Monatsarchiv: November 2012

Mexican & Vegan: Chiles en nogada

Exotic, hearty, sweet & spicy – that´s how I would describe the Mexican dish we made last week. My Mexican cooking teacher Rosita told me about it as very traditional dish but not vegan at all. When I saw the pictures of it I decided to try a vegan version which was a very wise decision! 😉 Let´s have a quick look on Wikipedia to see what Chiles en nogada is:

 The name comes from the Spanish word for the walnut tree, nogal. It consists of poblano chiles filled with picadillo (a mixture usually containing shredded meat, aromatics, fruits and spices) topped with a walnut-based cream sauce, called nogada, and pomegranate seeds, giving it the three colors of the Mexican flag: green for the chili, white for the nut sauce and red for the pomegranate. (Wikipedia)

For the vegan version we used vegan minced meat instead of regular one and vegan yogurt + vegan cream. The other ingredients are vegan on its own. All together is just mouth-watering!! I felt a little bit like eating a very exotic vegan chistmas dinner!

Chiles en nogada

  • 400 g vegan minced meat
  • about 10 poblano chiles, or any other (bell) pepper you like and get
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 peach, chopped
  • 2 big tomatoes, chopped (and peeled – I didn´t peel them because I don´t think it´s that necessary)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 40 g raisins
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 200 g vegan yogurt
  • 200 g vegan cream
  • 300 g chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • optional: parsley or cilantro

Put the poblano chiles or bell peppers straight into a fairly high flame, or under a broiler and let the skin blister and burn. Turn the chiles from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through. You also can cut them in half, seed them and put them into the oven instead at 200 degrees. Be careful to leave the top of the chili intact.

Afterwards cover the chili with a damp cloth and leave them for about 20 minutes. Peel and seed them (if not done already).

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add vegan minced meat. After another 2 minutes add apple, peach and tomatoes. Cook for some minutes more. When ready add raisins, sugar and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Combine yogurt, cream, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar.

Stuff the chilies with filling until they are well filled out. Pour sauce over warm chile peppers and garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley or cilantro.

¡Buen provecho!

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Algerian & Vegan: Mhadjeb

My Algerian cooking teacher is called Caroline. Yes right – she´s not born in Algeria. Originally Caroline comes from Texas. During a long travel trip about 10 years ago she fell in love with an Algerian guy. Now she´s living in two countries.

Caroline is almost vegan and loves to cook. One of the first Algerian recipes she made herself was Mhadjeb – it´s also called M´hadjeb or Mahdjouba. You can buy those filled Algerian flat breads everywhere in Algeria. It´s one of the most delicious street food you can find there and vegan on its own.

Mhadjeb is made from semolina and you need a lot of time and patience to knead the dough. It takes a while until it is elastic enough to make the dish. Although Mhadjeb is not one of the easy and fast recipes I offer usually – it´s worth trying. It´s not that hard to make and very, very delicious.

Mhadjeb

  • 500 g semolina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • water
  • oil
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • harissa
  • salt & pepper

Combine salt and semolina. Add 1 cup water. Mix together and start kneading the dough. Wet your hands from time to time and add enough water to get a smooth, soft and elastic dough. Not too much water though. It should be soft but not sticky. Knead for about 1/2 hour.

Divide dough into small balls. Let stand for about 30 minutes. In the meantime you can prepare the filling.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add onions. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Fry another 5 minutes. Add harissa, salt & pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat.

Flatten each ball of dough on your lightly oiled working surface. Stretch and form it to a very thin sheet. The dough should be as flat as possible.

Spread a tablespoon of stuffing in the middle of the sheet. Fold the edges over the top like shown in the pictures.

 

Fry in a pan until brown on both sides.

صادق

Ukrainian & Vegan: Varenyky / варе́ники

My last cooking adventure somehow reminded me at my childhood. And I still don’t know why! I think the taste of that yummy dish is similar to something my mother made me for dinner as a child. I´ll have to ask her an figure it out! 😉 But maybe you´ll feel the same way when you  eat that Ukrainian dish. It has all you like when you are a child. It´s sweet, fruity soft and filling. They call it Varenyky – варéники.

And indeed my Ukrainian teacher Eva told me that she ate those dumplings as a child. You also can ate them hearty but we decided to make a sweet and easy cherry filling. Eva is vegetarian and so are the Varenyky but it was pretty easy for us to make them vegan.

Varenyky / варéники

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • sugared cherries, fresh or canned
  • cinnamon
  • vegan butter

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add enough water to make a medium-soft dough. Knead by hand until smooth. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a floured surface. Using a glass or sth. else that´s round cut out dough rounds.

With a knife or a tablespoon carefully butter the rounds with soft vegan butter. Sprinkle some cinnamon on each round.

Take two or three sugared cherries – depending on how big your rounds are – and place them in the middle of each round.

Fold the dough over to form a half-circle and press the edges together until well sealed and there is no air trapped in the dumpling.

 

Bring a big pot salted water to a boil. Carefully put the Varenyky into the water. Not too many at a time or they will stick together. Cook for about 8 minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or sprinkle some sugar over the Varenyky.

Смачного!

Maltese & Vegan: Kapunata

Today we are going to visit a small island situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, 80 km south of Sicily, 284 km east of Tunisia and 333 km north of Libya —> Malta.

I had a nice long talk with my Maltese cooking teacher Paul about the Maltese culture and I really feel as if I just came back from a nice relaxing trip to that beautiful island.

You can find the dish we made in other countries as well, a little bit different and of course it has an entirely other name over there. French call it Ratatouille, Scicilians Caponata, and in Malta that delicious vegetable dish is called Kapunata. Nobody knows who came up with it first. But what we know is – it´s easy – it´s absolutely yummy – let´s do it!

Kapunata

  • 1-2 aubergines, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4 -5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 10 green olives, sliced
  • green pepper & salt
  • olive oil

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a big pot. Add oinions. Add garlic.

When onions turn golden add aubergines and bell pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste and basil. Season with salt and green pepper. Let cook for another 20 minutes until mixture is thick and vegetables soft.

Add capers and olives. Serve with bread.

aptit Bon

Czech & Vegan: Vdolky/Dalken

If you´re on a challenge like this one it happens that the world seems smaller from day to day. So many countries I cooked with and the countries left are getting less and less. Incredible how small the world can be!

But on the other hand I still have countries to cook with – even in Europe – like the Czech Republic. From that country next to my own a delicious sweet dish comes. It has two names I was told – „Dalken“ or more popular in CR – „Vdolky“.

I was introduced to those small yummy cakes by Domek, a nice young Czech man who messaged me on facebook. The Dalken/Vdolky remind me a lot of our local „Berliner“ although there are some tiny diferences. My friends Nina & Tina who visited me the day I made them loved them and so did I! They are the perfect food you can offer or bring to a party! Check them out!

Dalken / Vdolky

  • 500 g flour
  • 50 g fresh yeast or one package dry yeast
  • 50 g vegan butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 300 ml vegan milk (soy, rice etc.)
  • 1 package vanilla sugar
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • vegan butter for frying
  • jam & vegan whipped cream for serving

If you use fresh yeast you have to dissolve the yeast in the milk before adding the other ingredients. Otherwise stir together flour, yeast, butter, rum, sugar, milk, vanilla sugar and salt. Knead with your hands until you have a nice firm dough. Let sit for about 1 hour – until the size of the dough has doubled.

Roll out the dough (about 2 cm thick). Take a glass and cut out balls like you see in the picture.

Let sit on kitchen towels for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat vegan butter in a big pot. Fry cakes – both sides. It should be enough butter in the pot that one half of the cakes is covered.

Put finished cakes on kitchen towels.

The Dalken/Vdolky are served with jam & (vegan) whipped cream.

Dobrou chuť!

Albanian & Vegan: Tarator

„Do you like tzatziki? Then you will love this dish!“ That´s what Corinne told me and after I tried her Albanian dish „Tarator“ I´m telling you the same! By the way – I love tzaziki!

Corinne lives in Paris now but her parents originally come from Albania. That explains why she knows so much about the Albanian cuisine. She wrote me to skype and cook with her and I gladly followed that invitation.

What we made is called Tarator – a cold dish made from cucumber, (vegan) yogurt, garlic, walnut and dill. It´s pretty popular in Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia and some other countries as well but you will find its delicious roots in Albania.

Tarator

  • 500 g vegan yogurt
  • 1-2 cucumber, grated (do not peel them)
  • dill (a lot)
  • 100 g walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive or walnut oil
  • salt to taste

Put together grated cucumber and yogurt. Add a lot dill and stir.

Put in fridge for at least one hour. After chilling add walnuts and oil.

Serve as cold as possible.

Ju bëftë mirë

Cypriot & Vegan: Louvana

Before I tell you about the Cypriot dish we made I want to take a second to say – I LOVE SKYPE! 🙂 Otherwise I wouldn´t be able to cook with so many people. And I never would make it to my goal of 50 vegans this year! But I´m pretty positive to make it now! 🙂 Thanks a lot, Skype!

Okay we made another soup dish – my Cypriot Skype teacher Ana and me – although it´s rather a puree than a soup. I mean it´s cold outside and what helps better to warm you up then a wonderful delicious hot pea soup? 🙂

The soup/puree we made is called Louvana. It´s usually made during times of fasting as it contains no meat or dairy products. So it´s vegan by itself! The soup is made with ‚louvana‘ which are small, yellow split peas. That´s where the name is from. But you really can use any yellow peas or split peas for this delicious soup. And here´s what you need else:

Louvana

  • 300 g yellow split peas/louvana/yellow peas
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 big cup rice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • the other 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges for serving

Wash the peas, put in a pot with about 1l water. Bring to a boil.

I the meantime you can chop the onions. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add onions. Fry until lightly browned.

When peas are almost done add the rice and the fried onions with oil. Cook until rice is soft as well.

Add salt to taste. Add lemon juice. Serve with lemon wedge to be squeezed to individual taste. You also could drizzle some oilve oil onto the soup.

Καλή όρεξη / Afiyet olsun