Here is an ever-popular, finger-food, ideal for any party or BBQ. Summer, winter, it doesn’t matter. Savory meatballs are popular at any time of the year and appeal to all ages. And in all countries. Our savory meatballs are baked (healthier) easy to prepare, incorporate some great spices and are served with an easy, yogurt-based dipping sauce.
Don’t underestimate the appeal of meatballs. Seriously, can you think of anyone that doesn’t enjoy them? Kids love them because they are soft and they think they are cool! There are even vegetarian versions!
When I was growing up, there was definitely an assumption that meatballs were associated with spaghetti, served with a rich tomato-based sauce and therefore very Italian. No doubt about it! But was this true?
When I was growing up (yes I’m old, it was during the 1960’s) there was a huge Italian influence on our cuisine. It was way before Asian and Middle-Eastern foods or even before any other European influence came to the fore. Italian was the first cuisine to have an influence outside of the strong British influence on the Australian food landscape. Add to this the prevalence of lots of American television where meatballs often featured, it is no surprise that most people did associate meatballs with Italy. But is this true?
Where did Savory Meatballs Originate?
Luckily I’ve been able to visit a few countries since growing up in the 1960’s and I now realise that savory meatballs are eaten in most places around the world, albeit with their own local variations. So where did savory meatballs originate from?
Indonesia? Bakso (Indonesian meatball) was beloved by President Obama as a child.
China? Wikipedia says that Four Joy Meatballs were known to be an existence as far back as 200BC. That’s pretty ancient.
Persia? Legend has it that Persia was the origin of all meatballs. The word Kofta originates here and is a word commonly used from Romania to Bangladesh and all countries in between.
Hard to tell really, but it is unlikely that meatballs originated in Italy.
Savory Meatballs Enjoyed all over the World
Regardless of where it originated from, meatballs are universally enjoyed all around the world. Savory meatballs have always been popular as a little minced meat can go a long way when mixed with bread, vegetables, herbs and spices.
Savory meatballs are usually meat-based and any meat works. Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, goat, take your pick they are all popular! But vegetarians don’t despair, why should you miss out on all the fun? Meatballs can be made with tempeh, mushrooms or lentils for example. Meatballs can be fried, baked, boiled, poached or steamed.
Meatballs can be served in soup, wrapped in wonton wrappers and served as dim sum, added to sauce and served with spaghetti, baked and served with baked vegetables. The options are endless. Even meatloaf is a large version of meatballs if you think about it.