Moroccan Meatball with Quinoa

Moroccan Meatballs with Quinoa

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Serves 4

We went to Marrakech once , and the food, the market, the people, the smell…….was so enchanting like nothing else I had ever seen before. I fell in love instantly with the sweet and savoury cuisine.

I have been making these meatballs ever since. I make a lot of other Moroccan dishes too but this one is by far the quickest and easiest.

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Ingredients;

1 lb. lean ground lamb or beef

1 onion peeled and chopped fine

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1 tsp. himalayan salt or regular

ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

1/4 C. (home made ) dried breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp.  Ras el Hanout , see Ras el Hanout. for spice mix recipe

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground dried ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander plus 1 tbsp. for serving

3 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan). Reserve one tablespoon to sprinkle over before serving.

4 dried apricots chopped

For the sauce;

1 tbsp. tomato puree

1  14 oz. can chopped tomatoes, or 5 to 6 fresh ones chopped

1 tsp. beef stock powder

1 tbsp. honey

3  tbsp. orange juice plus 5 tbsp water to make 1/2 cup in total

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Method;

In a large frying pan add 1 tbsp. of  the oil and cook the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minutes on medium low heat until slightly beginning to turn golden. Add all the spices and remove from the heat to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat the onion and spice mix, the breadcrumbs, egg yolk, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped coriander and apricots. Mix with your hands and form into golf ball sized meatballs.

Wipe your frying pan and add the remaining oil. Set heat on medium high. Fry all the meatballs until nicely browned all over and remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.

Once you have cooked all the meatballs. Start making the sauce in the same frying pan with the remaining oil in it and add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, add the meatball back to the pan and simmer with the lid half on the pan, for about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile make the Quinoa.

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For the Quinoa;

1 cup (dry) quinoa

2 c. chicken or beef stock

2 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan)

1 c. chickpeas drained

6 dates, stone removed and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tsp. garlic powder

ground pepper

2 tbsp. chopped coriander

Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. This is to remove the saponins that taste very bitter.

Did you know that saponins are for protection against insects?

Put quinoa to a medium saucepan. Add the stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the dates, carrot, garlic powder, chickpeas and pepper. Just before serving add the coriander and the pistachios.

Note: some quinoa only takes ten minutes to cook, so check the package instructions!!!

To serve place the quinoa on one side of a large platter, the meatballs and sauce on the other side. Sprinkle with more pistachios and chopped coriander.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these  Meat Balls ?

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Quinoa Tabbouléh with Chickpeas and Pomegranite Seeds

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Serves 4 as a side

Quinoa is such a versatile grain, I love it! It’s cooked in minutes and basically you can do anything you like with it once it’s cooked. Plus point; it freezes really well too. Just put it in a zip lock bag in the freezer and scoop out what you need.

During the Summer, when it’s too warm to eat hot dishes I like making salads like these, where there is some sort of grain involved and you have your veggies and carbs in one dish.

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Tabbouleh is a middle eastern dish usually made with Bulgur, a kind of dried cracked wheat, but I like to use Quinoa instead since it has a lot more protein, less carbs and more fibre. Also it’s Gluten free.  Quinoa to me is a super grain, the seeds grow on large feather like branches and can be black, red or white. In Inca quinoa means “mother grain”, and I can see why.

However when you cook Quinoa it is very important that you rinse the seeds very well before cooking since they are covered in saponin, a bitter substance that works like a natural insect repellant for the plant.

Ingredients;

1 1/2 C. Quinoa

3 C. Stock, vegetable or chicken

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1/2 C. Pomegranite seeds

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup good olive oil

Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1  cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced

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Method;

Cook the Quinoa according to package instructions or;

Wash the Quinoa thoroughly and put in a pan, add the stock. Bring to a gently boil and cook with the lid on the pan for about 10 – 12 minutes , taste and check  to see if the Quinoa is done.

Place the Quinoa in a large bowl and let it cool before adding the chickpeas, pom seeds, scallions, cucumber, herbs, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss and serve either cooled or at room temperature. Great with grilled meats!

Enjoy

Myra Xo

Looking for more great recipes to try?  Be sure to check out this Watermelon Salad

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Rice Paper Rolls with peanut dipping sauce

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Rice paper rolls are really easy to make, they may look a bit intimidating, but the trick is not to soak them too long. Let the rice paper soften without going soggy, they tear apart easily. The vegetable filling is also moist and will give the roll enough pliability once you’re rolling them up. They keep a day in the fridge but really are best when eaten the same day. They are really great for lunch or a summer dinner when it is too hot outside to cook. You can make them in the morning and keep them in the fridge for when you are ready to eat them. I added the beet root which may be a bit unconventional, for the sweetness it gives the rolls and of course the beautiful color.

Serves: 3-4
Ingredients for the rice rolls:
    • 10 rice papers or more
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut in to strips
    • ½ cup sprouts
    • 2 carrots cut to thin strips
    • some Coriander leafs
    • 1 avocado, peeled and cut in to strips
  • 1 beet root, peeled and grated fine
Ingredients for the peanut sauce:
    • 1/4 C. peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek or Sriracha sauce, or more if you can take it
  • 3/4 – 1 C. coconut milk
Method:
For the peanut sauce, just mix all the ingredients. You can serve it as is, or heat it up a little bit. It will thicken however.
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For the rice rolls, arrange all the ingredients for the stuffing and prepare to make the rolls. Take a shallow bowl with warm water.
Soak the rice paper sheets for about 15 seconds and let it get pliable. Carefully take it out and lay it on a moist kitchen towel (I put them on a plastic cutting board, but then you have to work quit fast), and stuff all the vegetables. Top with Quinoa and roll  tightly. Make sure not to over stuff it. Roll like you would a traditional spring roll or a wrap.After you roll it, put them on a plate that has been rubbed with a little bit of vegetable oil. Cover them loosely  with a wet paper towel or kitchen towel. Cut them in half when you are ready to eat. Serve them with the peanut sauce. If you are going to keep them in the fridge all day until evening , cover them with cling film which has been sprayed with cooking oil.
Enjoy!
Myra Xo