Aromatic Meatballs with Spinach and Mushrooms


This is a popular family dish in my house, full of goodness and lovely aromas. Serve with new potatoes or buttered noodles.


  • 500 g (1 lb) lean minced lamb or beef
  • 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1-2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 500 g (1 lb) spinach, stalks removed, washed and chopped roughly
  • 175 g (6 oz) mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 tablespoons creamed smetana or soured cream
  • Sea salt Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to garnish


Put the meat into a mixing bowl and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Add the chopped ginger, cumin seeds and tomato purée and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using damp hands, form the mixture into small balls the size of a large marble or walnut.

Put the groundnut oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs and turn around carefully with a wooden spoon just to brown all over. Remove the pan from the heat and leave on one side.

Melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Pile in the roughly chopped spinach, cover the casserole and cook for a few minutes, opening the dish and stirring around once or twice. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and garlic and season with salt and black pepper.

Using a slotted spatula, take the meatballs from the frying pan and arrange them on top of the spinach and mushroom mixture. Cover the casserole again and continue to cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes. Remove the lid of the casserole, increase the heat and bubble vigorously for 5–8 minutes until the juices have reduced by about half. Just before serving, spoon the creamed smetana or soured cream roughly over the top then dust with a little cayenne pepper.