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Asha's Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Peas & Spring Onions

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Serves 4

Asha's Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Peas & Spring Onions
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

The spice blend for these meatballs is kind of garam masala adjacent, but with more cumin (cumin loves lamb, y'all) and savory spices like fennel and fenugreek instead of sweeter ones like mace and nutmeg. The spice blend recipe makes about three times what you need for the meatballs, so you'll have extra on hand for all your seasoning whims. Sprinkle over lamb chops destined for the grill, use as a dry rub for chicken or try it as a seasoning for carrots before roasting and serve over plain yogurt with squeeze of lime.

Bonus: these meatballs are bound together with Greek yogurt instead of the more traditional egg and breadcrumbs, so both gluten-free and gluten lovers can enjoy them!

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For the meatballs
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and root still intact
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons meatball masala or 1½ tablespoons Garam Masala + 1½ teaspoons toasted ground Hariyali Fennel
  • 1½ teaspoons powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup full-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
For the lemony peas
  • 1 large spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups frozen peas, defrosted in a bowl of hot water and drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, or other tender green herbs like parsley, cilantro or dill

For the meatball masala



  1. Grate the onion and zucchini on the large side of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the parsley, cilantro, mint, meatball masala, Guntur Sannam chillies, and salt, and toss to combine. Add the ground lamb and yogurt and mix well. Take a small portion of the the lamb mixture and cook in a skillet or in the microwave. Taste and adjust salt or spices, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the broiler, moving the rack to be about 6 inches from the flame. Drizzle 1½ tablespoons olive oil onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Divide the meatball mixture into 18 portions. Wet your hands and, taking one portion at a time, roll into an oblong oval. Place the meatball on the reserved oiled sheet pan and repeat with the remaining lamb mixture. Brush the tops with the remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Broil the meatballs until cooked through and golden brown on top, 9 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.
  5. Meanwhile, start the spring onion and pea mixture. Zest 2 lemons into a medium bowl and then juice 1 lemon into the same bowl, reserving the second lemon for later. Add the spring onion and salt, toss to combine, and let sit for 10 minutes. (This will tame the sharpness of the onion, lightly quick-pickling it). When ready to serve add the peas, olive oil and herbs and toss to combine.
  6. To serve, spoon the lemony peas onto a large serving platter, then arrange the cooked meatballs on top. Finish with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and serve alongside.

For the meatball masala

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and peppercorns to the skillet and toast for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the spices (if you are using ground cinnamon, wait to add until the end after the spices are ground) and continue to cook until the cumin seeds start to sputter and the rest of the spices just start to turn golden.
  2. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and blend until coarsely ground. Alternatively, you can do this with a mortar and pestle (yes, getting that arm workout in!). If you are using ground cinnamon, add it after the spices are ground. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

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