Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lunch and dinner all wrapped up

This week, one of my friends asked me for party food suggestions for the birthday party he was hosting. I recommended a variety of finger foods, light meals and nibbles, one of which was meatballs. Most meat-eaters will have tried pork or beef meatballs but, for a variation on an old theme, I suggested he try these fried mutton meatballs to impress his guests.

Photo: PhyoPhoto: Phyo

While out shopping a few weeks ago, I came across pomegranate vinegar. Unlike apple cider vinegar, the pomegranate variety has a mildly sour taste but is not sweet. I had been planning to cook some red meat with it and this mutton recipe gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out.

I made this recipe for an evening meal but the meatballs can also be kept in the fridge after cooking and make great fillers for the little one’s lunch box – or the big one’s, of course.

Fried spiced mutton balls with pomegranate vinegar

6 servings

• 500g mutton mince

• 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

• 1 tablespoon cumin powder

• 1 small onion (diced)

• 2 large onions (sliced thinly)

• 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

• 2 cloves garlic (crushed)

• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

• 2 tablespoons pomegranate vinegar

• 1 tablespoon roasted pine nuts or ¼ cup salted roasted cashew nuts

• ½ teaspoon salt

Blot the mince with kitchen paper to absorb excess water from the meat. Mix the mince in a bowl with the garlic, diced onion, mustard seeds, rosemary and cumin powder to combine. Add salt to taste.

Roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls (approximately 3 centimetres in diameter) and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Add half of the vegetable oil to a wok and heat over a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough (dip the tip of a chopstick or spatula into the oil and, if it is ready, you will see bubbles form around it), fry the meatballs (in batches if necessary) until they are golden in colour. Transfer the meatballs onto a plate and set aside.

Leave around 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok and fry the sliced onions. When they start to turn golden in colour, add the meatballs to the wok along with the pomegranate vinegar. Next, add 2 tablespoons of water and cover the wok with a lid. Turn down the heat and simmer. When the water has evaporated (after about 4 minutes), turn the heat back up to medium. Add the roasted pine nuts or cashew nuts to the wok and stir well. Fry for 2 more minutes before serving.

Serve the meatballs with salad and couscous or in wraps for a quick lunchtime snack. Drizzle a chapatti with a generous amount of olive oil before sprinkling over zatar (Arabian spice mixture), hummus (chickpea paste) or tomato sauce. Layer over the meatballs along with salad leaves and sliced tomatoes and roll up into wraps.

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