Spicy Meatballs with Adjika and Yogurt

July 27, 2016


  • 4 red chilies, deseeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dill fronds
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tomatoes, deseeded
  • 1 slice white bread, crusts removed
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 250 grams (1 cup) minced pork
  • 250 grams (1 cup) minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon barberries
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Greek yogurt, to serve


For the adjika

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend to a chunky paste. The flavour will become more rounded and mellow if you make the paste in advance and leave to sit for a while.

For the meatballs

Soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a large bowl and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly.

Mash together the bread and milk to make a paste, then mix this into the meatball mixture.

Roll into meatballs; I like them golf-ball sized.

Heat a slick of oil in a frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Start at a high heat to brown the outside, then lower the temperature until the meat is cooked through.

Serve with the adjika and a generous dollop of yogurt.

About this recipe

Adjika, literally “red salt”, is a spicy and fragrant pepper paste from Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. You’ll find it completely addictive and you’ll be using it as a condiment for everything, as they do in Abkhazia. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

  • Spicy Meatballs with Adjika and Yogurt
  • Samarkand Cookbook
  • Spicy Meatballs with Adjika and Yogurt
  • Samarkand Cookbook