Spicy Middle Eastern Meatballs with Mast-o-Khia (Persian yoghurt and cucumber dipping sauce)


These were some of the first things I made for a  party we had the other night - I knew I had to get organised and these lamb meatballs freeze really well, then reheat beautifully in the oven. Before serving give them an extra sprinkle of sea salt, then encourage guests to dunk them into the the light and fresh Mast-o-Khia. Yum - off to reheat the few left overs I put to one side for dinner tonight.....

1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp sea salt
1.2 kilos lamb mince
2 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fine polenta
1 egg

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and toast chiili, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice together until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, add salt and grind. Put lamb mince in a big bowl and add spice mix, garlic, pepper, lemon zest, polenta and egg. Stir thoroughly to combine. Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Roll lamb mix into small golf balls and place on baking trays. Bake until borwned and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes - cook's priviledge to test one to make sure they are cooked through! Serve immediately with Mast-o-Khia. Makes about 60. Meatballs can be made the day before, or well in advance and frozen. Defrost and reheat for 5 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F).

2 cups plain, natural yogurt 
 1/2 a large cucumber, grated
1 tbsp dried mint
6 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch of salt
Mix all together and serve within two hours of making. Makes plenty - but if you have more than you need, just spice up some lamb racks and serve with the remaining Mast-o-Khia over a salad of baby spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and mint - yum...or you can always halve the recipe!


  1. I love this! I love all the spices you have in there (and the lemon zest! genius!)- the meatballs must be crazy fragrant! I can't wait to try them, along with mast-o-khia, which I had never never hear of before, but it sounds a lot like tzatziki, which I love. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!