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Article by Marina

Frugality has made Greek women plan and stretch!  During hard times, our mothers and grandmothers would make a whole family meal with only a handful of mincemeat. We did the same during our university years and the first years of married life.

Youvarlakia is one of those family meals!

It is a simple, nutritious and tasty meat ball soup with egg and lemon sauce. It is a soup but is served in big helpings as a main meal with bread and olives.

The egg and lemon sauce is the popular Greek sauce made from eggs and lemons!  Its taste is rich but light, and lemony.  It might seem tricky at first, but once you learn how to make the sauce, success is always guaranteed.

Egg and lemon sauce can be used in so many different recipes. For example, it is also served poured over vegetables, poultry, meat or fish - more so in Greece than Cyprus. My mother used to make dolmades, too, in an egg and lemon sauce.

Youvarlakia can also be made without the egg and lemon sauce for those who don’t like this flavour.  Instead, just add more potato to the stock so it thickens from the starch. It’s still very tasty as a clear meat ball soup!


Youvarlakia balls:

  • 1/2 kg minced pork

  • 1 big onion, finely chopped or grated

  • 1/2 cup rice, washed and drained (pudding rice or rice for soups)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley

  • Salt and pepper

  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock

  • 1 carrot, cut in cubes

  • 1 large potato, cut in cubes

Extra flavours can be obtained by adding cinnamon, finely chopped dill and finely chopped fresh mint.

Egg and lemon sauce:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 lemons (about 7 tbsps lemon juice, or according to taste)

  • 1 cup hot water


  • Combine mincemeat, onion, egg, rice, parsley, salt and pepper

  • Knead well

  • Shape into walnut-sized balls, placing each one on a tray

  • Let them rest if you can for 30-60 minutes in the fridge

  • In a pot put five cups water or home made vegetable stock

  • Bring to the boil until water bubbles vigorously

  • Drop meat balls into the boiling water one by one

  • Add the potato and the carrot

  • Simmer for half an hour

  • Finish with egg and lemon sauce

Egg and lemon sauce:

  • Beat eggs well in a large bowl

  • Beat in the lemon juice

  • Take a cup of hot water from your pot, and pour a little at a time into the egg and lemon mixture, beating all the time

  • Carry on beating and adding hot water until the cupful of hot water is finished (this warms up the egg mixture and prevents it from curdling when added to the hot meatball soup)

  • Pour egg mixture gradually over the meat balls in the pot, stirring gently

  • Carry on stirring for five minutes after soup reaches boiling point

  • Serve hot with freshly grounded pepper


  • Get more juice out of lemons by pressing them hard on a table, and rolling – or by placing in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.

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