About this recipe:These tasty chickpea-based balls, flavoured with garlic, chilli and lots of fresh coriander, make a delicious alternative to rice or potatoes. Cooked traditionally as an Indian dish the balls would be deep-fried, but here they are baked.
100 g (3½ oz) long-grain white rice
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and very finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, about 410 g, drained and rinsed
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper
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Put the rice in a saucepan, add 240 ml (8 fl oz) water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer very gently for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft. Stir in the garlic and chilli, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Put the chickpeas in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth, or purée in a food processor. Add the onion mixture, rice, egg yolk, coriander, paprika, and season to taste. Mix together well. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and shape each into a ball.
Place the chickpea and rice balls on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown, turning them over carefully halfway through the cooking. Serve hot.
To make onion and chickpea bhajis, gently cook 1 large sliced onion in 1 tbsp sunflower oil for 10 minutes or until very soft. Sift 85 g (3 oz) chickpea (gram) flour into a bowl with 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp mild chilli powder and ½ tsp salt. Stir in ½ tsp cumin seeds and make a well in the centre. Add 4 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt, 3 tbsp cold water and 1 tsp lemon juice, and mix to a thick, smooth batter. Stir in the onion and 1 can chickpeas, about 410 g, drained, rinsed and lightly mashed. Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a frying pan, drop in spoonfuls of the batter and flatten them slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook over a moderate heat for 2–3 minutes on each side.
Chickpeas have a very low Glycaemic Index although mashing them increases the index. This dish is nonetheless a good low-calorie, low-fat choice for those with diabetes. * Eating onions regularly can have several beneficial effects, particularly in helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels and to lessen the risk of blood clots forming.
Each serving provides
Good source of vitamin E. Useful source of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc.