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Rich Middle Eastern Meatballs with Figs and Shallots

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Hen Perets – @peretshen
These juicy Middle Eastern meatballs with figs and shallots are a must try this weekend.
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :2 hours
Total Time :2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6



  • 2.2 pounds/1 kilogram ground lamb or beef, you can also do 50-50
  • 2 onions
  • 1 potato
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric



  • In a food processor, finely chop the onion, potato, garlic cloves, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, salt, and turmeric. Combine this mixture with the meat and shape it into meatballs. Place the meatballs on a tray and refrigerate.
  • Heat a wide nonstick pot without adding any oil. Saute the onions until they turn a light brown color.
  • Add the oil, spices, and the meatballs for a brief browning on both sides.
  • Pour in the water and date syrup, and arrange the figs among the meatballs. Sprinkle thyme leaves, then cover and cook for 90 minutes to reduce the liquid.
  • To finish, you can transfer the pot to an oven preheated to 355°F (180°C) without the lid for 15 minutes, or until browned.


middle eastern meatballs recipe
Credit: Hen Perets

How to prevent the meatballs from falling apart during cooking

To prevent meatballs from falling apart during cooking, maintain a balanced meat-to-binder ratio, mix gently, chill the mixture, ensure consistent size, and employ proper cooking techniques such as avoiding overcrowding the pan. These steps will help you create well-formed and delicious meatballs.

What side dishes go well with these Middle Eastern meatballs?

Consider serving them with fluffy couscous, a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, which complements the meatballs’ flavors and soaks up their savory sauce. Roasted or grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers, provide a lovely contrast in texture and add a healthy element to the meal. A fresh and tangy tzatziki sauce or a tahini-based dip adds a cooling component that harmonizes with the spices in the meatballs. Additionally, a simple salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs completes the ensemble, offering a refreshing touch to the plate.

middle eastern meatballs recipe
Credit: Hen Perets

Tips for achieving the perfect browning of the meatballs

or perfectly browned meatballs, start with a hot, preheated pan using high smoke point cooking fat. Avoid overcrowding the pan to prevent steaming, handle meatballs gently when flipping them, keep them uniform in size for even cooking, and exercise patience to let them sear undisturbed on each side.

middle eastern meatballs recipe
Credit: Hen Perets

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