Persian Meatballs over Saffron Rice

  1. Using your hands, combine the minced beef with the cooked rice, red onion, garlic, parsley, chives, coriander, basil, turmeric, cranberries and egg and generously season with salt and pepper.
  2. Form the minced beef mixture into meatballs about the size of golf balls.
  3. Heat a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and fry the meatballs for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown all over.
  4. To make the meatball sauce heat a splash of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat and cook the onions until they are soft and lightly golden.
  5. Add the garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and tomato paste and fry for an additional minute.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce the heat and place the meatballs into the sauce, gently simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.
  8. In the meantime, make the saffron rice. In a jug, combine saffron threads and boiling water and allow to steep for about 5 minutes.
  9. In a medium saucepan, combine saffron water with the basmati rice and chicken stock, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
  10. Squeeze the lemon juice over the Persian meatballs before serving and spoon meatballs and sauce over the saffron rice. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, pomegranate rubies and serve with cool yoghurt.


  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 15g fresh chives, chopped
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 15g fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2/3 cup frozen and thawed cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Plain yoghurt, for serving
  • Pomegranate rubies, for garnish
  • Mint leaves, for garnish

Meatball sauce:

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saffron rice:

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • Generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt
General Info
Prep: 30 min
Cooking: 30 min
Ready In: 1h
Servings: 6 people
Tips & Tricks

Gently cook the meatballs in the sauce over a longer period of time to allow the flavours of the sauce to develop.