This is one of those recipes where I go by the feel and the look, but I am going to try to write it down! In fact, once you have made it once and got the idea, it is infinitely versatile.
The basic concept is lots of finely shredded silverbeet leaves, with some finely diced onion and tiny cubes of feta cheese, squeezed together with just enough besan batter to hold it together, then fried till crisp and golden.
Although it is shallow fried, it’s not nearly as fattening as it sounds because the silver beet goes crispy without absorbing oil. So you end up with nearly as much oil in the pan as you started with.
And the silver beet is so disguised that the most greens-suspicious kids will gobble a whole bunch of silver beet cooked like this.
- Strip a big bunch of silver beet from the stems and finely shred the green leaf.
- Mix with a finely diced onion, and 100 grams of feta cheese (low fat works fine) diced into tiny cubes (a centimetre or so).
- Add a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper and toss together.
- Add half a cup of flour – besan and/or plain. You can use all plain wholemeal flour or half and half besan (bean flour) and plain flour. The latter gives a heavier texture and a nuttier flavour, and if you grow beans it is easy to make your own.
- Toss the silver beet mix in the flour to coat. Then carefully add just enough water to moisten it all. It will look like the mix above and not like a batter at all, but with wet hands you should be able to squeeze together small balls, a bit smaller than a golf ball. If you make them too large they are gluggy in the middle.
- Heat a centimetre or so of olive oil in a heavy pan. The balls should sizzle as they go in. Turn them to cook on all sides. They will cook to deep golden in a few minutes.
- Drain on brown paper.
- They are best eaten hot straight away – fantastic as a TV snack or quick lunch or dinner – but they’re also ok cold as a party plate. They are great served with chili jam or a sweet chili dipping sauce.