Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chicken Meatballs with Preserved Lemons and Harissa Relish : IHCC

"Pattycake, Pattycake", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), a group of lovely homecooks who are cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes until September. IHCC's Optional Monthly Community Recipe for this month is Preserved Lemons, where we can use Preserved Lemons in any of our chosen weekly recipe. So for today, I have combined the Optional Monthly Community Recipe (Preserved Lemon) with this week's theme "Pattycake, Pattycake". 

I have never made preserved lemons before or even eaten them, even though I love eating pickles and preserves. So it is a challenge to make our own Preserved Lemons, and I have used Ottolenghi's "Quick Pickled Lemons" recipe. There's another recipe of Ottolenghi's that requires the lemons to be preserved for about four weeks before consumption, but I have opted to use the quick pickled recipe instead.

Another ingredient that I've always wanted to make is Harissa Paste. I have seen so many recipes, from my cookbook collection and from various websites that uses this paste. So far, I have not seen this paste sold in any of the supermarkets that I went. Harissa Paste is a red hot pepper paste used in North African cooking. Since I cannot find this paste, I have made my own. Will share this on another day.

For this week's theme together with the Monthly Optional Community Recipe, I have made Chicken Meatballs with Preserved Lemon and Harissa Relish.

Firstly 1 whole corn (husk removed) is brushed with olive oil and grilled on pan for about 8 minutes, turning frequently until dark charred marks are visible. Remove from heat and once cool enough to handle, shave the corn off the cob.
Ingredients used are grilled corn, white bread, chicken mince, chopped onions, chopped garlic, chopped coriander, chopped parsley (did not use this), ground cumin, chopped red chilli, 1 egg, salt, pepper. Everything is mixed till well combined.

Form into round balls and grill on pan for 1-2 minutes on each side until charred. Place meatballs on lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 6 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked. They were cooked at exactly 6 minutes! Mine was not exactly round, as the mixture was rather wet, maybe because I have used only 400gm (original is 500gm) of minced chicken and a large egg instead of medium.

Prepare the Lemon and Harissa Relish. Mix the pickled lemons, harissa paste, lemon juice, some olive oil and a pinch of salt together. Set aside.

Serve with the Chicken Meatballs, mine are more like Chicken Patties!  With some fresh corianders.

I really like the Lemon and Harissa Relish! This would be good eaten with burgers! The lemons are not really sour and the spiciness from the harissa paste is just so good!

The Chicken Patties are really tender and moist. So good! I'm the only one eating the Chicken Patties with the Lemon and Harissa Relish,  the family prefer eating the patties as it is. I knew that I would be the only one eating the Relish, as it is too spicy for my kids and the hubby does not like sour lemons! All the more for me, yay!

You may view the video here, where Yotam Ottolenghi shows how these Chicken Meatballs are made. Enjoy the video!

IHCC Ottolenghi Leek
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Please do stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view what my friends have made for the theme of this week, "Pattycake, Pattycake", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.

Chicken Meatballs with Preserved Lemons and Harissa Relish
(source from here)
1 whole corn cob, husk removed
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
35gm crust-less white bread, roughly torn, soaked in water for 2-3 minutes, drained and squeezed
500gm chicken mince
1 small onion, grated (60gm net)
1 garlic clove, crushed
15gm coriander, chopped
7gm parsley, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small red chilli, finely diced
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Lemon and Harissa Relish
2 preserved lemons, flesh and skin sliced into thin strips (220gm net)
1 tsp lemon juice
2-1/4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp harissa paste

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To prepare the corn, heat a chargrill (ridged griddle) pan on high heat. Allow it to heat up well. Brush the corn with 2 tsp of the olive oil and chargrill, turning regularly, for 8-10 minutes, or until it has lots of dark charred specks and the corn turns smoky. Remove from the heat, and when cool enough to handle, use a large, sharp knife to shave the corn off the cob. Place the kernels in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

To make the relish, mix together the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

To make the meatballs, add the bread, chicken, onion, garlic, herbs, cumin, chilli, egg, salt and a generous grind of black pepper to the bowl with the corn. Stir the ingredients until well combined. Lightly moistened your hands with some of the olive oil, take 60gm portions of mixture, and form into round meatballs. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.

Return the chargrill pan to a high heat. Once hot, cook meatballs for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until visibly charred and lifting up easily from pan. Return to the baking tray and place in the oven for 6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve the meatballs warm with the relish.

Quick Pickled Lemons
(source from here, Yotam Ottolenghi)
Makes 1 large jar, approximately 1.5 liters)
1/2 red chilli, chopped (I use 1/2 tsp coarse chilli flakes)
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 small-medium unwaxed lemon, halved lengthways and sliced widthways as thinly as possible
35gm caster sugar
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 ground turmeric

Use a pestle and mortar to smash together the chilli with 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice; you want to get a rough-looking paste. Transfer this to a large bowl along with all the other ingredients. Use your hands to mix everything together well so that all the flavours get massaged into the lemons. Leave in a bowl, covered, overnight. Transfer to a sterilized sealed jar the next day - it will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

kitchen flavours notes :
I use 2 lemons and yield only half a jar.


  1. Wow...I love the way your pickled lemons look with the harissa added in. The color of the lemons is so pretty and they look so spicy! I bet they were a great pairing for those yummy chicken and corn patties. In fact, the whole meal looks absolutely fabulous!

  2. I think this is the 3 or 4 time I have read about this pickle :) I am taking it as a definite sign that I need to make a batch very soon!! That's before we even get to those patties...they sound quite delicious & healthy too, adding these to the must make list.

  3. So that settles it. I HAVE to make these preserved lemons. The lemon & harissa relish sounds like a perfect accompaniment for these patties (or any for that matter!).

  4. Good morning, Joyce! I've seen some cafes & restaurants using harissa in their cookings but the paste itself isn't selling in the supermarket. I do agree with you that these look more like chicken patties, actually they are easier to cook through compare to chicken balls, don't you think so?

  5. I've never had pickled lemons, but they sound really good, especially with those yummy chicken meatballs! :)

  6. Ooh, what a tasty alternative to the classic meatball!

  7. These are such a great twist on meatballs. I love the relish bright and flavorful. I'm putting this on our grocery list. Hopefully I'll be able to make it before baby comes! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Gosh, this is something interesting. Wonder how harissa tastes like. Your meatballs look very inviting :)

  9. Joyce, the pickled lemon relish really caught my attention! I believe I would enjoy them too with the chicken meatballs.

  10. Hi Joyce, those preserved lemons look delicious! And wonderful served with the chicken patties!

  11. I am eyeing the pickles too! I just can't resist pickles! looks so delicious!

  12. Those patties look sooo good, and with the lemon-harissa relish, even better!

  13. Yum...the chicken patties look delicious and I love the idea of spicy and lemony...great combination of flavors Joyce.
    Have a lovely week :)

  14. Yum. I loved the quick pickled lemons too, Joyce. I have to go try adding some harissa (which I always have in my freezer) to my batch - I can imagine that being great with all kinds of things. Your chicken meatballs look wonderful too.

  15. yeah..i've seen harissa in books as well in some recipes on line too! very hot? you make my mouth water when i read the word pickled lemons!

  16. Joyce , I've seen several recipes that calls for harissa , I bet yours' better coz it's homemade :D