I had these fusion kofta things with pine nuts and raisins in them at a cafe the other day. I didn’t think the spices were quite right, but I loved the textures and I left determined to make something similar. This is what I came up with the other night, and I was very happy with them.
Lisa’s pseudo Moroccan lamb meatballs
400g mince lamb
Third of a cup of breadcrumbs (fresh is best)
Quarter of a cup of pine nuts, grilled until coloured (5-10 minutes) and cooled
Quarter of a cup of raisins
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp dried mint*
2 tsp dried thyme*
2 tsp dried oregano*
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
Big pinch of salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
Mix everything together in a big bowl and then shape into meatballs. It should make about 12 golfball-sized ones, but go ahead and make them bigger or smaller — just remember if you want smaller, you’ll likely need to chop up the pine nuts or they’ll affect the meatballs’ “structural integrity”.
Pop them in the fridge for at least half an hour to let the flavours develop a bit, then shallow fry.
* A note on the herbs: Go ahead and use fresh herbs if you like, but use double the amount and make sure to chop them finely, or they can make the meatballs unravel during cooking.
If you’re going to use dried herbs, always use the best, freshest ones you can get (no old, mange-y, colourless dust from the back of the cupboard. Throw that shit away).
Use whatever type of mint you have (well, maybe not chocolate mint); I used lemon mint but common mint would have been good too. Also, I secretly used Italian spicy thyme rather than the oregano and thyme, as it kind of has a flavour halfway between them both — but it’s not exactly broadly available, so I didn’t include it in the ingredient list. It does, however, grow better in my garden than either of those herbs.