Frikkadels – South African braised meat balls – is a popular comfort food. This easy recipe will give you great results every time. Just make sure you get all the ingredients together before you get started – as there are quite a few spices involved!

1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground lamb
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons low-sodium beef bouillon granules
1 medium onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Grind the whole fennel and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle until a coarse consistency, or place them in a small Ziploc bag and hammer with a meat mallet – smooth side.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients in the order given. Mix well so that everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop – or a 1/3 cup measure – roll into balls then press slightly so they resemble chubby hamburgers – 2″ in diameter – 3/4″ thick.
  4. At this stage you can freeze them as you would hamburgers. To cook – heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown on both sides.
  5. Use the pan juice to fry up some sliced onion and make a rich onion gravy.
  6. Return the patties to the gravy and cook on low until no longer pink.
  7. Serve on top of creamy garlic mashed potatoes or pasta.

Instead of onion gravy you can simmer them in a curry sauce made of fried onion, garlic, curry powder, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes – in even quantities – and serve on basmati rice.

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