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I am just back from Doha where I had a few days of intensive eating, although not camel this time! However, because I was in the region and because my hotel was packed with Saudi families, having crossed the border to celebrate Eid in Qatar, I thought I would post a Saudi recipe for camel kabab which is actually the best way to eat camel unless you are having the hump. The good news is that you can now get camel meat in the UK from either Exotic Meats or Kezie Foods. You can of course skip the camel meat and make the kabab with lamb or beef but you won’t have a fun talking point over your meal. The traditional recipe calls for millet flakes but I use millet grains because it makes for a prettier presentation as you can see in the picture above. The grains also give the meatballs a nicer texture. So there you go, a recipe for meatballs with a difference. Hope you enjoy them!

Kabab el-Miro (Camel Kabab)

Serves 6-8

For the tahini dip

100 ml tahini

juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed

sea salt

for the tamarind dip:

200 g tamarind

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped

For the kabab

500 g camel (or lamb) meat

175 g millet grains

6 garlic cloves, crushed

½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

sunflower oil for deep frying

To make the tahini dip: Put the tahini in a mixing bowl and gradually, and alternately, stir in the lemon juice and 60 ml water. Disconcertingly, the tahini will first thicken, despite the fact you are adding liquid. But do not worry, it will soon start to dilute again. Taste the dip before you use all the lemon juice. This way you can adjust the tartness to your liking — if you use less lemon juice, make up for the loss of liquid by adding more water. Keep stirring until the sauce has the consistency of double cream. Add the crushed garlic and salt to taste and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. 

To make the tamarind sauce: Soak the tamarind in 350 ml hot water. Once the tamarind has softened (it will take about half an hour), mash it in the water then strain it  pressing on the pulp to extract as much flavour as possible. Add the seasonings and fresh herbs. Mix well.

To make the camel kabab: Put the meat and millet grains in a mixing bowl. Add the crushed garlic, spices and salt to taste and mix well. Shape the meat into small balls, each the size of a walnut and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes while you heat the oil for frying. When the oil is very hot, drop in as many meat balls as will fit comfortably in the pan. Fry until the grains are golden and the meatballs are cooked through. Remove onto several layers of kitchen paper to drain off the oil. Serve with both the tahini  and tamarind dips.

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