Algerian meatballs with chickpeas

22 Jun

algerian meatballs

This Algerian recipe for m’touem b’marqa hamra (meatballs and chickpeas in garlicky red sauce) is awesome. Meatballs are a bit time consuming, but worth the effort for this dish. I found the recipe on The Teal Tadgine website, and followed it pretty much as written. It claims to serve four to six people, but if it had made more, the four of us would have eaten it.

Algerian meatballs and chickpeas
(serves 4)

For the meatballs

  • 500g ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • half head of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce

  • 3 Tb olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • half a head of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 450g tin of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare the meatballs by kneading the ground meat in a large bowl. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, and knead until it’s incorporated into the meat. Continue to gradually knead in the water until you’ve used up all the water. Doing this step makes the most tender meat.
  2. Add the egg, breadcrumbs, garlic and spices in a large bowl and mix with your hands.
  3. Oil your hands, then form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Transfer to a plate for later.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan, and brown the meatballs. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add the onions and sauté until golden. Stir in the garlic, cumin and paprika, followed by the tomato paste.
  6. Return the meatballs to the pan, along with the chickpeas. Add enough water to cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender and sauce thickened. (You can remove the meatballs at this point and reduce the sauce further if necessary.)
  7. Before serving, toast the slivered almonds in a small, dry frying pan and sprinkle on top. Serve with couscous.

Family score: 9 out of 10


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