My kids are not fussy eaters, they will eat your basic veggies without much of a fuss. But introduce them to something like Okra, Eggplant or Zucchini and they will be as alert as 007 on a mission with multiple questions as to what the weird veggie was, why I cooked it in this particular manner, the smell test....basically anything but taste it. I had decided in regards to food, there is no forcing my kids, as it will make them hate something which I know they would eventually enjoy.So my brain cells got ticking and I noticed their love for kebabs, especially the mild non spicy kind and this was something I did one or twice a month as a dinner option, since sausages are a complete NO-NO in our household. But my kids still needed their weekly protein intake.
This Chicken Popper idea was a clear winner as they didn't even notice the veggies in it, they just continued munching on, to my obvious disbelief. I couldn't believe it had passed the taste test. Zucchini is such a mild tasting veggie that it just blends into the minced chicken. I have adapted the same recipe with other veggies like green peas, carrots and it was well received.
So, here your go, do give this recipe a try and I would love to hear from you if your family guessed the hidden ingredient! Do tag #saffronbowl in your social media posts.
450 grams finely minced chicken
1 egg beaten well
1 Medium Zucchini (or arabic Koosa)
1 small carrot
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 tsp fine pepper powder
Himalayan Salt to taste
1 bunch chopped parsley or cilantro (optional)
Peel the zucchini and carrot and finely grate them, squeeze out any excessive water that comes out of the zucchini/carrot. To a bowl, add the minced chicken, the grated veggies, the cornstarch, parsley, salt, pepper and the egg. Mix all this well, you might have to use your hands. Make lemon shaped balls of the mixture and set aside, this mixture tends to be pretty wet, you can even use a small ice cream scoop to handle this.
Spray cooking oil onto an appe pan and heat it up for a minute, then place the prepared meat balls into each hole, set the flame to medium and let this cook, covered for 10 minutes on each side. Once you see a golden brown hue, you know they are well cooked. With the appe pan, these chicken popers turn out as adorable roundish shaped balls.
Don't fret if you don't have an appe pan handy. Just use a skillet and heat oil on it and slightly flatten the meat balls and cook them for 10 minutes on each side.
If you prefer baking these, that's easily done too. Spray cooking oil on a baking sheet. Arrange the meatballs onto the greased baking pan. Spray additional oil over the meatballs. Bake at 180 C for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve this with your favourite dip.
Tip- I have found these are perfect for school lunchboxes and a wonderful Paleo friendly idea for kids parties too. I usually made a double batch and freeze the raw meatballs and these are so convenient when you need a protein based snack handy. If you prefer it more spicy and tangy, add some finely chopped onions and green chillies to the meat mix. I have also made these like the typical kebab (sausage shape ) with green peas instead of the zucchini, looks good doesn't it?