This is a brand-new recipe I’ve just come up with that’s a fusion of… well, Indian-Mediterranean, perhaps. The ground chicken is seasoned with garam masala, an Indian spice mix, but the chicken balls are then coated with chickpea flour, which is the main ingredient in falafel, a Mediterranean dish. Regardless, it’s quickly become a family favorite!
As usual, start by assembling all the ingredients: one pound of ground chicken breast, two teaspoons garam masala spice (which I’ve purchased off-the-shelf from the grocery instead of making it), one egg, 1/4 cup ground chickpea flour, 1/2 cup panko crumbs (divided in half), and (not shown) extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Heat about three tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until the oil starts to shimmer, then add the garam masala. (Two rounded teaspoons will give produce slightly spicier koftas.) Stir the garam masala in the oil for one minute until the aromas release. Be careful, though, not to let it over-brown or burn — that would not be good. (Don’t ask me how I know. It is not a pretty story.)
Put the ground chicken, egg, and 1/4 cup of the panko crumbs into a large bowl, and add salt and pepper. Then pour most of the masala-oil mix into the bowl, leaving some in the bottom of the pan. Blend the chicken-spice mixture well. It will be pretty soft.
Spread the chickpea flour onto a non-permeable cutting board.
Add the rest of the panko crumbs and blend well.
Scoop the chicken into little balls and slide onto the flour-panko layer. Coat on each side. This should make 12 to 14 koftas.
Add two more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan and heat, then place the koftas into the hot pan. Cook about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until golden, then turn.
Cook another 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat and slide onto a serving dish. Start to finish, less than 25 minutes. The panko-chickpea blend adds a nice, satisfying nut-like crispy coating to the chicken. This would go nicely with a rice pilaf or even a parmesan risotto.
We served this with the 2014 Sunset Red from Sunset Hills Vineyard in northern Virginia. This is a blend of mostly Bordeaux-style reds (Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot) with a bit of Tannat and Chambourcin blended in. Very nice pairing.