Mtewem / M’thouem ~ An Algerian dish of meatballs and chickpeas in a red sauce packed full of garlic and finished with toasted flaked almonds.
First things first, you have to really like garlic (3/4 of a bulb in 1 dish type like garlic) to enjoy Mtewem.
I’ve come to know Mtewem, also spelled M’thouem is sometimes made with a ‘white’ sauce i.e. without tomato paste or paprika BUT as both these ingredients pair well with garlic and because I like my dishes colourful I kept them.
I adapted my recipe from The Teal Tadjine, Hénia adds breadcrumbs, eggs to bind and water when making the meatballs to make sure they remain moist. Whilst I have nothing against adding breadcrumbs to meatballs, I know someone who has so, I left all three out as eggs and water seemed redundant now I wasn’t using breadcrumbs. I also reduced the amount of meat and garlic to make fewer meatballs as I wanted to serve fewer people.
The flaked almonds give this dish added texture and they are good for your health, win-win.
Mtewem I’m told is often served during Ramadan in Algeria so I plan on adding it this year to my relaxed menu here in the UK, in shaa Allah.