African Spiced Meatballs with Cilantro Chutney and Tamarind Dip

African spiced bison meatballs with cilantro chutney and tamarind dip

Well, we made it through the holiday! High five to us.

How’d everything shake down for you?

Despite getting off to a rocky start, the last two days were full of lots of good cheer. As my Christmas present to both Mom and to myself, I got us tickets to see Beautiful, the show behind the life and music of Carole King for Christmas Eve.* I figured she’d love it because Carole King wrote the music of her generation and the show featured hits from The Shirelles, The Drifters, The Righteous Brothers- all the good ones, and I realized midway through that my “The Greatest” playlist boasted more than one song from the show’s soundtrack. We both loved it, though with a twinge of sadness mom confessed that it reminded her so much of my father since that was the soundtrack to their love story. Still, we were singing “I Feel the Earth Move” as we moseyed through Macy’s waiting for the rest of the clowns to arrive before dinner. Afterwards we had a bit of a mini Harry Potter marathon since Mom just finished reading The Prisoner of Azkaban and wanted to watch the movie, and that then led to The Goblet of Fire. To avoid too many spoilers, we stopped there.

Speaking of dinner, I have to shout out to Maple and Ash for the wonderful meal on  Saturday Wednesday night. It might be my new favorite.

Christmas was lower key as we just hung around the house and made ourselves a bit of a Latin American/Spanish themed feast of arroz con pollo, roasted shrimp and squid salad and baked goat cheese. After we brushed up on some history while playing Chronology, we finished the night by watching all the Christmas episodes from Friends and The West Wing. So many oldies but goodies.

As now I sit with all of my company gone, I’m admittedly sad that the holidays are over. It took me longer than is appropriate to get into the spirt, and now I have to wait another 363 days for it all to really start again. I guess it’s time to get excited about New Year’s.

*Christmas Eve is my most favorite day of the year. It’s both an Eve and a Day! It’s a Christmas miracle!

I’m actually heading to Costa Rica with Apple Crisp later this week for four days of R&R, but I realize that despite all of the food of the past few days, still we must eat moving forward. As such, I’ve thrown together dish that would suit any NYE party perfectly as an appetizer: mini African spiced bison meatballs with a cilantro chutney and tamarind dip.

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Inspired by one of the many delicious courses we ate at Sanaa at Disney a few weeks ago, these bison meatballs boast both the flavors of Africa (borrowed from the amazingly delicious short ribs of yore) and India. I used bison because I had some in the freezer, but I think these would be even more spectacular if made with ground lamb. So you really should go that route. If neither bison nor lamb are your thing, beef will also do just as well.

Other ideas for this: meatball sandwich on a pita with all the sauces; meatloafed with smashed sweet potatoes; hamburgered with a pretzel bun.

Just thinking out loud in my head.

African spiced bison meatballs with cilantro chutney and tamarind dip
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African spiced baked meatballs with Indian cilantro chutney and tamarind dip
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the meatballs
  1. ¾ pound ground beef/lamb/bison
  2. 5 TB panko breadcrumbs
  3. 2 TB cilantro, finely chopped
  4. 2 TB olive oil
  5. 2 egg yolks
  6. 1 clove garlic
  7. 1 lemon, juiced
  8. 2 tsp turmeric
  9. 2 tsp coriander
  10. 4 tsp smoked paprika
  11. 4 tsp cumin powder
  12. 1 tsp salt
  13. 1 tsp coarse ground pepper
For the tamarind dip
  1. 2 TB tamarind concentrate
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 2 tsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp cumin
  5. ½ tsp ground fennel
  6. 2 tsp fresh, grated ginger
  7. ½ lemon, juiced (about 2 TB)
  8. ¼ tsp chili powder
  9. Water, for consistency, about 3 TB
For the cilantro chutney
  1. 1 cup fresh mint
  2. 6 scallions, ends removed
  3. 1 green chili, seeds removed
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp granulated sugar
  7. 1 tsp garam masala
  8. 1/3 cup lemon juice
  9. 2 TB water
First, make the meatballs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a broiler pan with foil and set aside.
  2. Make the meatballs by placing the meat in a large bowl and make a well in the center. To the well, add the eggs, and the rest of the spices and ingredients. Using your hands, mix everything together until all is thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Scoop the meat in 2 TB amounts (I used a cookie scoop) and roll into balls. Place on the broiling sheet until all the meat has been used up. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through, careful to not dry them out.
  4. While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauces: To make the tamarind dip, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough water to give the sauce the consistency you desire.
  5. To make the cilantro chutney, add all the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Place the meatballs on a serving tray, and serve with the dips.
Adapted from The Complete Asian Cookbook
Adapted from The Complete Asian Cookbook
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/
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Written after Mom left.

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4 Comments

  1. Many moons ago my parents hosted a Boxing Day drop in for all their friends who were sick of turkey and sick of being on their best behaviour while being forced to wear real pants; there were mimosas, chili, and a huge pot of meatballs. Always beef with the chili sauce/grape jelly sauce. Shouldn’t work but it so does.

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