Persian Jewelled Rice and Spicy Lamb Meatballs
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5 from 4 votes

Persian Jewelled Rice and Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Delicious Persian Jewelled Rice and Spicy Lamb Meatballs – sounds like a wonderful meal, but a lot of hassle, right? Actually no! This impressive meal is a cinch to make and takes just 30 minutes – perfect for a midweek treat or a hassle-free dinner party - promise I won’t tell ;-)
Course Main Course, Meatballs
Cuisine Fusion, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Persian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 847kcal
Author Eb Gargano


Spicy Lamb Meatballs

  • 700 g lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika ideally smoked
  • Salt and pepper

Meatball Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed or grated
  • 2 cm ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground, or seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika ideally smoked
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped (plus extra for garnish)

Persian Jewelled Rice

  • 2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
  • Pinch saffron
  • 600 ml boiling water
  • 1 onion sliced
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 8 cardamom pods gently bashed (use a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 semi-dried apricots finely chopped
  • 300 g basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons mint finely chopped
  • 100 g pomegranate seeds (roughly 1/2 a pomegranate)
  • Zest of 1 orange


  • Start by preparing the meatballs. Pre-heat your grill to medium high, then mix together all the meatball ingredients thoroughly with your hands and shape into 30 balls. Place the meatballs on a grill tray and cook for 4 minutes on each side (8 minutes in total). Remove from the grill and set aside until needed.
  • While the meatballs are grilling, make the rice. Start by placing the saffron in a jug and pouring over the boiling water. Next, gently fry the onions in the oil for 3 minutes until softened. Add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods together with the apricots, and cook over a low heat for 2 more minutes. Add the rice and the saffron-infused water and cook for 8 minutes on a low heat with the lid on. After 8 minutes turn the heat off, but leave the lid on until you serve the rice.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the meatball sauce. Gently fry the onions in the oil for 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and other spices and cook on a low heat for 2 more minutes. Add the coconut milk and tomato puree, plus a little salt and pepper, and heat until bubbling. Gently drop in the meatballs and heat until bubbling again, spooning the sauce over the meatballs to coat them. When bubbling, stir in the chopped coriander and remove from the heat.
  • Place the rice in a serving bowl and top with the mint, pomegranate seeds and orange zest, serve with the meatballs and any other side dishes you fancy, such as my Middle-Eastern Inspired Salad.


Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.


Calories: 847kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 435mg | Potassium: 1198mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1870IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 8.2mg