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Baharat Meatballs with Lentil Rice

I made fresh Red Harissa today and decided I needed to make something it would go with for tonight’s dinner. However, it also had to be fairly quick to make, since it’s a weeknight and preferably something the three year old would be likely to eat.

So meatballs it was. The rest just sort of fell into place after making that decision.




* 400g of beef mince (although lamb would work)
* 1 rasher of bacon, rind removed, very finely chopped
* 1 heaped teaspoon of Baharat spice blend
* 1 large egg
* about 1/4 cup of flour, maybe less.


* 1 white onion
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 1 red capsicum
* 2 large mushrooms
* 1 smallish zucchini
* 1 can of tomatoes
* large pinch of salt
* 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground
* about a dozen large kalamata olives cut on half

Lentil Rice

* 1 1/2 cups of bas mati (or long grain) rice
* 1/2 cup of red lentils
* 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
* 4 green cardamon pods
* 1 teaspoon of salt
* 3 cups of water


Lentil Rice

Place all the ingredients in a large microwave safe casserole dish, and microwave on medium (60%) power for about 23 minutes (1,000W microwave, adjust accordingly). Alternatively you can use a rice cooker (steamer) or failing that, use a saucepan.
If using a saucepan, bring the water to boil first, then add the remaining ingredients, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for at least 20 minutes before lifting the lid to check consistency. When done, all the liquid should have been absorbed by the rice/lentils which should be soft.


Finely chop onion, capsicum and garlic place in a medium-large saucepan with some olive oil to sauté.
Coarsely chop the mushrooms and zucchini to your liking and add to the pot after a couple of minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and crush them with your stirring spoon. Add the spices, cover and simmer on low heat.
Reserve the olives and add with the meatballs.


While the sauce is simmering, combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Using a soup spoon, scoop out a measure of meat and roll into a ball with your hands. Repeat until you’ve used all the meat.

Place the meatballs in the saucepan (with the olives) carefully so as not to squish or break them, then cover and leave simmering for about 15 minutes (or longer if need be).

Just before you’re ready to serve, uncover the saucepan and increase the heat a bit to reduce the sauce. Stir carefully. Once your desired sauce thickness is reached, turn off the heat and serve on a bed of the lentil rice with a big dollop of yoghurt and some Red Harissa.

posted to Australian,Moorish,Recipes @ 8:49 pm

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  • At 1:53 am on 4 August, 2006, Brilynn commented:

    Hello, I linked to your blog from Chocolate and Zucchini. I started a blog of my own a couple months ago and am impressed with how good your pictures look. Mine always look decidedly amature… part of the problem is that once I make something I want to eat it or serve it right away and don’t spend time trying to make a nice photo. Do you use any particular program to make yours look so nice? (Have a look at my site and you’ll see the difference…)

  • At 7:01 am on 4 August, 2006, David commented:

    Hi Brilynn,

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    As for food photography, it’s a bit of an art to get it right. I don’t manipulate my images (apart from resizing and adding a 6 pixel black border), they’re pretty much just how they come out of the camera.

    The trick is to:

    a) avoid using a flash as much as possible. If need be, turn on extra lights, position mirrors to reflect light onto your subject, etc
    b) get close. Use the macro mode of your camera and get in t close and personal.
    c) try to keep the angle off the horizontal between 10 and 35 degrees. This one in particular is a guideline meant to be broken, but if you follow it more often than not you’ll get a better looking picture.
    d) crop. It’s not always necessary to see the whole of the dish in order to get a good photo of it. Seeing part of it can give the impression of the whole dish and leads to a more exciting and enticing picture.
    e) the background, and here’s where I don’t always get it right, try to have a non-cluttered background, and blur it out by reducing the depth of field on your camera. (macro mode will usually do this, but sometimes I use the big tripod and zoom right in from a distance).
    f) use a tripod. Get one of those little flexible ones that are about 6 inches long and use it to position your camera on the bench near the food. That way you can get clear shots without a flash.

    Hope that helps 🙂

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