Lebanese Beef Meatballs in Yogurt Sauce

So, once again it's been a while since I updated this blog. There's just been too much happening these days as I try and settle into my work/study role this semester. It's not that I've stopped cooking, but rather than my lack of free time has only allowed me to cook up simple things that are already posted on this blog. The only thing worthy of mention from my cooking adventures lately is that the marinara sauce from my spaghetti and meatballs recipe is amazing on its own without the meatballs. It especially makes for a great light lunch.

Instead of going back to those recipes today, I felt like eating something different. I initially thought about making Persian okra stew, but as I'm trying to stay away from acidic food this week, I had to give up that thought (plus, there wasn't any okra available at the supermarket today). Instead, I went with this Lebanese beef meatballs in yogurt sauce recipe.
At first, the idea of meatballs cooked in yogurt sounded really weird to me, but the dish was very tasty and perfect for the heat of the summer as it was very refreshing and cooling. The meatballs could definitely have been better (see improvement suggestions below), but other than that, it's definitely something I can't wait to make again!

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 300g minced beef
  • 1 small white onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ tsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp plain flour
  • ½  tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix ground beef, onion, dill, ground cumin and ground cardamom.
  2. Make a meatball out of every tablespoon-worth of the mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the meatballs until all sides are brown. Transfer meatballs to absorbent paper towels.
  4. Dissolve corn starch and plain flour in 2 tbsp water and add to the yogurt in a saucepan. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring continuously.
  5. Add meatballs to the yogurt mixture and simmer for a further 5 minutes. 
  6. Add cumin seeds, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 3 minutes. Serve with pita bread or cous cous.

Suggested Improvements

  • Salt and pepper need to be added to the meatballs as they were quite bland on their own.
  • The meatballs were quite tough. Adding breadcrumbs or bulgar wheat to the mixture might help their texture. Cooking them directly in the yogurt sauce rather than frying might also help. 

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