Prep 45 mins
Cook 50 mins
This Tunisian traditional recipe is from the Restaurant Dar Zarrouk, Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia.
- 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef or 1 1⁄2 lbs ground lamb or 1 1⁄2 lbs ground veal
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons tabil mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed for dredging
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons harissa
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red chili powder
- For the meatballs: Preheat frying oil in a deep-fryer or 8-inch deep saucepan to 375°F Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the whole cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and break into small florets.
- Place the meat, onion, cinnamon, parsley, tabil, salt, and pepper in a food processor, in batches if necessary, and process until well blended. Remove to a bowl.
- Have a bowl of water handy to keep your hands wet while making meatballs. Meatballs are formed by flattening a lemon-sized portion of meat into a thin patty and wrapping the patty around a cauliflower floret to completely enclose. Form into an oval shape, then dip into the eggs and dredge in flour, tapping off any excess flour.
- Cook the meatballs in oil until golden, about 4 minutes, without crowding the fryer. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper toweling to drain.
- For the sauce: Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Dissolve the tomato paste in the water, and add to the pan along with harisa and ground red chili. Add the meatballs and cook covered until most of the liquid evaporates, about 25 minutes. Add a little water to rehydrate sauce if it is dries out before that time. Serve meatballs covered with sauce.
This is really delicious -- cauliflower is such a under-appreciated veggie and it was a nice surprise in the meatballs. Loved the spices - used Tabil Spice Mix and A Simple Harissa as ingredients in this dish. The only change I made was to bake the meatballs on a wire rack as I don't like to fry unless absolutely necessary. We really liked the sauce and the overall dish was great. Made for ZWT9.