Dawood Basha - Lebanese meatballs in tomato sauce

A small slice of land wedged on the edge of Asia, Lebanon sits on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It's a really tiny country, roughly the size of "Ile de France".  Lebanon had once been called (the self-proclaimed) Switzerland and Paris of the East.

It is said that the one thing that unites all Lebanese is the love of eating. Lebanese cuisine is abundant and generous, stemming from the tradition of preparing food with love and providing family and friends with much more than could possibly be consumed. A traditional Lebanese meal has many small courses, starting with a mezze (the Lebanese version of antipasti), a selection of small portions of dips, pickles, salads and khibbitz (Arabic bread). The main course is usually grilled meats, accompanied by bread, spiced rice and any remaining mezze. Dessert may entail a selection of sweets including baklava, and other variations of filo pastry combined with nuts and sweet honey-style syrup. To complete a meal, Turkish style black coffee is served.

This dish gets its name from the Ottoman pasha Dawood who governed Lebanon in the 18th century.
The dish is easy to make, tender, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs with a simple tomato sauce over rice, is irresistibly good.

Ingredients (serves 6):

For the sauce:
3 medium onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 can (400g - 15oz) of crushed tomato
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 cup water

For the meatballs:
2 lbs (1kg) finely minced lean meat
1 medium onion, peeled and grated
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1 dash ground cinnamon
a handful of toasted pine nuts

Mix meat well with grated onion, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Divide meat into 1 inch diameter balls.

Heat some oil in a skillet and saute the onions and a dash of salt on moderate heat until soft and brown. Set aside.

In the same skillet, saute the meatballs on both sides until browned and cooked. Add the sliced onions, the crushed tomato, the pomegranate molasses and the water. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid is reduced.

Serve on a bed of rice and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Daoud Bacha - Boulettes de viande libanaises à la sauce tomate

Ingrédients (6 personnes):

Pour la sauce:
3 oignons, émincés
2 gousses d'ail
3 càs d'huile d'olive
1 boîte (400g) de tomate pelée
1 càc de mélasse de grenade
235 ml (1 tasse) d'eau 

Pour les boulettes:
1kg de viande finement hachée
1 oignon, pelé et râpé
1 càs de sel
1 càc de mélange 4 épices
1 pincée de cannelle
une poignée de pignons de pin toastés

Mélangez la viande avec l'oignon râpé, le sel, le mélange 4 épices et la cannelle. Formez des boulettes.

Faites chauffer un peu d'huile dans une sauteuse et faites revenir les oignons émincés avec une pincée de sel à feu moyen jusqu'à coloration. Réservez.

Dans la même sauteuse, faites revenir les boulettes sur les deux côtés jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient bien colorées. Ajoutez les oignons émincés, la boîte de tomate, la mélasse de grenade, et l'eau. Laissez mijoter à feu doux environ 20 minutes jusqu'à rédcution de l'eau.

Servez avec du riz et parsemez de pignons de pin toastés.


  1. I like the simple, homely aspect to this dish... so warm and comforting.

  2. Those look delicious! I am a sucker for meatball dishes.



  3. wow.. this is great.. I know I'll love this meatball.. thx for sharing this great recipe dear ^,^

  4. une délicieuse sauce à la mélasse !

  5. I recently made this dish and my kids ate it in "2 temps 3 mouvements!"
    Great comfort food!

  6. Meatballs are so good, and very underrated. I am happy to come across a meatball recipe, because it doesn't happen often enough.

  7. They do look irresistibly good served over white rice. I love the sauce recipe.

  8. I simply love this..and I can't add more! I love it!!

  9. I adore these spices together - I think I was meant to come from a different part of the world ;)

  10. I love those meatballs...glad to have joined your blog

  11. Il met l'eau à la bouche ton plat!!

  12. This looks really yummy! Will try this instead of my typical kafta recipe next time :)


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