Dawood Basha (Lebanese Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce)

 

Dawood Basha (Lebanese Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce) 

 

Dawood Basha!! Meatballs are nearly a concept in every culture and are served in limitless ways! I bet you are all familiar with Italian meatballs, Korean meatballs, Danish meatballs, Swedish meatballs, Chinese meatballs and ......and most probably much more to be add to the list! The concept applies to Lebanon and the Middle East too! I guess you all are all familiar with kafta/ kofta kebabs - ground beef laced with spices, onion and parsley and grilled or baked around metal skewers.  If you are looking for a different way of eating meatballs, it is time to consider “Dawood Basha”/ Lebanese meatballs in tomato sauce!! A main course recipe that appears in my book – the meatballs neither require breadcrumbs nor long hours of simmering. They are tender and moist and can be made of pure ground beef or simply a combination of both beef and lamb. Lamb adds a pleasant dimension!! A perfect family meal and a pure comfort food for the body and soul! Serve it with Lebanese rice and vermicelli or simply with plain rice.

Be sure to ask your butcher to provide you with some fatty ground meat. As the meatballs cook, the fat will render, releasing the flavor and taste in the stew, and will help the meatballs from drying out. 

The pine nuts elevate the Dawood Basha to a different level, and they are what make the dish distinctly Lebanese!!

If you are a pomegranate molasses lover like me, drizzle a dash over your plate. 

 

Traditonally, Dawood Basha balls are made of plain seasoned meat that features neither parsley nor onions. And that is how I  posted mine in my book! But still it is so flavorful to add these two ingredients to the minced meat! Try them with or without parsley and onions, and choose which version you prefer! Anyway you make them, the result is fantastic!! Alternativally, you can shape the balls a bit smaller. There is always a room for personal preference!! Happy eating!!

 

 

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  1. In a bowl, mix the meat, onion, parsley, allspice, cayenne pepper and salt.  (Squeeze the onion and parsley with the palm of your hands before adding it to the meat, ridding it of the excess fluid

  2.  

 

 

Divide the meat into portions, about the size of an apricot.  Gently roll each portion between your palms, creating round shaped balls.  Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Add oil to a wide skillet and roast the pine nuts over medium heat stirring constantly until golden in color.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs in batches to the same skillet and sear the balls on both sides,  about 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs and sautee the onions, in the same skillet, to translucent. Add the diced tomatoes and salt and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes start wilting, bout 5 minutes. Pour the water and add the tomato paste.  Stir to incorporate. Sprinkle the white pepper and cayenne pepper.  Return the meatballs to the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Add the toasted pine nuts 

 

 

So delicious and inviting!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a pomegranate molasses lover like me, drizzle a dash over your plate. 

 

 

 Serve it with plain rice or rice and vermicelli. Add a generous amount of tomato sauce over the rice upon serving! How delicious!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

For the kafta balls:

  • 500 g. 1lb 2 oz. ground beef or lamb, or a mix of both
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • A dash of allspice
  • A dash cayenne pepper
  • A dash black pepper

 

For the tomato sauce:

  • 3 large onions, julienne
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ canola oil or peanut oil
  • A dash white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste 2  1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • A dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

 

 

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix the meat, onion, parsley, allspice, cayenne pepper and salt.  (Squeeze the onion and parsley with the palm of your hands before adding it to the meat, ridding it of the excess fluids).
  2. Divide the meat into portions, about the size of an apricot.  Gently roll each portion between your palms, creating round shaped balls.  Set aside.
  3. Add oil to a wide skillet and roast the pine nuts over medium heat stirring constantly until golden in color.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add the meatballs in batches to the same skillet and sear the balls on both sides,  about 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Sautee the onions, in the same skillet, to translucent.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and salt and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes start wilting, bout 5 minutes.
  7. Pour the water and add the tomato paste.  Stir to incorporate.
  8. Sprinkle the white pepper and cayenne pepper.  Return the meatballs to the skillet and bring the mixture to the ball.  Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the toasted pine nuts and serve it with plain rice or rice and vermicelli.  How delicious!!

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You might also enjoy our Grilled Kafta Kebabs

 

 

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Marhaba, and welcome to my blog! Discover the secrets behind the symphonies of flavor that make up Lebanese cuisine. Join my blog and take a sneak peak at my cookbook, Hadia... Lebanese Style Recipes .