Written by Maryam Sinaiee


Recipe: Persian sweet and sour chicken meatballs

We’re still recovering from Maryam Sinaiee’s rose ice cream, but she’s back with her super-sounding sweet and sour meatballs.

chicken meatballs
In Persian cuisine, my sweet and sour chicken meatballs belong to the category of khoresht (also pronounced as khoresh) like many other so-called stews that we serve with rice.

This khoresht is similar to a tagine, except that it is not spicy at all. You can also serve this dish on its own with a cooling lettuce and cucumber salad dressed with a tangy lemon and olive oil dressing, a crusty loaf or warmed flatbread and a lovely glass of dry white, of course.

Ingredients (to serve four)

For the meatballs:

3 medium chicken breasts, cubed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 tbsp butter

For the sauce:

2 medium onions, finely chopped
2½ tbsp oil
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 medium carrots, sliced or cut into batons
A handful of pitted prunes
Pinch of ground saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water (optional)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
Sugar to taste

meatballs on a plate

Put the cubed chicken, onion, salt and spices in a food processor and blitz until everything is chopped up.

Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. Wet your hands and shape the chicken mixture into balls larger than walnuts. Add to the pan and fry on medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan and gently fry the carrots for a few minutes without colouring. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the chopped onions on medium heat until well caramelised. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook briefly. Add the tomato paste and salt and cook for a minute or two.

Return the chicken meatballs and carrots to the pan. Add the prunes and enough boiling water to almost cover the meatballs. Bring to the boil. Add the saffron and lower the heat.

Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots and prunes are cooked through. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs a couple of times while they are cooking or turn them gently to cover them in sauce.

Add the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar to taste and adjust the seasoning. During cooking you can always add a little boiling water if the sauce is too thick or cook longer to reduce it.

And for dessert? Maryam’s truly gorgeous rose and vanilla ice-cream, of course.

Find more of Maryam’s recipes at www.thepersianfusion.com

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Written by Maryam Sinaiee

Maryam Sinaiee is an Iranian political analyst and passionate home cook. Her recipes can be found here: www.thepersianfusion.com