This recipe for dawood basha (also known as daoud basha) is a hearty combination of Lebanese meatballs in a tomato sauce. It’s full of flavor, spiced beautifully and a complete comfort meal.
What is dawood basha?
Dawood basha (also known as daoud basha) is a Lebanese classic dish of meatballs in tomato sauce, sometimes with chunks of potatoes.
Legend has it the dish was created for a high ranking official (known as a basha) that ruled over Lebanon and Iraq. I agree that it is a dish that impresses!
Dawood basha is basically the Middle Eastern or Lebanese way of having meatballs. Instead of serving it with pasta, it’s served with vermicelli or plain rice.
How do you make Lebanese meatballs?
It’s all in the simple ingredients used to flavor the meat. For the meat itself, you can use beef, lamb or a 50/50 mix of both. I used all beef when making this.
Parsley is commonly added to meat in the Middle East, as well as mixed spices (seven spices), a little cinnamon powder, salt and pepper for flavor, and an onion. Dice the onion dry finely or grate it so you don’t get obvious chunks in the meatballs. Add garlic too, and a little fresh green chili pepper for heat if you like.
How do you make the tomato sauce?
There are a lot of different takes on this. Commonly, tomatoes are blanched so that they can be peeled. That takes way too much time, so I never ever do this. I just chop tomatoes peel and all!
Add the chopped tomatoes to a skillet in which onions and garlic have been softened in olive oil, and let them simmer until softened and breaking apart. To enhance the tomato flavor, we add tomato paste that we dissolved in chicken or beef stock. A hint of pomegranate molasses is added to give a tangy flavor. I love this ingredient!
How do you cook the meatballs?
Brown the meatballs to get the best flavor, a few minutes each side till browned. They don’t need to fully cook, because they will cook in the tomato sauce for another 15 minutes or so.
What to serve Dawood basha with?
This dish is best served with rice. I like having it with plain basmati, or with vermicelli rice. You can find an easy recipe for perfect vermicelli rice here. You can also do a simple side salad if you like, but this meal definitely stands up on its own.
How to store leftovers:
Let me start off by saying next day leftovers taste amazing. I think the time really gives the stew a chance to develop in flavor.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the stew for up to 3 months, or freeze cooked or raw meatballs before continuing in the steps to make the stew.
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground beef, lamb or a mix of both 500 g
- 1/2 onion, diced finely or grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green chili pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
- handful parsley, chopped
- 1.5 tsp seven spices, allspice or mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
For the stew:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
- 2 potatoes chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bouillon stock cube (chicken or beef)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- big pinch seven spices or mixed spices
- salt and pepper to taste
To make the meatballs:
- Mix together all the meatball ingredients, it’s easiest to use your hands. Form into equal sized balls, between the size of cherries and golf balls, and place in fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
For the stew:
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat and brown the meatballs, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Pan fry the potato chunks until golden brown, they don’t need to cook through. Remove from pan.
- Wipe out the pan and add olive oil. Sauté the onion for 3-4 min or until softened, then add the tomatoes and garlic. Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until tomatoes are breaking down.
- Mix together the tomato paste, stock cube and water and add to the pan. Add the pomegranate molasses, spices, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the potato cubes back in and cook for 10-15 mins, then add the meatballs and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until everything’s cooked through.
- Serve with plain or vermicelli rice (Recipe linked in recipe notes), garnished with parsley and toasted pine nuts or almond slivers if desired.
Dawood Basha by everylittlecrumb on Jumprope.
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