Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce

Last week, the boys were on spring break (does anyone remember when spring break was actually in Spring?) and we decided as a family to staycation the week instead of braving the crowds at Disney or spending money on traveling. With 5 acres, 2 dogs, 10 chickens, 150 koi fish, it costs us more than just the flight + hotel to travel somewhere. We gotta pay someone responsible to watch over the compound when we’re gone. Plus, this year, we’re toying with the idea of taking the boys to Hong Kong/Laos/Cambodia and a summer trip to see Redwood National Park in California.

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

Plus, Scott and I are headed to Pebble Beach Wine Festival, IACP in San Francisco in a few weeks. Oh and BlogHer Food in Austin, BlogHer in Chicago, Food Blogger Connect in London. This, all before August.

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

So, home we were last week….and it was a week of indulging in the kitchen. We had guests over for grilled lobsters, steamed mussels, skirt steak and meatballs. All different meals, of course! Scott’s birthday party potluck was thrown in there somewhere too. All I know is that last Friday, on recycle pick-up day, our bin overfloweth and I was quite embarrassed to put out SO MANY empties –  so I divided the bottles into two piles, one for last week and one for this week’s pick-up.

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

One of the recipes we tried for the party was an Arabian dish – Kofta, or Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce. It’s from a cookbook called “Modern Flavors of Arabia” by Suzanne Husseini, one of most popular cooking show personalities in the Middle East. The sweet and sour cherry sauce complemented the rich lamb meatballs (though of course you could use ground pork/beef/chicken/turkey instead).

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

I rehydrated dried cherries in honey and lemon (also – ahem, I may or may not have added a little splash of Brandy). The sauce simmers quietly while the meatballs cook in the oven or on the stove.

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

It’s a fabulous party food – skewer each meatball with a cute pick.

Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe Video


Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce

Servings: 8-10 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
Kofta Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce Recipe

Feel free to sub the lamb with ground meat of your choice.



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped (or 2 tablespoons diced red onion)
1 cup dried cherries
3 teaspoons honey
splash of Brandy (optional)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup sparkling water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil


To make the Cherry Sauce

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and shallot and saute until tender. Add the cherries, honey, lemon juice, water and cinnamon and bring mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the mint.

To make the Meatballs
Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground lamb, sparkling water, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper. Mix lightly to incorporate all ingredients. Form mixture into small meatballs.

In a large frying pan over medium high, add olive oil. Add meatballs and fry, turning often to brown all over, about 5-7 minutes. You might have to cook meatballs in batches if your pan is too small. After browning all the meatballs, place meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 10 minutes to cook through. Drizzle with the cherry sauce just before serving.



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Comments 50

  1. [email protected]

    These look delicious! I love meatballs especially lamb and pork meatballs. These are a must make.

  2. Alaiyo Kiasi-Barnes

    This dish looks both elegant and fun to eat. Although I don’t eat lamb (I’m a pescetarian), I’m thinking this presentation would work with salmon “meatballs”? I’m pretty sure I would have to use different flavors with the salmon, but the presentation is so captivating. These Kofta meatballs look like edible jewels!


  3. Maryann

    My, my, my do those look good! I love new recipes for meatballs. Everyone loves ’em, but they can get blah after a while. Same old, same old. These are such a fresh idea and will give a unexpected flavor profile. Can’t wait to try ’em. Oh and we do the same thing with the bottles…some weeks are just yikes!

  4. Rana @ Pretty in the Kitchen

    I recently just started my own food blog and always love checking out other food blogs for inspiration. I came accross yours and loved it! This recipe looks absolutely delicious! Growing up in a Middle Eastern family, we always made kufta meatballs/kabobs. I’m always looking for new ways to make kufta! I will definitely have to try this recipe!

  5. Lauren | Sweet Splendor

    I haven’t even read your actual post yet because just by “eating with my eyes” this looks insanely delicious! I am salivating and it’s only 10 in the morning! Ok…I’m gonna read your actual text now 🙂

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  7. Chris

    Hilarious about separating your recycle. That is a riot. I’m heading to FL next week for a week on the beach and was just thinking that I’d rather stay home. Pfft.

  8. Spikeygrrl

    I love of Middle Eastern flavors, especially lamb applications, so I will definitely make these soon!

    Just curious: Why sparkling water? Don’t all the bubbles just get squished out when you mix the meatball ingredients? I’m really looking forward to an answer on this one, because the only application I’ve encountered before using sparkling water in a cooked recipe is interchangeable with beer to make light, air batter for deep-frying.

    Just goes to show, “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.”

  9. Kat

    Made these yesterday for my husband who has been out of town on tour! He said he feels like he’s eating in a five star restaurant! Yummy! These would be great for a party! I didn’t have sparkling – but used water – learned that this is common in meatballs when googling for substitutions. I also made your bruschetta with ricotta, prosciutto, arugla drizzled with honey the day before! Looking for something for today… Tomorrow we start a 21 day cleanse – we want to go out on a bang!

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