Cochin Tapas 

The Dutch have a rich tapestry of spice in their diet dating back to the spice wars of the 1600s. Like many colonial powers their story is a tasty trail of siege, bargaining, betrayal, warefare, seduction and retreat. The Dutch took power of the previously Portuguese held port of Cochin (Kerala), India in 1663 in pursuit of controlling the pepper trade and whilst in the East they found themselves in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Taiwan. Customs and cultures were blended, ideas were shared and food evolved, giving rise to creole cuisine. Four centuries on, recipes are going full circle and for me it started back in Cochin, in the restaurant of the exquisitely designed, Eighth Bastion hotel.

Taking the Dutch Frikandel streetfood, a spiced minced burger shaped into a hot dog, similar to the German fascination with Currywurst, the Eighth Bastion have remixed the Netherlands’ doyenne of the snack world into something more…well Indian. It’s reverse colonisation, the hot dog has been deconstructed into mouth watering spice pierced meatballs, warmed through with base notes of cinnamon, black pepper, smoky paprika and parked with a sweet fire chutney. Frikandel has crossed the Indian Ocean and now goes by the name of Frikkadal and wears a spiced dhoti. These Dutch Malabar Meatballs are perfect as an Indian tapas sharer and easy to make. Taste a bit of history re-told.

Dutch Indian Meatball recipe

How To Make Frikkadal 

Serves 2 as tapas

  • 300g beef mince (can be substituted for pork)
  • 300g lamb mince
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • ½  a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 250ml rapeseed oil for shallow frying


  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ finger green chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 2 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs honey
  • Dash of salt and pepper

First make the chutney.

Heat the oil in a pan, sauté the garlic, ginger, chilli and onion until tanned. Add the tomato and tomato puree with a tablespoon of water. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat or until thick and jammy. Add the honey and seasoning and mix well.

Mix the meat and all the ingredients together in bowl and shape into balls the size of walnuts. Using a deep frying pan or wok heat the oil over a high heat, then turn down to medium and fry the meatballs for approximately 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove, drain and set aside.

Serve the meatballs along with a small bowl of chutney, over a bed of coriander.

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