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Meatballs with tomato and eggs (Tamarind & Saffron, Claudia Roden)

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ready in 1 hour and 30 mins


You will need a large shallow pan or pot that can go on the table.  In Morocco the cooking is finished in a shallow earthenware tagine, which goes on top of the fire (although we do not recommend placing our tagines over a direct heat source).


For the meatballs:
750g (1 1/2 lb) minced lamb or beef
1 onion finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper
a pinch of chilli powder to taste
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
sunflower oil for frying
For the tomato sauce:
2 onions chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
750g (1 1/2 lb) tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used tinned)
1-2 teaspoons of sugar
1 small fresh chilli pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons of chopped coriander
6 eggs


1. For the meatballs, mix all the ingredients together except the oil, and knead into a soft paste (I whizzed the onions, herbs and spices until chopped finely and then added the meat and gave it another quick whiz: it saved all the chopping finely).

2. Roll into marble-sized balls and fry them briefly in batches in shallow oil, shaking the pan to colour them all over.  Lift out with a slotted spoon.

3. In a large shallow pot, which you will bring to the table, prepare the sauce.  Fry the onions in the oil until soft.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, salt and chilli pepper and simmer for 20 minutes until reduced.

4. Add the parsley and coriander, put in the meatballs and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Break the eggs over the sauce and cook until the whites are set.  Serve with plenty of warm bread.

Serves 6 (easily reduced)

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