Daoud Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

August 27, 2019

Dawood or Daoud Basha is the most famous Levantine stew made of meatballs flavoured with Arabic spices (allspice and cinnamon) and stewed in tomato and pomegranate molasses sauce. Simple and delicious!

I am back with yet another Lebanese recipe! :-)

Daoud Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

Meatballs are a concept in every culture and are served in limitless ways, isn't it? I first came across this recipe under "recommended for you" videos on Youtube (maybe post my random research about the Don ;-P) and I made a mental note to try it because I had all the ingredients required already in my kitchen! You know me now, I am a sucker for allspice and pomegranate molasses! :-P

I don't want to mention the history behind the name of the dish as there are different versions for it and I shall leave that for the historians. The speculated and rumoured history with no substantial proof on why this dish is called after the man was another reason I wanted to try Daoud Basha! The first reason being it is a Lebanese recipe and it uses allspice and pomegranate molasses.

Daoud Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

When I tried this first-time last year, I followed Ream's Kitchen Youtube video that showed up on my feed and also borrowed the idea of adding potato from my favourite blogger, Sawsan. I made them again this year in my Abu Dhabi kitchen and showed step by step process on Stories and Highlights but only one of you shared your recreation. I understand sourcing the ingredients or not knowing if you will ever use it again could be a reason not to try but if you ever land up with allspice and pomegranate molasses, I can assure you there are a few keeper recipes that will help you use them up.

How to make the meatballs for Daoud Basha?

You don't need breadcrumbs to make meatballs! These meatballs are made with ground meat with fat so you don't need a binder like flour, egg or breadcrumbs. It tastes better this way than adding those binders but you can tweak as per the kind of meat you have. All you need to do is mix all the meatballs ingredients thoroughly so the flavour is distributed evenly. Make equal sized balls and keep them refrigerated until needed or you can sear them immediately with some olive oil on medium to high flame.

If you are the kind who washes the ground meat, then give it enough time to drain completely else chances of them breaking is high.

How to make the Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

The sauce starts with sauteing some onions and garlic that are finely chopped along with the flavours of allspice and cinnamon. I have ground the tomatoes for personal preference but you can use chopped too. You will also need some tomato paste to intensify the tomato flavour and bring that bright colour to the stew. If you don't have the paste, you can add a ripe tomato and dash of sugar to balance the taste. And lastly good tablespoonful of pomegranate molasses!

What is a substitute for Allspice and Pomegranate Molasses?

You can replace allspice powder with pumpkin spice mix or use a dash of cinnamon and clove powder. For Pomegranate molasses, the best alternative would be tamarind paste with some sugar.

The stew comes together with the addition of pan-seared meatballs, pan-fried potatoes and some bell peppers. Served hot with rice is the best way to have Daoud Basha! I have compiled a video using images and short clips of the making of Daoud Basha and have uploaded on youtube for ease.



Daoud Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce 

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs:
550 grams of ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 medium onion, diced finely
3 big garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 green chilli, chopped finely
Handful parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon allspice powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to sear

For the fried Potato chunks:
Olive oil to pan-fry
1 large potato, cubed

For the Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce:
1 medium onion, diced finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon allspice powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 large tomatoes, pureed or chopped finely
1 and 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
all of the seared meatballs
Water to submerge the meatballs
All of the pan-fried potato chunks
Half a bell pepper (any colour), chopped
Salt and pepper
fistful Parsley leaves to garnish

METHOD

Sear the Meatballs:
  1. If you want to wash the ground meat, then give it enough time to drain completely else chances of them breaking is high. I don't wash the ground meat. 
  2. Mix all the meatballs ingredients and make 18 to 20 equal-sized balls.
  3. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and brown all of the meatballs stirring carefully. You can do in batches so it is easy to stir and sear evenly.
  4. Remove the meatballs and keep aside.
Prepare the fried Potato chunks:
  1. Add more olive oil to the same pan
  2. Pan-fry the potato chunks until done
  3. Remove and keep aside
Prepare the Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce:
  1. Purée 2 large tomatoes and keep ready for sauce or feel free to use as finely chopped tomatoes
  2. Heat more olive oil in the same pan 
  3. Saute the finely chopped onions and garlic 
  4. Add the spice powders along with some salt and saute for few minutes
  5. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste and let it boil 
  6. Stir in the pomegranate molasses 
  7. Place all the meatballs carefully in a single layer
  8. Pour enough water to partially submerge the meatballs 
  9. Cover and cook on low flame for 20 to 30 mins till the meat is cooked and the sauce starts to thicken
  10. Do stir the stew in between 
  11. Add the fried potatoes and bell peppers 
  12. Taste and adjust the spices and salt 
  13. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens
  14. Garnish with parsley leaves 
  15. Serve hot with white rice
Lebanese meatballs in tomato pomegranate molasses sauce are best served warm with warm plain basmati rice. You can make ahead and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Daoud Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

Serve this along with some Tabbouleh and indulge in some sweet Layali Lubnan!

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