Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust Recipe

Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust

Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust Recipe
Region / culture: Australia | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4


Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust
Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust

Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust is a unique twist on the traditional Dutch snack, incorporating the bold flavors of Australia's outback. This recipe transforms the classic bitterballen into a culinary adventure, inviting your taste buds on a journey through the rich, savory taste of veal combined with the distinctive spice blend known as Red Desert Dust. Perfect for gatherings, these bite-sized delights are sure to impress with their crispy exterior and succulent interior.


The original bitterballen hails from the Netherlands, where it is a popular pub snack, typically made from beef or veal. The Australian version takes this traditional recipe and infuses it with local flavors, introducing the Red Desert Dust - a spice blend inspired by the Australian outback's vibrant and earthy tones. This adaptation not only pays homage to the Dutch classic but also celebrates Australian culinary innovation.


How to prepare

  1. Heat a small amount of butter in a frying pan and sauté the veal and onions until browned.
  2. Drain the veal in a colander, then transfer it to a mixing bowl.
  3. To the veal, add the salt, pepper, half of the red desert dust, lemon juice, and parsley.
  4. Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux.
  5. Cook this mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the beef stock and milk. This will create a volute sauce.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  7. Add the veal mixture to the volute sauce and stir to combine thoroughly.
  8. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
  9. Then, chill it in the refrigerator for at least three hours until it solidifies.
  10. Once the mixture is solid, start rolling it into bite-sized balls.
  11. Add the remaining red desert dust to the breadcrumb mixture.
  12. Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs, coat them with an egg and water mixture, and then roll them in breadcrumbs again.
  13. Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan and fry a couple of balls at a time until they turn golden brown.
  14. Drain the fried balls on paper towels and serve them immediately with mustard.


  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the veal with a mixture of mushrooms and lentils. You can also experiment with different meats, such as chicken or pork, and adjust the spices in the Red Desert Dust to suit your taste preferences.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Australian Bitterballen come out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Chill the veal mixture thoroughly before shaping it into balls. This makes the mixture easier to handle and helps the balls maintain their shape during frying.

- Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature, keeping it consistently around 180°C (356°F) for the best results.

- Fry the bitterballen in small batches to avoid dropping the oil's temperature, which can result in soggy balls.

- Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs twice to achieve a crispier exterior.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Australian Bitterballen hot with a side of mustard or your favorite dipping sauce. They make an excellent appetizer or party snack and can be paired with a cold beer or a crisp white wine for a truly delightful experience.

Cooking Techniques

Deep-frying is the traditional method for cooking bitterballen, providing them with their characteristic crispy exterior. However, for a healthier option, you can bake them in the oven until golden brown, though the texture may differ slightly from the original.

Ingredient Substitutions

If Red Desert Dust is not available, you can create a similar spice blend using paprika, cumin, dried oregano, and a pinch of chili powder. Additionally, almond milk and vegan butter can be used as dairy-free alternatives.

Make Ahead Tips

The veal mixture can be prepared and refrigerated up to a day in advance, making it easier to manage preparation time. The formed and breaded bitterballen can also be frozen and fried straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the cooking time.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the bitterballen on a platter garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges. For an extra touch of elegance, provide small forks or toothpicks for easy handling and dipping.

Pairing Recommendations

Australian Bitterballen pairs wonderfully with a variety of beverages. A crisp lager or pilsner complements the spices nicely, while a light-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir, balances the richness of the veal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover bitterballen can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat them in the oven at 180°C (356°F) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the breadcrumbs soggy.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Australian Bitterballen contains approximately 300 calories. The combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates makes it a satisfying snack that provides energy and nutrients.


Each serving of Australian Bitterballen contains approximately 15g of carbohydrates. The primary sources of carbohydrates in this recipe are the flour and breadcrumbs, which provide the energy needed for the body's various functions.


The Australian Bitterballen are relatively high in fats, with each serving containing about 20g of fat. The butter and oil used for frying contribute to the fat content, which is essential for flavor and texture but should be consumed in moderation.


Proteins are crucial for building and repairing tissues, and each serving of Australian Bitterballen offers about 10g of protein, primarily from the veal. This makes the bitterballen a good snack option for protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish provides a range of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A from the butter, B vitamins from the veal, and iron. The parsley also adds a dose of Vitamin C and K, contributing to the overall nutritional value of the bitterballen.


The main allergens in this recipe include gluten (from flour and breadcrumbs) and dairy (from butter and milk). Those with allergies or intolerances to these ingredients should exercise caution.


Overall, Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust is a flavorful snack that offers a good balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. However, due to its calorie and fat content, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust is a delightful fusion of Dutch and Australian cuisines, offering a unique and flavorful twist on a classic snack. With its rich taste, nutritional benefits, and versatility, it's a perfect addition to any gathering or meal, promising to transport your taste buds down under with every bite.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the joy I felt when I first stumbled upon this recipe for Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust. It was a hot summer day, and I was exploring the vast and beautiful landscapes of the Australian Outback. The sun was beating down on me, and I could feel the red dust sticking to my skin as I walked through the desert.

As I wandered through the Outback, I stumbled upon a small, remote village where I was welcomed with open arms by the locals. They invited me into their homes and shared stories of their lives in the desert. One kind woman, who reminded me of my own grandmother, invited me into her kitchen and began to cook a traditional Australian dish called Bitterballen.

I watched in awe as she carefully prepared the ingredients, blending together minced kangaroo meat, onions, and a variety of spices. She rolled the mixture into small balls and coated them in breadcrumbs before frying them to a golden brown perfection. The aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating, and I knew that I had to learn how to make this dish for myself.

The kind woman saw the excitement in my eyes and offered to teach me her family's recipe for Bitterballen with a special twist - Red Desert Dust. She explained that the Red Desert Dust was a blend of native Australian herbs and spices that added a unique flavor to the dish, making it truly unforgettable.

I eagerly accepted her offer, and over the course of the next few days, I spent hours in her kitchen, learning the intricacies of making Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust. She taught me how to source the freshest kangaroo meat, how to finely chop the onions, and how to blend the Red Desert Dust to perfection.

As we cooked together, she shared stories of her family and their connection to the land. She spoke of the importance of preserving traditional recipes and passing them down through generations. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to learn from her and to be a part of this rich culinary tradition.

After days of practice and dedication, I finally mastered the art of making Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust. The flavors of the dish transported me back to the Outback, where the red dust danced in the wind and the sun painted the sky in hues of orange and pink.

I returned home with the recipe tucked safely in my heart, eager to share this newfound culinary treasure with my family and friends. I hosted a dinner party and served the Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust as the main course, watching as their faces lit up with joy and wonder at the exotic flavors.

From that day on, the recipe for Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust became a staple in my kitchen. I cooked it for special occasions, family gatherings, and quiet nights at home. Each time I made the dish, I felt a connection to the kind woman in the Outback who had shared her knowledge and her heart with me.

As I grew older and my grandchildren came to visit, I passed down the recipe to them, just as it had been passed down to me. I watched with pride as they learned to make Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust, carrying on the tradition and the memories of that fateful day in the Outback.

Now, as I sit in my kitchen, surrounded by the laughter and chatter of my loved ones, I am grateful for the journey that led me to discover the recipe for Australian Bitterballen with Red Desert Dust. It is more than just a dish - it is a piece of my heritage, a reminder of the kindness of strangers, and a testament to the power of food to bring people together. And for that, I will always be thankful.


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