Mrs Reddy’s Spicy Lamb Meatballs


Samoosas (a triangle shaped pastry in South Africa, filled with savoury fillings in paper thin pastry and deep fried till golden brown) were our treat snack of choice as children. The mince ones were the ultimate, potato coming in at a close second. I remember accompanying my father when he collected my mother’s samoosa order from the aunties in Northdale who churned out endless Tupperware and reused ice cream containers full of them.

In as high esteem, my brother and I held lamb mince meatballs or kebabs as we referred to them, erroneously so as traditional Middle Eastern kebabs or kabobs are formed around a stick. I remember us visiting Mrs Reddy (let’s call her this), not really our blood aunt but as close as one anyway. She had no children of her own and spent her time travelling and visiting her siblings around the world and lavishing her attentions and affection on her nieces and nephews.

And so, when we received the call that Mrs Reddy was back in town and we were invited to lunch at her apartment, we dressed smartly and tagged along happily with our parents silently awaiting the treat of freshly made samoosas and hoping she’d make her kebabs. Mrs Reddy’s kebabs were served in a reduced tomato, onion and chilli sauce or chutney, like my own mother’s. But there was something extra special about hers- always spicier and more complex in flavour, yet perfectly balanced. It was her own special touch and the love with which she treated everyone in all probability, and with which she still does.

I never got to cook with her, but this is my version her of lamb meatballs, an ode to the memory of them anyway. Instead of making a tomato chutney, I served these with a fresh rosa tomato and spring onion sambal and plenty of lime and lemon wedges, which help to cut through the fat of lamb mince and add a fresh, zesty tang.

Additionally I baked them, which is not only healthier than frying, it’s also quicker and less hassle. Ordinary lamb mince  you will find, does have a highish fat content and therefore lends itself to a succulent and juicy meatball.

This is the quick and easy snack you want to make for your friends and family this weekend.


Serves 4

500 g lamb mince

4 salad onions, snipped

handful coriander leaves, chopped finely

1 tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 large red chill chopped finely

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander powder

4 T dried breadcrumbs

1 large free range egg

salt, to taste


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius on lower rack but not lowest.

Spray n Cook/ grease a large baking sheet.

Mix all the ingredients together using a fork or your hands in a large bowl. Really couldn’t be easier.

Roll into medium sized balls.

Bake for 10 minutes per side, turning half way.

Serve meatballs hot (they get fatty the instant they cool down) with sambals or a chilli sauce and wedges of lime or lemon.

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