Adam Liaw's Mexican meatballs

Adam Liaw
Mexican meatballs ready to be rolled up in tortillas.
Mexican meatballs ready to be rolled up in tortillas. Photo: William Meppem

These meatballs can be served with rice, tortillas, corn chips or even pasta if you felt so inclined. 


  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 3 slices wholemeal bread
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g tomato passata

To serve 

  • soft flour tortillas
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • diced red onion
  • grated cheese
  • Tabasco sauce


  1. To make the meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil  in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add one of the chopped onions, the carrot and the zucchini to the pan and cook until the vegetables release their liquid and start to fry (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Place the bread in a small food processor and process to coarse breadcrumbs. Combine the breadcrumbs, cooked vegetables, beef, paprika, oregano, cumin and salt in a large bowl and mix well. With wet hands, form large meatballs and place on a lined tray. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed lidded casserole dish over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining onion. Fry for about a minute then add the garlic. Fry for a further minute then add the passata and bring to a simmer. 
  4. While the tomato sauce is simmering, heat a little olive oil in a frypan and fry the meatballs until evenly browned all over, then drop them into the sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. 
  5. Serve with tortillas, lettuce, onion, cheese and Tabasco. 

Serves 4

This recipe is from Good Food's new TV show, Good Food Kitchen, premiering on Channel 9 at 1pm Saturday, October 9, or catch up on 9Now.