East Meets East Meets Midwest Vegetarian Meatballs

So, The Working Wives Cookbook (1963) is heavy on the lamb for some reason. While we are vegetarians who stray, I won’t cook (or eat) lamb or veal. Period. It does not matter that my youngest child has developed a complete and utter fixation with lamb. It is cute. It goes baa. I am allergic to wool. Whatever, I am not eating lamb.

I had it once, the night the father of the aforementioned youngest was inducted into the Junior Honor Society in high school. Oh wait, I ate some gyros in high school and the gyro burger (with a veggie burger actually-which made it a weird dish but yummy) at the place with the pizza fondue we found by accident the first night of Passover.  Don’t look for a restaurant open on the spur of the moment on the first night of Passover in our area-they are closed. Yes. Really.

I intended to skip entirely over the lamb section. But then, there was an intriguing recipe: East meets East: Syrian meat balls with Indian Curry Sauce. I still wasn’t going to 1. Cook lamb or 2. Make meatballs. I hate touching meat. Really. Yuck.

What to do? I did exactly what I always do when faced with meatballs-bought a bag of frozen veggie meatballs. Clearly these suit the same purpose as the

1 1/2 lbs ground lamb–some supermarkets sell this as “lamb patties”
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup pignolia (pine nuts)
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil

mentioned in the original recipe. Right? RIGHT!

I got to skip all the night before stuff. Who am I fooling? The night before I was sick, and even today I was trying to beg out of dinner making. Denise wasn’t having it. I grabbed the bag of meatballs-tossed them into the oven and commenced last night’s “curry sauce” preparation

6 Tablespoons butter or margarine (err no, I used about 2 tablespoons olive oil)
2 stalks celery sliced
1 large apple, cored and diced (unpeeled) I used 2 medium-ish apples
1 large onion, diced
2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder (I ended up adding more after the 3-probably ended up with 5)
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup tomato paste

While meatballs are browning, you are told to make this sauce. The meatballs were browning-in the oven. I cooked the onion, celery and apple over low heat until the onion was translucent and the celery softened. Stir in the curry powder-starting with 2 teaspoons and increasing according to taste;check! Cook gently for 5 min. Add tomato juice and cook over medium heat for 5 min. Stir in tomato sauce to thicken.

Pause to peer at rice steamer to figure out how long the rice will take. Oh-forgot to say that-start some rice. (or as the end of the recipe says “serve over boiled white rice.”

Add meat balls to sauce, cover and refrigerate. (Right-making this the same day, toss meatballs in sauce and heat through)

You are supposed to add a dollop of chutney-but I didn’t have any in the house and in my experience-I buy it for one recipe and then don’t need it for far longer than it takes to start looking sketchy or break falling out of our refrigerator.

Result: Denise and Mama both enjoyed their dinner-paired with the Caesar Green Beans which I will post tomorrow.


  1. so…as i mentioned on twitter…i’m going to nakedjen(ify) this recipe (because now i’m inspired!) and share it back with you. i’ve got an idea for the meatballs and for the curry. so it will be yet a further step from this, but we’ll see what happens.

    of course i moved over the weekend, so things are a bit chaotic right now and it may be a bit before this happens. but it WILL happen. xox

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