harissa. Mix the salad and the veggetables on a big cutting board. Sprinkle with olive oil and the juice of the lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Pour the tomato-chickpea sauce into the pan with the meatballs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with warm tortillas or rice.

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