While I was growing up, one of my favourite dishes was ouma onder die komberse, which are simply meatballs wrapped and cooked in cabbage leaves – easy, meaty and delicious. Home cooking doesn’t get more basic or more satisfying than this old favourite. But I have to say that I love good old meatballs in all their incarnations, especially served over a large bowl of spaghetti, packed into a baguette with tons of tomato sauce and topped with oozy melted mozzarella (sure to send you into a food coma), or my new fiery Asian-inspired version. I hope you’ll love the two recipes below as much as I do.
Meatball and mozzarella sub
To make the meatballs: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Combine 350 g mince with 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 grated onion, 2 T roughly chopped oregano, 2 T roughly chopped parsley, 50 g freshly grated Parmesan, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Roll the mince mixture into balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Place the meatballs on a baking tray with ¼ cup of water and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until done (the water renders some of the fat and is used to flavour my tomato sauce, below).
Remove from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes while you make the tomato sauce.
To make the tomato sauce: Heat 2 T olive oil over a medium heat. Add 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves and add to the pan along with 2 t red chilli flakes and 2 T roughly chopped oregano. Once the garlic is cooked, add 2 cups passata sauce, 1 T brown sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding the meatballs and the cooking liquid from the baking tray. Warm the meatballs through before arranging them in a mini baguette and topping with sliced fresh mozzarella. Grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown.
These pork and prawn meatballs with fiery sweet-chilli sauce are also fantastic on a sub (if your face isn’t covered in the sauce by the time you’ve finished, you haven’t eaten it properly), or serve them with noodles or steamed rice.
For the Asian-inspired meatballs: Heat 2 T canola oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Combine 350 g pork mince with 10 prawns that have been roughly chopped. Add 2 roughly chopped spring onion stalks, 2 finely chopped red chillies, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 x 2 cm piece grated ginger, 2 t fish sauce and 1 t toasted sesame oil. Roll the mince mixture into golf-ball-sized meatballs and cook in the pan until firm and cooked in the centre.
For the sweet-chilli sauce: Combine 4 T hoisin sauce, 4 T oyster sauce, 2 T sambal oelek and 2 T soya sauce.
Smother the meatballs with the sauce before garnishing with thin slices of spring onion, fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds.