I have lived in London for most of my adult life – have lived here longer than in Athens where I grew up. I don’t get nostalgic about living in Greece very often, but I do miss the food, especially when it is sunny outside. My mind just wanders to Skiathos and having mezedes at a favourite harbour taverna washed down by ice-cold Amstel…
This dish brings together elements from traditional mezedes and marries them into one platter of yumminess. Fava is normally served as a small dip – here it makes the perfect bed for these garlicky little meatballs to rest on. Share these with friends, preferably on a sunny day, and you too can be transported to Greece for a short spell.
Note: I have used a food processor to make the meatball mix. It can be made by hand – just chop everything really small and knead the mince thoroughly until the ingredients are combined. It’s a messy job which is why a food processor is handy.
For the yoghurt sauce
5 heaped tbsp Total 0% yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
- Dry fry the cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Reserve a few to sprinkle over the finished dish.
- Place all the ingredients in a mini chopper and blitz until combined or whisk together by hand until thoroughly combined.
For the fava
- Rinse the dal with plenty of cold water, put in a medium saucepan and add plenty of cold water to cover.
- Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaves and bring to the boil. If any white scum rises to the surface, skim it with a spoon and discard.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring and topping up with water occasionally as needed.
- Remove the bay leaves and transfer the fava into a food processor. If there’s a lot of cooking liquid, drain it and reserve.
- Add half the quantity of olive oil, the lemon juice, salt and chilli powder and pulse until smooth. If the mixture is too dry keep adding the olive oil until you have the right consistency. You can also use some of the reserved cooking liquid instead of olive oil.
- If you are storing the fava, cover the surface with a generous amount of olive oil otherwise it will dry out and crack.
1-2 tbsp light olive oil for frying
Handful fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped to serve
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil to drizzle
- Put the the onions, garlic, herbs and seasonings in your food processor and pulse until minced.
- Squeeze the bread to get rid of most of the milk and add to the food processor together with the feta and lamb. Pulse until a paste forms.
- Empty the mince into a bowl and with wet hands start forming small meatballs about the size of a walnut (if your hands are wet it will be easier to form the meatballs and the mixture won’t stick to your hands).
- Once all the mince is used up, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Fry the meatballs in two batches for about 3 minutes on each side until browned.
- Place the fava on a large plate and drizzle some olive oil. Heap the meatballs on top and drizzle with the yoghurt sauce. Scatter the coriander and a handful of the cumin seeds and season with salt and pepper. Serve with plenty of warm pitta bread.
Note: if you want to make the pitta bread follow this recipe for the dough. Once the dough is ready, cut small portions, flatten or roll into a thin disk and dry fry in a pan over medium high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.
|Lamb meatballs with fava and yoghurt sauce|