There are some foods that my husband and I really miss from our years living in Israel.
Fresh produce. (Yup, any and all of it.)
Pita. Fresh, soft, squishy.
Falafel. No — I mean good falafel. Really good.
And ketzitzot — those rank up there, too.
If you’re unfamiliar, ketzitzot are essentially spicy meatballs. A smokey Israeli, Middle Eastern flavor erupts from every scrumptious bite.
Ketzizot seem to be something that most Israelis learn how to make in the way that Americans learn to make scrambled eggs. Which means that as an American, my eggs rock, but my spicy meatballs – not so much.
Until I tried this recipe from the very funny How to Be Israeli blog (sadly no longer active) — and we all ate in total, appreciative silence.
Israeli Meatballs with Tahini, AKA Ketzitzot with Tahina
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey or beef (you could use veal to be authentic – but I’m not a fan of veal)
- 1 cup freshly chopped parsley
- 1 onion, grated (ask your husband to do this if grater + onion = you crying like a baby)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg
- 3-4 tablespoons bread crumbs
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sumac (if you can’t readily find this earthy spice, try Whole Foods, or a Middle Eastern grocer in your area)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup tahina paste (I use Joyva)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- salt to taste
Combine all ingredients for meatballs and then shape into oval-shaped balls – I tried to make mine come to a point on the ends, but that’s apparently the Israeli touch I couldn’t master.
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan — you are frying, not deep frying. Fry on high until firm and golden brown — be sure to flip them frequently so they don’t burn on one side.
Meanwhile, put all the tahina ingredients except for the parsley in the food processor and process until smooth. If it’s too thick, add water. Add in the roughly chopped parsley at the end.
Plate the meatballs, the drizzle with tahina.
If you like this recipe, I’d love for you to pin it.
Are you a fan of Israeli food? What’s your favorite dish? Please share any and all recipes below as well!