Moroccan Monday: Chickpea Balls

Kefta means ground meat, and Kefta Mkaouara is a traditional Moroccan tagine dish with meatballs and eggs in tomato sauce. We obviously didn’t cook meat and eggs today, but inspired by this dish we made chickpea balls and tomato sauce. We don’t have a tagine, so we just baked the balls in the oven and prepared the sauce on stove. We served them separately, but you can also mix them together.


Chickpea Balls

4 dl cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
1 small onion
1 dl chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt, pepper
oil for brushing

Mash the chickpeas until there are no whole chickpeas left. Use blender if you prefer smoother texture. Finely chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients together, add couple of tbsp water if it looks too dry. Form balls and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the balls with oil and bake about half an hour in 200 Celsius degrees. Serve with tomato sauce and couscous/potatoes/rise.

Tomato Sauce

2 onions
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 can tomato passata or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5-1 tsp cayenne

Chop the onions and garlic. Put all the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve with chickpea balls.



Slowfood Sunday: Sweet coconut curry

Sundays are great days, especially if you have absolutely nothing to do, and can just concentrate on relaxing. That’s why I’m also a big sucker for foods which you can just throw together and put in the oven to prepare. I was looking around for something nice to make, and found (via Pinterest possiby, or something, I can’t remember) this recipe in a site for healthy living. So if the food tastes good and is healthy, that’s even better!

I must say I was really suspicious of making a dish like this without any chili pepper in it, but decided to be nice this time and play by the rules… Used a tablesauce (Tabasco Habanero) afterwards, which brought a very nice sour contrast to the otherwise sweetish taste!



Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Coconut Rice

vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 dl cooked chickpeas (roughly the same as one can)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
5 dl cauliflower florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can coconut milk
some vegetable broth
1 tbsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
4 dl spinach or nettle, chopped (lesser amount will do just fine, this isn’t essential for the food)

Coconut rice:
3,5dl parboiled rice (original recipe calls for basmati rice, but parboiled was the only I had)
1 can light coconut milk
1 dl water
1/4 tsp salt

Heat up some oil in a pan, and add the onion, garlic and ginger into the pan. Saute for some time until nice and caramelized. Combine all other curry ingredients except the spinach with the onion mix. If you’re like us, you’ll use a cast-iron pot for making this food. Word of recommendation: leave the sweet potato for the last, it’s easier to mix everything together if your pot isn’t full of sweet potato chunks. Warm up the oven to 150-175 C and let the food cook there for five to six hours.

Making the coconut rice is pretty easy, throw all the ingredients together in a pot, warm until it boils, turn the heat down and let it cook under a lid. While the rice is slowly getting ready (the time depends on the type of rice you use), you might want to add the spinach into your cast-iron pot, mix it a bit and put it back into the oven until you’re ready to eat. When the rice is ready, you’re good to enjoy your curry.


Moroccan Monday: Chickpea Soup

Because of our Monday theme, I’ve been reading a lot of Moroccan recipes recently. A lot of savoury recipes call for cinnamon and/or cardamom, which feels a bit exotic, because here in Finland cinnamon is traditionally used only in desserts or sprinkled on bowl of porridge. Although not too exotic, since garam masala is regularly used in our kitchen. Inspired by the recipes I had read, I created this chick pea soup with cinnamon and vegetables.


Moroccan Chickpea and Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5 tsp turmeric
0,5 tsp ginger
1 carrot
1 onion
1 celery stalk
1 can tomato passata
1 l water or vegetable broth
4-5 dl chickpeas
2 potatoes
salt, pepper
small bunch of fresh parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice

Coarsely chop the onion, dice carrot and celery. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté vegetables with spices for 5 minutes. Add tomato and water and bring to boil. Peel and dice the potatoes. Add potatoes and chickpeas to the pot and simmer 20-30 minutes or until vegetables and potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and lemon juice and simmer a minute or two before serving.


Tomato Thursday: Hummus

I love traditional hummus, but sometimes I like to make something different. Herbs, olives and even cooked vegetables are an easy way to provide variation to your hummus. This time I used sun dried tomatoes and basil.


Hummus with Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 dl cooked chickpeas
1 big garlic clove
6 sun dried tomato halves
1 tbsp oil from the tomato jar
3 tbsp tahini (optional)
2 tsp red vinegar
1-2 tbsp chopped basil (or 1-2 tsp dried)
salt, pepper

Blend chickpeas, garlic, tahini, sun dried tomatoes and oil until smooth. Add vinegar and basil and season with salt and pepper.


Middle Eastern Bean Salad

Balela is a salad made with chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes and parsley. You can serve it with good bread, as a side dish or as part of mezze table. Unfortunately our available options today were dried parsley or fresh basil, no fresh parsley. I decided to go with the basil. Not a bad choice, even though parsley would definitely taste more authentic.


Balela with Basil

4 dl cooked chickpeas
4 dl cooked black beans
2 big tomatoes
1 red onion
1 small garlic clove
1,5 dl chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper

Chop the tomatoes. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Marinade at least half an hour before serving, or refrigerate over night.


Picnic in the Park

I’m visiting my sister in Helsinki this weekend. Saturday morning we woke up early, and went shopping as soon as the shops were open. I needed two pairs of shoes, and hadn’t find anything I like from my hometown. I found what I needed: red sneakers and black high heels. And I also bought some cruelty free cosmetics.

The weather was warm and sunny, and we decided to have a picnic. We made sushi (inari sushi and maki rolls with cucumber, avocado and carrot) and hummus and bought baguette, grapes and kalamata olives. Then we spent the rest of the day in nearby park eating, playing card games and just talking. What a great day.

Chickpeas, Again

I cooked a lot of chickpeas yesterday and today I used some of them to make patties. We also had leftover barley from yesterday and I used it too, and didn’t add any flour to the patty dough. Barley seemed to bind the dough well, but the patties were trying to fall apart when I fried them, so I added some flour to the recipe. We had one lemon drop chili and one hotter mystery variety chili chopped in our patties, but the amount could have been doubled or tripled. Or the chilies can be omitted.

I like to fry patties on a pancake pan, but regular frying pan is fine too.

Chickpea Patties
(makes 12)

6 dl cooked chickpeas
3 carrots
2,5 dl cooked barley (or rice)
0,5 dl wheat flour
2 tsp curry powder
0,5 tsp ground cumin
0,5 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
fresh chilies (optional)

oil for frying

Mash the chickpeas with a blender, or with a potato masher. Adding 0,5 dl water makes blending easier. Grate the carrots. Mix everything together except chilies and oil. Mince the chilies. Take couple of tablespoons patty dough and make a flat oval with your hands. Put some chili on it, fold in half and shape into a round patty. Make rest of the patties same way. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the patties on medium heat about 5 minutes on both sides or until they look ready.