Playing with food: curried meatballs with raita

During a recent trip to Perth, I picked up a jar of Providore’s brinjal pickles. Once home, I had a taste of the pickle with plain white toast. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste – it was a mix of tomato flavours and mild curry spices. The brinjal (also known as eggplant or aubergine) itself was not too mushy. On its own, I do find the pickles slightly acidic (perhaps due to the pickling process), so I needed something to balance the acidity and elevate the curry spices. And the first thing that came to my mind was curried meatballs.
I concocted a curried spice rub for this recipe – a fair bit of spices is used but it is worth every penny (and effort). Once you have the spices ready, the rest is pretty effortless. The key to making good meatballs is not to overwork the meat. I like to use my hands (and sometimes a spatula) to fold in the spices. If you start bashing the meat, there is a good chance you may end up with tough chewy meatballs.

You can also control the spices that go into the meatballs, so this is a great opportunity to introduce kids to curry spices without scaring them too much with the heat. For example, you can choose to put a smidgen of chilli powder or not. You can even get the kids to help you in the preparation of the meatballs (think play-doh). Whenever I’m in the kitchen, preparing to cook or bake, my niece and nephew would raise their hands and go “can I help?”.  Allowing kids to prepare their own food, letting them feel the texture of each ingredient and seeing how they evolve into a dish, gives them a nice sense of achievement. Whether a dish turns out the way it should be or not, trust me, they will gobble up everything on the plate. Because they were involved in making that dish!

These curried meatballs are very versatile. In my case, I paired them with homemade naan, brinjal pickles and raita – they make a delicious mid-afternoon or anytime snack. You can also pack them in a hotdog bun and create a meatball sub or simply throw them in your favourite pasta sauce.


About Mandy Ng

Mandy’s journey into the culinary world began out of necessity–a means of survival whilst she was at university. She believes cooking should be simple and fun. Besides spending time in the kitchen whipping up hearty meals, Mandy also dreams of having a bottomless stomach that she can fill with all kinds of delicious things.