This recipe is from the team at NZ House & Garden magazine.

Tender fish balls and chickpeas in a fragrant sauce spiked with the salty tang of preserved lemon takes a simple fish dish to a new level of deliciousness.


Prep: 15-20 minutes | Cook: 20-25 minutes | Serves 6


800g boneless white-fleshed fish, roughly cubed

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp harissa paste

Handful coriander, chopped

1 free-range egg white, lightly beaten

Juice of 1 lemon

2 onions, finely chopped

1 tsp ground ginger

Big pinch saffron threads, soaked in

¼ cup boiling water

½ preserved lemon, finely chopped

2 cups fish stock

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Sprigs of coriander, to garnish

Steamed couscous, to serve


Put the fish in the bowl of a food processor and process briefly to form a rough-textured paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs, garlic, harissa, coriander, egg white and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine. With damp hands, shape mixture into 30 walnut-sized balls and place on a tray.

Heat a frying pan, add a little oil and gently fry fish balls in 2-3 batches until lightly browned all over. Remove to a plate.

In the same pan, add a little more oil and cook the onions for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add ginger, saffron and soaking liquid, preserved lemon, stock and chickpeas. Bring just to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Return fish balls to the pan, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes more. Garnish with coriander and serve with steamed couscous if desired.