Tender turkey meatballs in a flavor loaded sauce with turmeric, garlic, cumin and coriander.
This must be one of the spiciest dishes I have ever cooked myself. And I don’t mean necessarily hot, the sauce is kind of hot but not extremely so, but really spicy. I literally plundered my spice cabinet when cooking these delicious meatballs and their sauce. And not to forget the garlic, there is lots of it in there.
I made this only recently for the first time, but such a big pot full of it, that we were able to eat it two days in a row. My husband even got to take the last three or four meatballs for his work lunch as well and let me tell you, he didn’t complain one bit about it. He usually eats what I cook without complaining (except when it comes to eggplants and a few other choice veggies), but he is not very generous with his praise. He would say it tastes good once and maybe elaborate a bit if I insist, but he usually won’t go over the edge. So when, during a meal, he tells me about 3 or 4 that it tastes really good without me even asking, and when the next day after eating the same meal, he tells me it tastes even better than the day before and then he takes the last rests of the leftovers to work the third day, then I know I am on to something. 🙂
So this a recipe to keep for us: easy, delicious, healthy and so full of flavor. And if you like this kind of recipe have a look at this Chicken with Rhubarb Sauce, it is one of my favorites as well.
The turmeric doesn’t play the main role, like in most of the other recipes in this series, but it is definitely an important part of the combination. I used fresh turmeric, because I had it in the house but feel free to replace it with ground turmeric. Otherwise make sure your spice jars are not too empty before you start cooking and that you have enough garlic. 🙂 The list of ingredients might seem long at first sight, but don’t worry, there is nothing special on it, just the spices that most people already have in their cupboards.
The source for this recipe is Bon Apetit, I used turkey mince instead of beef to make it lighter (and because I like turkey mince), but you can use beef, of course. I also reduced the requested oil quantity and I left out the chilies, I had to keep the kids in mind and it turns out it was hot enough as it was without any jalapenos or chiles de arbol in it. I couldn’t have used those anyway, there’s no way I can buy them around here. You will need to puree the sauce but, if using a white hand blender, be aware that it will not be white anymore after making this sauce. Turmeric will make it yellow, so if you want to avoid that use a food processor, a dark colored blender or one made of another material than plastic.
I hope you enjoyed this Turmeric Series, I am actually quite sorry it already ends today, I still have a few recipes I would have liked to post, but October is coming and with it a new series dedicated to apples. And not just apples, but apple cakes! And I am definitely looking forward to that too. 🙂
- For the meatballs:
- 6 scallions
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2,5 cm/ 1 inch ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 small pinch dried chili flakes
- 900 g/ 2 pounds turkey mince
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoon salt
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium onions
- 10 garlic cloves
- 4 cm/ 1 ½ inch ginger
- 2 pieces fresh turmeric, each about the size of your little finger
- 4 teaspoons curry powder, not too hot
- 4 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (or use 4 teaspoons if you don't have fresh turmeric)
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 500ml/ about 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- cayenne pepper to taste
- more salt to taste
- cilantro to garnish
- rice to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil.
- Roughly chop the scallions, garlic cloves and ginger. Place them in a (small) blender together with the lemon juice, garam masala, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper and puree until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and add the mince, beaten egg, yogurt and salt. Mix well with your hands until the mixture is quite sticky.
- With wet hands form the meatballs, I had about 35 of them. Place them on the prepared baking tray and bake them for about 15-20 minutes until lightly brown and cooked through. Take out of the oven and set aside.
- To make the sauce: chop the onions finely. Grate or crush the garlic cloves and grate the ginger and the fresh turmeric.
- Heat two tablespoons oil in a large pan and cook the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric until slightly starting to get brown, about 8 minutes, while stirring often. Add the curry powder, cumin, ground turmeric, coriander and black pepper and continue stirring until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, crushing them with your hand before you give them the pot, water, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. Puree the sauce. If using a white hand blender, be aware that it will not be white anymore after making this sauce. Turmeric will make it yellow, so if you want to avoid that use a food processor, a dark colored blender or one made of another material than plastic. Also the sauce is very hot, don't burn yourself when blending.
- Give the sauce back to the pot and adjust the taste with the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt. Give the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer very gently for further 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with rice.
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