Hello Meatballs! I love you so much! Such a sentimental dish don’t you think? Every country has it’s own style and recipe of meatballs. This make me immediately think of the famous Swedish meatballs from IKEA. As they just opened one in Jakarta, I’m still in the Swedish hype and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that they are finally in town. As we drove there after the first week of opening (it was madness crowded the first week!) on a relaxed Monday morning, and wanted to consume some Swedish meatballs, they just bluntly told me it was sold out. Are you serious? Yes true story. This can only happen in Jakarta, where people will stand in line for meatballs and not for the famous minimalistic modern looking furnitures.

Ok, back to my meatballs. I grew up with meatballs which were super delicious and juicy from my mom. It was the perfect crossover between typical Dutch ingredients, such as nutmeg and mustard, but with hints of Asian flavors too. I would eat them with lots of ‘sambal’ as known as chili sauce. This was by the way a very hard thing to let go as I grow mature and learned that eating the ‘supposedly’ culinary way, you simply don’t add chili sauce on top of everything, that would ruined the taste of the original dish. Not to mention an insult to the chef. Oops. As a result I manage to hold myself in and NOT put chili sauce or ‘sambal’ on everything that went straight into my mouth. Now living in Jakarta for almost a year, where literally everybody and every dish contains chili’s I’m back to business eating spicy. I’m actually training Andrew’s tongue to  eat more chili’s little by little, not without tears in his eyes. I will not be obsessed with chili’s if they don’t carry lots of health benefits, you know me. Did you know that chili peppers belong to the family of capsicum and that they are packed with vitamins E, A, K and B. It’s a natural cure to fight inflammation, cayenne peppers can even reduce your blood cholesterol. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, that’s were all the heat is coming from. In today’s recipe I incorporate some dried chili flakes, just for that little extra punge.

meatballs albondigas

Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Serves 20 small meatballs

  • 500 gram beef minced meat
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon grouns paprika
  • 2 tablespoon bread crumbs / panko 
  • 1 fresh chili pepper or dried chili 
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 cup of white beans (optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic, finely chopped or use a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoon of red wine
  • 400 gram pre packed tomatoes in carton box (don’t buy canned ones)  
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix the minced beef together with half of the chili pepper, half of the finely chopped garlic, egg, parsley, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika powder. Roll small meatballs out of it. Heat a medium large skillet with oil (not much needed since the beef has fat) and bake the meatballs on high heat until golden. Add onions, rest of chili pepper and garlic and let it cook. Add red wine, tomatoes and sugar, add salt and pepper to taste. Let it all simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Garnish with spring onion or fresh parsley.