Spicy meatballs

Wendy Sykes way of turning minced beef into delicious meatballs served in a coconut-based, spicy tomato sauce is comfort food at its best
Spicy meatballs
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 20 minutes draining
  • Effort: easy


For the meatballs

  • 2 large onions, one chopped, one thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 450 g minced beef
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 small piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 85 g coconut cream, from block

For the rice

  • 450 g basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 125 g peas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 large button mushrooms
  • 425 ml boling water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, or chicken stock cube


1. For the meatballs: place the chopped onion, four cloves of the garlic, chilli and salt into a food processor and blend to a rough paste. Mix together with the beef mince in a large bowl. Roll the beef mixture into meatballs, then set aside.

2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions, remaining garlic and the ginger over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in spices and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.

3. Add the meatballs to the pan and pour in enough boiling water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring in the coconut cream after one hour.

4. For the rice: wash the rice thoroughly and leave in a colander for 15-20 minutes to drain completely.

5. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown, then stir in the garam masala, mushrooms and garlic and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

6. Stir in the rice, then add the water and peas. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed completely. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit in the pan, covered, for a further 2-3 minutes.

7. To serve, spoon the rice into shallow serving bowls and ladle over the meatballs and sauce.

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