(Makes 12-14 meatballs) For the meatballs: 400g minced beef 200g basmati rice, uncooked 2 onions, peeled (240g) 1 garlic clove, peeled 1 small bunch of parsley, top leafy part only (about 20g) 1 small bunch of mint, top leafy part only (about 20g) 1 small bunch of coriander, top leafy part only (about 20g) 1tsp ground coriander 1tsp ground turmeric, or grate 2cm fresh turmeric root 1tbsp salt A sprinkling of white pepper For the sauce: 3tbsp olive oil 1 onion, peeled and finely diced (120g) 1 leek, thinly sliced and washed 1 garlic, peeled and crushed 1 green chilli, thinly sliced 4 celery sticks, thinly sliced 1tsp ground turmeric, or grate 2cm fresh turmeric root 2 dried Persian limes (or 3 wide strips of peel from 1 lemon) 2 bay leaves Juice of 1 lemon
1. Place the minced beef and uncooked rice together in a large bowl. Use a food processor to blitz the onions, garlic and fresh herbs together to a paste (or you can chop everything by hand very finely) and add to the meat and rice along with the ground coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix together until fully combined and then divide into 12-14 balls, each about 80-90g. Cover and store in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a shallow casserole that is large enough to contain all the meatballs in one layer. Add the onion, leek and garlic and cook on a medium heat until they soften, then add the chilli, celery, turmeric, Persian limes and bay leaves. Mix well and fry for five minutes, stirring occasionally, then add one litre of boiling water.
3. Bring the mixture to the boil and carefully add the meatballs to the liquid. Bring back to the boil and cook uncovered for five minutes. Turn the meatballs over in the liquid, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Keep covered and cook for 30 minutes. Open the lid carefully, add the lemon juice, re-cover and cook for the final 10 minutes before serving.