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Asha's Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Recipe by: Asha Loupy 

Serves 4

Asha's Spiced Lamb Meatballs
Photo by:  

Asha Loupy

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 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved with the root still intact
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (you can also use extra virgin olive oil or neutral oil here)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Lamb Spice Mix (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 1/4 cup full-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
For the lemony peas:
  • 1 large spring onion, thinly sliced
  • Zest of one lemon (about 1–2 teaspoons)
  • Juice of one lemon (about 2–3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted in a bowl of hot water and drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, or other tender green herbs like parsley, cilantro or dill
For Lamb Spice Mix:



  1. Preheat the broiler, moving the rack to be about 6 inches from the flame. Drizzle the olive oil onto a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. To prepare the meatball mix, cut half of the onion into a small dice and set aside. Using the large side of a box grater, grate the remaining half of the onion and transfer the grated onion and any juices that have accumulated to a large bowl (alternatively, the onion can be very finely chopped). Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add two teaspoons of ghee to pan and continue to heat for 30 seconds. Add the reserved diced onion, a teaspoon of salt and sauté until the onion softens and turns a golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Move the cooked onions to one side of the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of ghee to the free side of the skillet. Add the lamb spice blend to the ghee and stir to combine, blooming the spices in the ghee, about 30 seconds. Remove the onions from the heat and add to the reserved raw onions.
  4. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, powdered chillies and greek yogurt to the onion mixture and stir to combine. Add the ground lamb, chopped, parsley, cilantro and mint and mix together with the spiced onions and yogurt mixture until the meat and herbs are fully incorporated.
  5. Roll the lamb mixture into 1-to-1 1/2-inch balls, depending on how big you want your meatballs (we like ours a touch smaller than a golf ball). Transfer the finished meatballs to your reserved oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining lamb mixture. When finished, roll the meatballs around on the sheet pan, so that they are lightly coated in olive oil, then arrange them on the pan about a 1/2-inch apart.
  6. Broil the meatballs until cooked through and golden brown on top, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.
  7. While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the lemony peas. In a medium bowl, mix the thinly sliced spring onion, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Let sit for 5 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.
  8. 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.

For Lamb Spice Mix

  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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