These tasty chickpea-based balls, flavoured with garlic, chilli and lots of fresh coriander, make a delicious starter or could even be served as an alternative to rice or potatoes.
1/2 cup (100 g) long-grain white rice
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and very finely chopped
1 can chickpeas (about 400 g), drained and rinsed
1 medium egg yolk
1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper
Put the rice in a saucepan, add the 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. 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, then 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 salt and pepper. 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 tray and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown, turning them over carefully halfway through the cooking. Serve hot.
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