Spiced chickpea kofta with yoghurt and pearl barley soup

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) vegetable stock
  • 100 gm pearl barley
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 500 gm thick Greek-style yoghurt, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • To serve: thinly sliced long red chilli and coriander
  • For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil
  •  
  • Spiced chickpea kofta
  • 125 gm dried chickpeas
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) each coriander and flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp each smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried mint and sumac
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
01   For spiced chickpea kofta, soak chickpeas overnight with bicarbonate of soda and 2 litres cold water in a non-reactive container in refrigerator. Drain chickpeas, rinse under cold running water, drain well, then process in a food processor with onion until finely chopped. Combine in a large bowl with herbs and spices, stir to combine, season to taste. Stir in cornflour, adding a little extra if necessary to bind, then roll into walnut-sized balls and set aside on a tray lined with baking paper.
02   Bring stock to the boil over medium heat. Add barley, lemon rind and saffron, simmer until barley is tender (20-25 minutes).
03   Meanwhile, whisk yoghurt in a large bowl until smooth. Stir cornflour and 40-50ml water in a small bowl to form a smooth paste, stir in egg, then add to yoghurt and whisk to combine. Add 100ml hot barley stock, whisk to combine, then, whisking continuously, add yoghurt mixture to barley stock. Reduce heat to low and whisk continuously until warmed through (4-5 minutes; do not boil), season to taste, keep warm.
04   Heat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry kofta in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper. Ladle soup into serving bowls, top with kofta, chilli and coriander, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
This recipe is from the April 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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