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Lamb meatballs, recipe calls for semolina?

I'm guessing it's to work as a binding agent like bread crumbs, but what exactly is it, where can I get semoline and is there something I can use instead if I can't find it?

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  1. You can get it in middle eastern or Indian grocery stores. I've used cream of wheat instead, but that was a much different recipe...maybe give us some details about the recipe - are the meatballs stewed?

    1. Here's the recipe:
      Aromatic Lamb Meatballs
      Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson

      1 pound ground lamb
      1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ground cumin
      1 teaspoon ground allspice
      1 teaspoon salt
      3 tablespoons semolina
      1 egg
      Vegetable oil, for frying

      Put the lamb into a bowl and add the scallions. Sprinkle over the spices, salt, and semolina, and then beat the egg adding to the bowl. Work everything together thoroughly with your hands, and then cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for half an hour.

      Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and scoop out a scant teaspoon of the mixture. Roll in your hands to form the meatball and place on the lined baking sheet. Have a bowl of cold water beside you to dampen your hands with; this helps them not get too sticky for rolling the meatballs.

      When you are ready to cook them, heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a frying pan. Line another baking sheet with kitchen towel, and when the oil is hot, fry the meatballs in batches without overcrowding the pan. Cook them for about a minute a side, or until golden brown all over.

      1. What it is, is a ground durum wheat product roughly the texture of corn meal - comes in different grades like cornmeal, some if finer, some is coarser. It's not the same thing, but bulgur wheat of similar texture would likely give similar results and not be quite as big a "substitute" as regular breadcrumbs. I've never quite understood what farina and/or cream of wheat are (I loathe hot cereal), but they might be more or less the same thing as semolina too.

        1. PS: I don't know where you are, but in the NY metro area ANY supermarket of any size carries Goya products, and they put out a couple of grades of bulgur. For this, I'd either use a fairly fine grind or soak and squeeze out a coarser one. With no soaking, I'm not sure coarse bulgur, like the kind you'd use for tabbouleh, would absorb liquid fast enough to become tender enough to eat.

          1. There are several brands available in mainstream grocery stores. Bob's Red Mill is one and I think it is Antoines Pasta Flour, some name that starts with an A