Lovers of this plate argue that it is the most delicious among the whole meatballs family. Even if this statement is somewhat excessive – but maybe it isn’t – one thing is certain: Cypriot meatballs have a unique character, crafted by the flavours of East, that makes them so seductive. Once you have tasted them, their smell will tempt you and soon enough you will be amazed by how you ate more than ten in no time.
Cypriot meatballs are not small in size nor they are round, like the typical meatballs. Their hearty personality prefers to be identified by its chubby oval shape. They are made of pork mince or a mixture of pork and beef mince, in which thinly grated potato is added, an ingredient that differentiates their creation from any similar recipes. They give away an intense smell of spearmint and cinnamon that defines both the taste and aftertaste. I was lucky to be present in “the making of” while attending a surprise dinner, Ι tried them the moment after they were off the pan and Ι must say that they have earned their place here. Extremely tasty, they were made of pork mince and they were eaten while still hot with fries and yogurt on the side. However, in Cyprus they are usually served with pilau made by sauté’ noodles, similar to the rice with orzo recipe that accompanies the beef with quinces from Chios.
Here, I share my Cypriot friend’s Catherine original recipe, precisely as she made it. Carefully checking all the proportions she aimed to create the exact unique taste she has preserved in her memory as a child. In case you haven’t tried them already, I suggest you put them in your food planner as soon as possible.
Preparation: 20-25 minutes plus the time they need to remain in the fridge and 20-25 minutes to be fried. Use a large pan. Easy recipe.
Ingredients (for 5-6 people)
1kg pork mince
2 medium potatoes grated and well-drained
3 slices of yesterday’ bread soaked in milk and drained
1 medium onion finely chopped (put it in the blender for seconds)
½-⅔ small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tsps dried spearmint
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tbsps vinegar
salt, freshly grated black pepper
plenty of frying oil (almost ½ lt)
some spearmint leaves or parsley and yogurt for the serving
To prepare the mince: In a bowl mix all the ingredients well. Check the salt and pepper. Cover with transparent film and leave for 30-40 minutes in the fridge.
Το shape the meatballs: Take a moderate amount of mince with your hands and create elongated oval meatballs approximately 7×3.5 cm. Have them ready in line.
To fry: Place a large pan with enough oil to half cover the meatballs (about a 2 cm depth) in medium-high heat . Add the meatballs carefully (fill the pan in units, making sure that they are not too close with each other) and fry them for 8-10 minutes. Turn them upside down once.
Note 1: When you put the meatballs in the oil, its temperature will fall. If you put them one by one you will have less temperature reduction.
Note 2: After you have put all the meatballs in the oil and when the temperature has been retrieved, lower in medium heat if needed.
Τo serve: Decorate a platter with some parsley or spearmint leaves and add some yogurt on the side. Cypriot meatballs are usually paired with some rice cooked with noodles. We made ours with fries.