Chicken and Mushroom Meatballs with cummin and chilli

Chicken and mushrooms have always been best friends, so I thought why not combine them in meatballs? The addition of chilli, coriander and cummin adds a zing! I had never used mushrooms into meatballs before but it worked really well, adding texture and “meatiness” to the fine chicken mince. These would be good as a starter with a sweet chilli dipping sauce or with salad for dinner. I served them for a late dinner alongside Butterflied Prawns with garlic and chilli and the Caramelised Brussel Sprout and Spinach Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

400g chicken mince
4 button mushrooms very finely diced
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste (2 cloves garlic and equal amount ginger pounded to paste)
1-2 red chillies chopped finely
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Combine all ingredients,except the olive oil, mix thoroughly check mixture is not too “sticky”. Add more breadcrumbs if needed. Mixture should easily roll into balls without sticking.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll mixture into medium sized balls and place on baking trip.
Brush the tops of the meatballs lightly with olive oil to help them brown and crisp up through the cooking process.

Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden. Check to see that the chicken is fully cooked, and leave for longer if required.
Makes about 20 meatballs.

Some quick tips:
I use disoposable gloves so I can mix the ingredients thoroughly and then roll into balls.

I also microwave a small portion of the mixture for 30 seconds or so to taste the mixture. This helps determine if you need more salt or spices.

Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt

This is a delicious accompaniment served with Indian curries but just as good with roast meats like the Pulled pork or served as a dip.

Roasting the eggplant first gives it a lovely texture and a smoky flavour and the cummin and mustard seeds add spice and crunch.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time:60 minutes
1 large eggplant
1/2 brown onion thinly sliced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
Handful curry leaves(optional)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Prick eggplant deeply in a few spots on each side with a fork or small knife to allow steam to escape. (This is important to avoid eggplant explosion in oven!)
Roast eggplant for 45-50 minutes, rotating 3 or 4 times to allow for even cooking. Don’t worry if skin blackens or burns.
Remove eggplant from oven and place immediately in a plastic bag and tie/seal. Leave for 5-10 minutes. The steam created will loosen the skin as eggplant cools.

Roasted eggplant cooling in plastic bag
Roasted eggplant cooling in plastic bag

Remove eggplant from bag, cut off ends, then “peel” the skin off.

Peel skin off the roasted eggplant
Peel skin off the roasted eggplant

Chop/dice eggplant finely on large chopping board to save as much of the juices

Roasted eggplant, peeled and diced
Roasted eggplant, peeled and diced

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Add cummin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry until fragrant but take care not to burn
Add onions and garlic, cook for 5 minutes or so until transparent and slightly caramelised
Add diced eggplant and juices, cummin powder and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time
When eggplant and onion mixture is thoroughly “melded” and heated through, take off heat and add the yoghurt
Mix through while off the heat which stops yoghurt curdling, then return to medium heat and allow to reheat. (About 3 minutes)
Serves 4-6 as a side or dip