Home Made Cook of the Year finalists: Maria Kuehn

24/07/2012 | Posted in Kitchen, Home Made Cook of the Year

Here’s the second in our series of blog posts about the Home Made Cook of the Year. This time we profile yet another talented home cook, Maria Kuehn.


Maria Kuehn with Brian Turner

Maria, who lives on Greenhill Road in London, entered Home Made Cook of the Year with a recipe for Chicken and coriander meatballs with saffron and courgette rice and impressed the panel of judges so much that she was picked as one of the final three.


Maria enjoying the cook-off

A keen cook, Maria had the good fortune of being a winner at the The Observer Food Awards this year, bagging the award for best readers’ recipe.


Th dish as presented to the judges

Maria was also pipped to the post at the final hurdle after cooking for Brian Turner and Helen Best-Shaw, but walked away with her head held high for making it that far.


Brian Turner enjoying Maria's dish

If Maria’s recipe makes your mouth water, check it out below and give it a try.

Chicken and Coriander Meatballs with Saffron and Courgette Rice


  • 500gr boneless and skinless chicken thighs (halal if possible)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tbs mashed potato
  • 2tbs white breadcrumbs
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 250gr basmati rice
  • 1/2 flat tsp turmeric
  • 1 large courgette finely chopped
  • 1 litre of veg stock
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil


  1. In a food processor place the chicken, potato, half an onion, half the coriander leaves, two cloves of garlic and the breadcrumbs. Add a small sprinkling of salt. Blend for about a minute till thoroughly combined
  2. Wet your hands and form the chicken mixture into 12 meatballs. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil, add the meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, chop the other half of the onion, fry in a tbs of vegetable oil for two minutes. Add the garlic, fry for about thirty seconds and throw in the tomatoes.  Add a sprinkling of salt and a good grinding of pepper and the sugar. Cook for about five minutes. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce with 2 tbs of cooking liquid
  4. Turn down and simmer for a further five minutes.
  5. Wash the rice thoroughly in cold running water till the water runs clear. Place the rice in a pan and cover with salted water, about two centimeters above the rice and add the turmeric. Bring to the boil and cook the rice for about eight minutes. To make it extra fluffy, empty into a sieve and pour over a kettle full of boiling water
  6. Fry the courgette till golden in a tsp of vegetable oil and add the rice to the pan. Mix thoroughly. Place the chicken and sauce in the middle of a serving dish, surround by the rice and sprinkle over the rest of the finely chopped coriander

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