Lamb and Chickpea Balls with Coriander Yoghurt

We’ve made these little lamb and chickpea balls a few times now in our house and we really love them. I’m a big fan of meatballs and love experimenting with different ingredients. This lamb and chickpea combo sounded really interesting, especially with the lovely yoghurt sauce. They were really yummy wrapped up in some pita bread with fresh lettuce. The kids enjoyed them too, especially baby girl who preferred them cold for lunch the next day. The second time we made them hubby baked them in the oven, but I think they were juicier pan-fried.

The recipe is from the cookbook The Thrifty Kitchen, by Margaret Fulton’s daughter and granddaughter, Suzanne and Kate Gibbs. Hubby bought the mini version at the post office along with the other mini cookbooks in a recent promotion.

Lamb and Chickpea Balls

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of ground chilli (I didn’t add this)
400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
400g lamb mince
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves

Coriander Yoghurt

1 cup (280g) Greek-style or natural yoghurt
1 small cucumber, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until soft. Add cumin, coriander and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside.

Mash chickpeas with a potato masher or use a food processor if you like, then transfer to a large bowl. Combine chickpeas, onion mixture, mince and coriander in a large bowl. Season to taste. Roll level tablespoons into balls and, if you have time, set aside for at least 30 minutes to firm up and let the flavours develop (I really think this makes a difference when you are making meatballs).

Wipe out the frying pan with paper towel and heat remaining oil over a high heat. Cook meatballs in batches for 6 minutes each, tossing them frequently until browned all over and cooked through. Drain on paper towel.

Prepare the coriander yoghurt by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste. Serve with lamb and chickpea balls, or even better slather some yoghurt on a pita, add some meatballs and crispy lettuce, roll up and devour!

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