These are very aromatic, very delicious meatballs served in both Greek and Turkish cultures. The Greek name “Soutzoukakia Smirneika” means spicy little sausages from Izmir. They are not round like meatballs but have an oblong shape like a little sausage.
For the oriental meatballs
- Cut the bread in to small cubes and place in a bowl.
- Add the wine, stir and let them soak for about 10 minutes, until the core has softened also. Set aside until needed.
- In a separate bowl, add the ground meat, parsley, ground cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Lift the bread from the bowl and squeeze to release as much wine as possible. Reserve the wine.
- Add the bread to the ground meat and mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are combined. You can refrigerate for 1-2 days.
- Shape the mixture in to long, oval shaped meatballs. This is the traditional shape of these oriental meatballs.
- Place a pan over medium heat and add a generous amount of vegetable oil.
- Dredge the meatballs in some flour and gently knead them before adding them to the hot oil.
- Fry until they are golden on one side, flip over and fry until golden on the other side.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to drain from excess oil.
For tomato sauce
- Place a wide pot over medium to high heat and add the butter.
- As soon as it melts and starts to sizzle, add the sage.
- Add the oriental meatballs, the reserved wine from the soaked bread, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, canned tomatoes and water.
- Stir gently just to combine and add the cinnamon.
- Lower heat, cover pot and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
For the rice
- Place a pan over high heat.
- Add the butter and let it turn slightly golden brown.
- Add the sage and boiled rice.
- Stir, season to taste and serve.