Spicy Tunisian lamb balls with zucchini fritters


Kefta Ghan’ Mi Bel’ – Tunisian spicy lamb balls – with zucchini fritters

My wife made this some time ago – it’s adapted from a Mediterranean cookbook which includes dishes like this from North Africa. She served it with a creamy yogurt sauce and zucchini fritters and a sauce that included her homemade Tunisian harissa sauce (good recipe here). It was an excursion into gustatory paradise. It takes some prep, but it’s worth it. This recipe serves two, so adjust it if you’re having guests or cooking for the family.

You’ll need:
  • 1 lb. ground lamb, or other cut of lamb you’ve minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • (optional: 1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
and for the sauce –
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (about 6-7 ozs.)
  • 1 tsp. harissa (see above, or, use a spicy tomato-based paste of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Put the lamb, onion, garlic and spices (everything from the first list) in a bowl and mix well. Now roll the mixture into balls – 1″ – 1 1/2″, put the balls on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until nicely brown.

Make the sauce: heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes or until well-softened. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika and cook for another 1 minute. Now stir in the diced tomatoes and harissa and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Finally, add the baked meatballs into the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. You can season with salt, black pepper, and more cayenne if you wish.

I suppose it’s not necessary to offer recipes for the yogurt sauce or fritters – they’re pretty simple and also popular around here.


Note: my previous post on my experience at Maine’s Democratic State Convention in Lewiston seemed, after some deliberation, inappropriate to this blog, which is usually about food, travel experiences, humor and thought pieces. Without encouragement from the BDN, I opted to delete the post. It was entirely at my own initiative. But the text of the piece remains available to the public on my Facebook page.


There you have it.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.