“hmm! something different…something new”- I am sure many of you would have come across this phrase when you asked your husband or kids a main-course dish that you could prepare for family dinner.
Well, here I bring to you an easy-to-prepare, healthy, gluten-free main course dish. It is zucchini and mushroom balls dipped in marinara sauce served on top of rice noodles.
For mise-en-place, I have used the following ingredients:
- 2 large zucchini (peeled and grated)
- 150 gm mushrooms (wiped and coarsely grated)
- 4 buds of garlic (2 each for balls and marinara sauce)
- 4 medium size tomatoes
- 1 big onion
- 1 big paprika/ orange capsicum
- 1 medium egg
- 1 bunch of green coriander leaves
- 5 ml olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Black peppercorns
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 200 gm rice noodles
- Salt to taste
This recipe serves four portions.
I started with peeling the Zucchini and then grating them.
The next step was to clean and wipe the mushrooms and to coarsely grind them along with garlic buds and black pepper corns.
TIP: When grating large zucchini, they tend to leave water. Please make sure to squeeze out all the water from the grated zucchini before proceeding further.
TIP: The use of black peppercorns here is optional.
In the next step, I have added an egg to the above.
TIP: A pinch of salt can be added to the mixture at this stage.
After mixing the all the ingredients, I have made small balls of the same and baked them in a pre-heated (180 F) oven for 20 minutes.
TIP: After 20 minutes, please check using a tooth-pick if the vegetable balls are cooked from inside. The secret is that these zucchini balls should be crispy on the outer layer and cooked and soft from inside so that they can absorb the sauce for an intense flavour.
Meanwhile, I prepared the marinara sauce with a twist (I have added fresh orange paprika for an earthy flavour, as you can see in the ingredients below).
In a thick bottom heavy pan, I have poured 4 ml olive oil. Once the oil is heated, then I have added finely chopped onions.
As the sautéed onions become soft and clear, finely chopped garlic, bay leaf, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped paprika, freshly ground black pepper, salt and green coriander leaves are added.
TIP: This sauce should be simmered on low heat, uncovered for about 40 minutes for its best colour and flavour. It can be made a day in advance and can be stored and refrigerated for up to two days in an airtight glass container.
While the sauce simmers, rice noodle can be prepared by adding them to boiling water with a pinch of salt.
TIP: To avoid the noodles from sticking together, 1ml olive oil should be added while boiling them in hot water.
When the sauce is done, the baked Zucchini and Mushroom balls can be dipped in the sauce for one minute and then served on top of the rice noodles.
TIP: The sauce can also be poured over the zucchini and mushroom balls when they are served on the top of the rice noodles.
Its time now to relish this flavourful and colourful delicacy.