Food magazines are great when you want some recipe inspiration but can’t fork out £20 or sometimes even £30 for a new cookbook. I found the following recipe in the latest issue of Food&Travel. It’s a creation by Rosemary Barron and combines two of my favourite things: cooking with seasonal vegetables and creating flavours inspired by food from around the world. These Spicy Courgette Balls are something like an onion bhaji, and sit in a delicious pool of tomato and coconut sauce, infused with ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander – the taste of India.
They are remarkably simple to make, and all the ingredients are easy to find – including the gram flour which I found in the world food section in Tesco, but which is also readily available in ethnic stores. The only thing I might add, is to be sure to squeeze out the grated courgette as thoroughly as possible, as, being a relative of the cucumber and melon family, they hold a lot of water and this recipe requires them to be sans moisture.
For the Courgette Balls you will need:
700g courgettes (about 4)
1 large red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chipped
2cm ginger, finely grated
small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
65g chickpea flour (gram flour)
olive oil (or any other kind of oil, like sunflower or rapeseed)
And for the sauce…
1 red onion, chopped,
2cm ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground coriander
250ml coconut cream
300g tomatoes (about 5) peeled, deseeded and diced
small bunch of coriander, chopped
First, prepare the courgette. Using the largest holes on your grater, grate the courgettes into a large colander, set over a bowl and sprinkle in some of the salt as you grate. Toss together and leave for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the onion, ginger, garlic, chili and 3tbsp of cold water into a blender and puree.
Squeeze the courgettes so the water runs into the bowl under the colander. Add about 150ml of this juice to the onion puree along with the coconut cream and cook gently for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chopped coriander and stir.
Squeeze the courgettes again so that every last drop of juice comes out (save it to keep adding to the sauce so it doesn’t get too thick), ans they are as dry as you can make them – otherwise it will be difficult to make them into balls.
Once you’ve done this, it is important that you make the balls and cook them straight away. Put the courgettes in a bowl with all the remaining ingredients apart from the oil. Mix well and form into 20 balls.
The recipe in Food&Travel suggests frying them, but I roasted them in a little oil in the oven. You need to turn them at least once to make sure they roast evenly and don’t stick to your roasting pan.
Alternatively, heat some oil in a pan on a medium heat and fry the balls in batches for around 2 minutes each until they are golden brown in parts. put onto kitchen towel to remove excess oil. When they are cooked, place the balls into the sauce with the saved juices for a few minutes before scattering with some coriander leaves. Sx