These juicy little meatballs are commonly served as part of a meze platter in Greece. A simple tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber dip) would be the perfect accompaniment.
- 1 large tomato
- 700 g (1½ lbs) beef mince or combination of beef mince
- 2 large red onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ground dried Greek mint
- salt and pepper
- ¾-1 cup milk
- ¼-½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, for dredging
- olive oil, for frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The meatballs may be made several hours ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature.
Resting time: 1-6 hours
1. Grate the tomato: Keep the tomato whole and unpeeled, cut off a quarter-size piece from the root end and begin grating the tomato into a bowl along the teeth of a coarse cheese grater.
2. Combine the ground meat and onions in a mixing bowl. Add the tomato, mint, salt and pepper, and knead well for about three minutes to combine. Pour in the milk and continue kneading until the liquid is completely absorbed. If the mixture is so loose that the keftedes do not retain their shape, add a few tablespoons of plain fine breadcrumbs.
3. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour or up to six, so that the flavors meld.
4. Season the flour with salt and pepper and spread out onto a large plate. Have a second, clean plate ready. Take a tablespoon at a time of the meat mixture and form into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Roll in the flour and shake dry in the palm of your hand. Place the dredges meatball on the clean plate. Continue with remaining mixture until all the meatballs are shaped.
5. Heat about one inch of olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Using a tablespoon or small spatula, gently place as many meatballs as will fit in the pan without crowding. Fry, turning once or twice so that all sides are browned. Remove, drain slightly on paper towels and serve, either hot or at room temperature.