Spiced meat balls

Serves 6


500g beef mince
1 onion – finely chopped
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes (possibly leave this out if cooking for children)
1 egg
50g breadcrumbs
olive oil
400g passata
1 tbsp fresh rosemary – chopped
½ tsp black pepper


Put the mince, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, cumin, garam masala, paprika, oregano, chilli flakes, bread crumbs, egg and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix them thoroughly. Now form them into balls the size of golf balls. Heat a pan with some olive oil and brown the meat balls in it for 5 minutes.

Put them in an oven dish with the passata, a clove of garlic, rosemary and black pepper and cook in an oven at 170 C for 20 Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes.


This is a dish for cold, damp British weather. Particularly the sort of thing that we find in
the depths of winter. Such weather presents a paradox; it is cold so we need to eat rich
food, but it also damp which obstructs circulation in the body, just like rich food! The answer to this paradox relies on plenty of aromatic and spicy flavours. These stimulate movement and circulation in the gut so that rich and fatty food, such as beef, passes along it easily and the body feels warmed and expansive in the face of constricting and obstructive cold and damp.

In this recipe there are many aromatic (onion, garlic, oregano, rosemary) and spicy (garam masala, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper) ingredients which provides great breadth of flavour and action. There is also some sourness (tomato) and bitterness (rosemary, garam masala) which helps to protect the gut from irritation by these strong spicy flavours.

A nicely balanced recipe.


The principles that underlie this recipe can be applied to most meat mince such as turkey, pork, venison and mutton. The main property of beef that makes it particularly suitable in this case is that despite being very flavoursome it does not have an extreme effect on the body, matching it to most people’s constitutions.