Citrusy Chicken and Melon Salad

This refreshing Asian inspired salad has depth from the fish sauce and a spicy kick from the chili. Great for a hot summer day.

There’s also a YouTube video.

Serves 2

2 shallots, thinly sliced
750 g chicken thighs, bone-in
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 red chili, thinly sliced
1 small cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
½ small cabbage, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1 ¼”/ ½ cm knob of ginger, peeled and julienned
¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped

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These herb packed falafel come out crispy on the outside and moist and light on the inside. The baking powder keeps these light. Resting the mixture helps it bind and lets the flavour deepen. The secret to keeping your falafel from falling apart when frying is not cooking the chickpeas before hand; the chickpeas will cook long enough when fried. You can use a food processor instead of a mortar and pestle. Just be sure to leave it a bit chunky.

You can see the YouTube video here.

250 g dried chickpeas
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 scallions, white parts only, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons water

Soak chickpeas overnight.

Drain chickpeas. Grind with mortar and pestle in batches. Leave a bit chunky.

Transfer chickpeas to a bowl. Add garlic, scallions, cumin, coriander, parsley, cilantro, salt, and baking powder. Mix. Add flour and water. Stir together. Test to make sure mixture will stick together in a ball. Rest at least one hour, refrigerated.

Roll mixture into small balls.

Heat 2″/5cm of vegetable oil in a wide deep pan. Fry falafel balls, in batches, turning over when brown. Remove to drain on paper towel as you finish the balls.

Serve with tzatziki sauce, pita bread, pickled red onions, and salad.

Tzatziki Sauce

If you can’t get 10% fat yogurt drain Greek yogurt, you can strain it by placing the yogurt in a sieve suspended over a bowl for a couple of hours.

Letting the chopped garlic sit in the olive oil for a bit softens its bitterness. Grating and straining the cucumber prevents the sauce from getting watery. Putting the dill in at the last minute keeps its flavour bright. If you have time, refrigerate the mixture before you add the dill to allow the tastes to meld.

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
sprinkle of salt
half a cucumber, grated
500 g Greek Yogurt (10% fat)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
one small bunch of dill, finely chopped

Put garlic in small container with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Set aside.

In a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, place cucumber. Weigh down with a ziploc bag filled with water. Allow to drain at least 30 minutes. Dispose of drained liquid.

In a medium bowl, add yogurt, garlic, cucumber, and white wine vinegar. Taste for salt.

Just before serving, add dill.

Goes great with falafel or vegetables.