chicken meatballs in spicy tomato sauce

May 21, 2015 § 57 Comments

IMG_0793 My plan for dinner on this particular evening was to make chicken meatballs, Italian style with garlic, onion, parmesan, parsley, egg and breadcrumbs, but I couldn’t get past my craving for spicy Indian flavors.   Rather than a complete dinner makeover I decided to stick with the meatball plan and change up the ingredients to include chili powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala and a jalapeño pepper. DSCN3566 We have been discovering some interesting substitutes for glutinous ingredients and dry roasting 1/4 cup of quinoa on your stovetop and whizzing it in your spice blender or food processor will create quinoa flour and it can be used to bind your meatball’s together without using breadcrumbs. DSCN3570 Simple clean ingredients include organic free range chicken, one egg, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala, onion, cilantro, quinoa flour, ginger, garlic, jalapeño and a generous amount of salt.  Most meatball recipes call for browning them in a pan and then finishing them in the oven.  I only baked them. It’s great to just put them in the oven and walk away.  Clean-up is also very easy, thanks to the parchment paper on the sheet pan. DSCN3573 The resulting meatballs have a touch of jalapeño heat and exude a wonderfully spiced fragrance. IMG_0793 After the meatballs are nicely brown and cooked they are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce.  Simmer them just long enough to absorb the sauce so they will become even more flavorful and juicy.  They would be delicious with couscous, or stuffed in pita with chopped cucumber and plain yogurt or even just stacked on rice with a cool salad on the side. This recipe is inspired from several online recipes for spicy Indian style meatballs.

For the meatballs:

  • 1-1.5 pounds lean cut ground chicken (you can use lamb/turkey too)
  • 1 medium onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 1 cup cilantro – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder ( I used spicy Kashmiri chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper – chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup powdered quinoa (dry roast and grind them to a coarse powder)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 1-28 ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Place the ground chicken in a large bowl and add the onions, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, spices, cilantro and salt, mix well to combine. Add the beaten eggs, oil and quinoa.  Mix well using your hands. Roll into balls and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until they turn golden brown on the outside. Remove and let them rest.

While the meatballs are baking make the sauce.
Heat oil in a large pot.  Add the onions and little salt and allow them to cook until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and add the spices and cook for 20 minutes.  If sauce is too thick add a little hot water to thin. Add cilantro and baked meat balls. Simmer for another 10 minutes allowing the meatballs to absorb the sauce.

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