Lamb and Mint Meatballs in Chermoula Tomato Sauce

These delicious meatballs are reminiscent of a Moroccan lamb tagine, flavoured with cinnamon, honey and mint. Serve with buttery, lemon-scented couscous.


Serves 6

Preparation Time

Cook time

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Cook's NoteGround spices lose their pungency very quickly, so try to freshly grind the seeds just before using if you can.
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  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5cm piece peeled ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3×7.5cm cinnamon sticks
  • 2x400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 150ml lamb stock, chicken stock or water
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint- roughly chopped
  • Small mint leaves, to garnish
  • The peel from 1 small preserved lemon, cut into thin shreds, to garnish


  • 1 kg minced lamb
  • 4 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint


Put the garlic, ginger, harissa, spices, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil into a mini food processor with 1 teaspoon of salt and blend to a smooth paste.

For the meatballs; put the minced lamb into a bowl with the cumin, coriander, paprika, mint, 1½ teaspoons of salt and some freshly ground black pepper and mix together well with your hands. Break the mixture into 35g pieces and roll into golf-sized balls using lightly oiled hands. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole, add the meatballs and fry briefly on all sides until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Add the onions and the cinnamon sticks to the oil left in the casserole and fry gently until the onion is soft and lightly golden – about 5 minutes. Stir in the spice paste and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, honey and the lamb stock or water and bring to a simmer. Drop the meatballs into the sauce and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened nicely. Season to taste and stir in the mint. Scatter over the mint leaves and strips of preserved lemon and serve with some couscous.