Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 16: "Fish" Balls

"Fish" balls are lightly crunchy bite.
The smallest country on Africa's mainland, The Gambia's population of two million is almost the same amount of Philadelphia inhabitants. The Gambia--a tropical climate region-- is named after the river its nearly surrounded by, a river that in fact empties into the Atlantic Ocean. English is the official language although there are other spoken native tongues. In culinary regard, foods such as rice, black eyed peas, cassava, plantains, peanuts, cabbage are among the fare thoroughly enjoyed.
Gambians love their fish balls, having them at any time of the day usually with a light stew or over white rice. I never had fish balls (let alone a whole fish staring lifelessly at me from its POV on a plate) and recreated a Genius Kitchen recipe.
I was utterly surprised that these no animals harmed delicacies came out well. After all, it hasn't been a winning week as far as experiments go. The crisp exterior holds up for the creamy, savory interior-- very interesting flavors and texture profiles.
As for now, I am super stuffed. I ate five "fish" balls with a basic topping of Just Mayo Garlic, lemon juice, and parsley. For dessert, I had a glass of almond milk alongside the mistake makroudhs (kept in the refrigerator). They turned into chilled dense butter cookies with the cherry date filling enhancing their sweetness. Funny how failures become something entirely unexpected.

"Fish" Balls Ingredients and Preparation

1/4 cup walnuts, crushed
1 cup cornmeal mush
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoon flax meal + 6 tablespoon water)
1 cup breadcrumbs (used Watusee Foods Chickpea Crumbs)

coconut or olive oil for frying

Combine walnuts, cornmeal mush. mashed potatoes, onion, ketchup, lemon juice, parsley, paprika, salt, and black pepper-- mix well.

Tablespoon out the batter. Set up a station for the flax egg and the breadcrumbs. Dip the balls in flax and coat them in breadcrumbs.

Covered and ready to go.

In a skillet, pan sear the "fish" balls on all sides.

Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 15: Mustard Tofu

Pan seared tofu coated in mustard sauce might be one of the more interesting creations made this month.
Gabon-- located on the equator-- is in the central part of Africa and its earliest settlers were the Pygmy peoples before the Bantu came. Rainforests cover 85% of the country and a group called "The Raconteurs" want to keep alive the Gabonese tradition of oral storytelling folklore and mythology through language of the Fangs. Their cuisine is largely influenced by former French rule, but rice, cassava, plantains, guava, mangoes, and bananas have always been primary staples.
Mustard chicken is Gabon's signature must have dish. Of course, I thought why not tofu? Now I'm not the hugest mustard fan, only adding a tiny bit to mac n cheese or so. Nothing much else. The tangy mustard combined with garlic, lemon, and onions bring amazing flavor. Plus, one can sub out tofu for any of the delicious chik'in out in the market-- Beyond Meat or gardein.

Mustard Tofu Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
extra firm tofu
red or yellow onion
3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoon water (add more if thicker consistency desired)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small tomato
dried parsley

Whisk together Dijon mustard, cornmeal, water, garlic, turmeric, cumin, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
Cover tofu cutlets in the mustard sauce.
In a nonstick skillet, fry up onions until brown and add the marinated mustard tofu. Cook for several minutes on each side.

Top finished tofu with tomato slices and parsley.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 14: Cherry Date Filling

Well, there was this cherry date filling that worked out.
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Delta is Tunisia--formerly Ifriqiya (Africa). Tunisia is a place with beach tourist attractions, the World Heritage Site of the Ruins of Dougga, and some fifty art galleries. Tunisian diet is rich in Mediterranean flare. Ingredients such as olive oil, spices, and tomatoes are abundantly consumed. One dish that is well-known to the area is lablabi-- a chickpea and garlic stew bookmarked for the future. They love fire grilled vegetables, include black cumin in their harissa, and couscous is a primary staple. It is also number 42 (behind Morocco and Algeria) in worldwide cherry production.
Makroudh is a beloved pastry traditionally filled with dates or figs-- like a classic Fig Newton and glazed with honey and orange blossom water. I found this recipe with ingredients listed in grams and milliliters and significant errors (for example how much boiling water to add to flour and butter mixture) quite problematic. Plus, without pictorial aide, I was generally lost on accurate preparation. For one thing, the dough was too weak to roll the filling in and as end result tasted far too buttery. It obviously needed more flour.
Still, for all the effort, this refined sugar free cherry date filling is worth writing about. It is sweet and vibrant, smells heavenly (has anyone simmered cherries, dates, and spices before?), great for any successfully created makroudh or hand pie/pop tart.
I will attempt to make makroudh again (using a different recipe) and use the cherry date filling.

Cherry Date Filling Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup medjool dates
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup frozen cherries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon arrowroot (or cornstarch)

Soak medjool dates for an hour or so.
Puree and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine cherries, cherry juice, cinnamon, and cardamom on low heat for about five to seven minutes.
Pour into date mixture. Blend this together and place contents into the same saucepan, adding the arrowroot to thicken.

Bubbling cherries for the cherry fiend.

Warm, thick filling.

These makroudh are not bad, but have the potential to be better. It was my first time working with semolina flour-- flour finer than whole wheat and all-purpose. 

There also wasn't enough filling in the centers. It made sense to spoon extra on top. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 13: Kulwha

Soy ground is seasoned to perfection next to lemon-garlic brown rice.
Eritrea is located in Northern Africa, with parts of its coast adjacent to the Red Sea-- coincidentally the ancient Greek definition of Eritrea. Although the country has no official language, Tigrinya is mostly spoken and written, seen as the de facto for national identity. Eritrea's cuisine has influences from Italy--their former conquerors-- for there is a tremendous penchant for tomatoes.
Also, I watched the delightful Life Is Fare at the Blackstar Film Festival this past summer-- it stars a first generation Eritrean, artist Sephora Woldu, who also wrote and directed.
Eritrea and Ethiopia (the Southern neighbor that has always had great plight) have quite similar cooking styles. For example, Kulwha (Eritrean stir fry) calls for berbere (Ethiopian spice) and nit'r kibbeh (spiced ghee very popular in Ethiopia). I made my own nit'r kibbeh using coconut oil as a basis as opposed to butter. Miyoko's Kitchen could have worked, but at the same time, I wanted a simple, cost effective solution. As for lamb (something that I never had), I always replace with soy ground. There are apparently vegan lamb varieties somewhere in existence as well as recipes for homemade seitan creations.
I quite enjoyed the process of making the nit'r kibbeh and prepping the overall meal. It is time consuming, a learning curve that ups the value of how we see our pantry ingredients (some of which we probably rarely use). Plus, it amazed me that one could get so much flavor into soy ground, enhance its properties into complex and intriguing to consume.


Kulwha Ingredients and Preparation

coconut nit'r kibbeh
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cardamom
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Lightlife Soy Ground
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon coconut nit'r kibbeh
1 tablespoon berbere
1 teaspoon spice pulp*
pinch of salt

This coconut nit'r kibbeh is modeled after My Darling Gourmet's recipe with slight alterations to make less. 


Simmer coconut oil with ingredients for thirty minutes, stirring to keep from burning. Separate with sieve or strainer into an air-tight container, and place in refrigerator for four hours or longer until it becomes a golden yellow solid. Retain the spice pulp. But discard the cinnamon stick.

In a skillet, combine olive oil with soy ground, onions, coconut nit'r kibbeh, spice pulp, and salt.

Dinner is served.

Very tasty.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 12: Roasted Okra and Sweet Potato Salad

Warm roasted salads bring bright art and flavor to the table.

Sierra Leone-- located in West Africa-- is perceived as a gold mined fairy tale. I remember this country being hailed as a mecca for its rich metal properties, their popular diamonds often smuggled illegally. Agriculture is a primary employing force with 80% of its people working in the industry. Rice is the most cultivated crop and is often eaten at every meal. They also love potato leaves, cassava (still trying to find some around Philadelphia), an herb called crain crain (has a similar slimy texture to okra), fried plantains, and fresh mangoes, pineapples, and oranges.
I found roasted okra and sweet potatoes off the Recipes From the Pantry blog. It is actually meant for a Christmas occasion, but it sounded too delicious and the bright colors spoke of the approaching autumn.
One Green Planet has great tips for getting rid of the sliminess (even frozen okra has this problem) is soaking okra in vinegar for half an hour, patting down okra until dry and sautéing, or cooking okra with tomatoes ("acidity reduces the slime").

Roasted Okra and Sweet Potato Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 large sweet potato
1 1/2 cup frozen okra
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 small red or yellow bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon lime juice
4 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously coat sweet potato chunks, dried okra, and bell peppers in olive oil , salt, cumin, and chili powder.

Roast for thirty minutes, turning it over after fifteen minutes pass.

Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, mustard, and sugar. Mix in with finished roasted vegetables. Serve warm.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 11: Jollof Pasta

Jollof pasta and the mistake beside them.
We head to Nigeria--the seventh most populated country and twentieth largest economy in the world respectively-- is in the western part of Africa and is supposedly the place my father's side of the family hails. So the ancestral ties are weaved deep into this part of the region, where Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities still have a strong residual history and present. There are over five hundred languages spoken here, some extinct, abundances of tourist attractions like waterfalls, rain forests, and landmarks, and literature, film (Nollywood), and art are much respected. Realist artists such as Chiamonwu Joy and Oresegun Olumide are bringing clout and inspiration with their commendable rendering techniques.

As for Nigerian cuisine, herbs and spices provide variety to favorite items like groundnut and chili peppers.

Now I would be lying if omitting countless trials and tribulations that have occurred during the creating process of my foods during this month of experimentation. Along with my Jollof Pasta, I attempted moin moin and failed miserably. They are black eyed peas pureed with onions, garlic, and spices, turned into steamed buns. Well, let's just say this would have worked out better with ramekins, a pan of water, and foil instead of pouring the batter into muffin tins and hoping for the best. This wasn't my proudest plate moment. Still, the pasta (a quicker choice than the standard rice) was a delicious choice. Essentially, the idea is to throw everything in a pot and allow all the flavors to marry together. It is definitely different.


Jollof Pasta Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup pasta
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 small white onion
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon
1 teaspoon black pepper (or white if you have it)

Bring pasta to boil. Drain pasta, reserving the pasta water.
In a skillet, combine olive oil, bay leaf, diced tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, thyme, curry powder, coriander, garlic, bouillon, and black or white pepper together.
Add pasta and pasta water, cooking for an additional few minutes or so.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 10: Lentil Soup

A warm, comforting easy soup full of flavor. 
In Sudan-- bordered by Egypt, the Red Sea, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and South Sudan (the youngest country having received its independence in 2011)-- there are ancient mud villages, pyramids, and other historic sites. However, the current landscape in Darfur especially is heartbreaking and has been for years. Still, it is the community bringing peace and unity, aide from other countries. The land, its indigenous people, and its rich history and culture are too precious to be destroyed. Sudan is worth utmost appreciation and respect.
As for Sudanese cuisine, stews and sorghum porridge are primary staples. Unfortunately, I didn't find any sorghum flour in my neighborhood and settled for a simple lentil soup, a recipe from Sundanese Kitchen. The technique of sautéing garlic in olive oil until it browns and sizzles is called gadha and it is added after lentils are cooked and prepared for blending. This soup is exceptional-- thick, fragrant, and "meaty," sending love and joy to the spirit. While autumn is quickly approaching, stocking the pantry up with dried lentils might be the best idea.

Lentil Soup Ingredients and Preparation

3 1/2 cup water*
2 cup dried lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon garlic

Bring lentils to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Pour soup into bowl and mix with cumin, lemon/lime, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
In a skillet, fry up garlic until sizzling and browned.
Pour over the soup and blend in a food processor or blender.

*for a thicker soup, use less water and more water for a thinner consistency.




Monday, September 10, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 9: Chtitha With Carrots

A fulfilling bowl of veggies and chickpeas.
Algeria, the tenth largest country in the world, is in Northern Africa off the Mediterranean coast and has an ancient history that dates back to 200,000 B.C. Arts, literature, and cinema have a supreme following as artists create honest depictions of this impressive city.
I have seen Eugene Delacroix's large, splendid colored Women of Algiers painting (located at the Louvre Museum) and it showcases a great interest in Orientalism (fantasized perceptions of Middle Eastern and Northern African peoples, fabrics, etc). Local Algerians, however, are taking ownership of what is theirs--culture, history, language, design, and everything in between, validating themselves without the eyes of The Other. After all, Delacroix wrote that North Africa was, "a prodigious mix of races and costumes...This whole world moves about with an activity that seems feverish."
Sigh.
Still, Algerian cuisine sounds feasible. They love dolmas (yummy rice stuffed grape leaves) and couscous is a typical meal accompaniment. A favorite meal is chtitha, a chickpeas and meat dish served in red sauce prepared with dersha-- a spice blend featuring caraway seeds and chilies. Well, I didn't have caraway seeds and that is quite alright. I always make do with what is available. There are various vegetarian/vegan versions of chtitha-- meat often replaced by potatoes.
In my version, soft tender carrots give a light sweetness to the mild spicy flavor profiles of chickpeas and tomatoes.

Chtitha With Carrots Ingredients and Preparation

Dersha

1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of ginger
2 tablespoon olive oil

2 cup water
3 carrots, chopped
1 14 oz can chickpeas
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Grind together garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and ginger. Add olive oil.
Bring water, chickpeas, carrots, and diced tomatoes to a boil, making sure carrots are fork tender.
Drain (or save for vegetable stock).
Combine the dersha with the vegetables. Drizzle with lemon juice and parsley flakes.




Sunday, September 9, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 8: Mandazi

It's Africa's answer to beignets. 
Imma is still my go to spirit sister on these African recipes. Her mandazi is an easy way of creating a beloved treat in Somalia. This country of over 14 million has a rich prehistory that dates to at least Paleolithic, have a large agricultural workforce (sugar, bananas, corn, and sorghum are their largest exports), and work with Washington D.C. based CITES (the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that established a worldwide ban on elephant ivory trade. As for food, Somalians love spices, especially cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and sage-- some of which makes mandazi so delicious.  The tourism is quite strong with many historical sites, waterfalls, castles, fortresses, megaliths, and other incredible architectural phenomenon.

The ruins of Gondershe Citadel looks unbelievably gorgeous.
When making mandazi, the dough cannot be too sticky or too dry, so the amount of flour varies. However, it is magical how the flat triangles immediately puff up in the hot oil. This is the same oil previously used from the koeksisters and worked out better than expected. I am no frying master yet, but experimenting has certainly opened a new kitchen door. I would love to make these again and amp up the spice profile just a notch. Overall, these unique at-home doughnuts could be a weekly thing.


Mandazi Ingredients and Preparation

3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoon water)
3 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
oil for frying

Mix all dry ingredients together.
Stir in coconut milk, flax egg, and coconut or olive oil.
Roll out dough and cut into triangles.
Heat up a pot of oil and drop in a few at a time, turning them over so that they're brown on both sides.

Once they're all done, you can sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or dip them in a simple syrup that's still in your fridge from your koeksisters.

Of course, I'm not planning on eating them all in one sitting.....

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 7: Kelewele

Kelewele (spicy fried plantains) were an exceptional topping for leftover ful medames and brown rice.
Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language. This tropical region has the largest amount of children school attendance in Africa (95%) and the largest man made reservoir, Lake Volta. The second leading exporter of cacao beans is my dream place. It is where the first black women owned chocolate company, 57 Chocolate exists. In my heart of hearts, I am meant to study art and life there just as any artist pursuing abroad experiences in Paris and Florence.
Kelewele, a dish of spicy plantains, can be eaten as a snack or dessert. In Ghana, it is a popular street food sold by women usually at night. Imma puts onions and cayenne in her recipe and others exclude them, calling for a sweeter pleasure.
Easily a favorite meal during this first week of Vegan Mofo, I loved the spice combination, the kitchen smell as the plantains sizzled, and the sweet, savory flavor.

Kelewele Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 ripe plantains
1 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
1/4 cup onion
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix olive oil, cayenne, onions, garlic, ginger, bouillon, and nutmeg together.
Marinate sliced plantains in the mixture.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and add plantains, stirring until sides are browned.

Best served hot.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 6: Vegetable Okro Soup With Chik'in

A meaty soup sans the "meat."
On a cold, rainy First Friday, I opted to stay indoors and have another go at something warm and soupy. It is definitely already feeling like fall. In fact, I heard that Trader Joe's has their traditional pumpkin delights out and everyone knows my deep feelings about those incredible pumpkin bagels.
Still, I have another soup in store for my sixth Vegan Mofo post. We go to Cameroon, a country with the most diverse cuisine, having been colonized by the British and the French. The inhabitants have a huge penchant for vegetables and the fertile ground is good for growing plants like corn, eggplant, plantain, cassava, and okra. In fact, okra is the shining star of the dish.
Traditionally, okro soup has egusi (crushed melon or pumpkin seeds). If you happen to have some on hand, the recipe calls for a 1/2 cup. However, the soup can be created without. It also contains lots of meat and fish, but I sub it with Lightlife Soy Ground and gardein's delicious chik'in sans the orange sauce. You can choose to puree all the vegetables to one smooth consistency. I chose to eat it as a chunky bowl of hot goodness-- one can taste all of the different textured vegetables. Plus, here I try Better Than Bouillon for the first time.

Vegetable Okro Soup With Chik'in Ingredients and Preparation

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen okra
2 cup water
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Paste
1/2 cup soy ground
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 package gardein Mandarin Orange Chik'in
cilantro

Bring ingredients together save for gardein chik'in and cilantro in a medium sized pot.
Simmer for 35-40 minutes until all vegetables are soft and tender.
Pan sear a few of the chik'in at a time.

Toss in cilantro.

Top with pan seared chik'in.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 5: Ful Medames

Lemon and garlic bring delight to mashed fava beans. 
Egypt has one of the longest tracings of historical documentation (including the hieroglyphics writings and pharaoh tombs and pyramids). The diet happens to be rich in vegetarian offerings like legumes and vegetables. Plus, their whole philosophy is eating from the ground The most popular item to eat for breakfast is ful medames (mashed fava beans with olive oil and spices). In fact, it is primarily vegan and many vegan bloggers have specified falling hard for the simple dish. Historians believe that ful medames dates back to as far as Ancient Egypt.
Forks Over Knives recipe by Del Sroufe served as a model.
In my quick and easy version, (Sroufe would sternly disapprove) I used canned beans as opposed to the traditional dried beans that must be cooked for two hours. I would certainly be honored to go that route if dried fava beans could be found around my area. Perhaps that's for online in the future. Still, the canned fava beans are alright. I also added chopped mushrooms and bell peppers, entirely optional. Egyptians are fond of adding pretty tomatoes and generous amounts of parsley garnish.
Served alongside brown rice, the meal is hearty and fulfilling. The flavors are just amazing. I have only have fava beans in falafel so it was nice having them on their own.

*Side note, my second article for The Artblog was published today. I wrote about The Common Room: a gallery, workspace, and shop in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia, promoting womxn and non-binary artists. Read it here.

Ful Medames Ingredients and Preparation

1 can fava beans, drained and rinsed
olive oil
1/4 cup red or yellow onion
1/4 cup mushrooms
4 small bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon lemon
1 teaspoon salt

Bring fava beans to boil.
In a skillet, combine olive oil, onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, and salt.
Drain the beans and mash until the beans look like chunky puree.
Mix with the vegetable mixture.
Turn off heat and serve.

Ful medames all browned and ready.

Great with rice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 4: Koeksisters

Almost like doughnuts but with an extraordinary twist.
Sweet and sticky wins the race on this next Vegan Mofo venture.
In South Africa, Afrikaners have created the koeksister-- a plaited fried dough specialty coated in a lemon and ginger simple syrup. The word "koek" is Dutch for wheat flour confectionery and is the English root for "cookie." Sister, however, doesn't mean sibling, it's more directed towards the cooking technique and the sizzling sound effects when the dough hits the hot oil.

The Koeksister Monument in Orania, Northern Cape (an Afrikaner city in South Africa near the Orange River) pays homage to a folk tradition bake sale that raised monies for building new schools and churches. Image by Jens Friis.
So I deep fried for the first time and enjoyed the process of making koeksisters-- a long, tedious practice with the plaiting the best part. With koeksisters, a recipe from Imma, I improvised quite a bit: using a glass cup to roll out my dough and letting a wooden spoon test out the oil temperature (if bubbles form around the spoon it's ready). I also poured the excess oil into an airtight jar. It was too much oil to discard and hopefully can be used in the next frying recipe coming up.
All in all, the koeksisters are different. The corn flour gives it the crunch factor and the sweet simple syrup infused with lemon, ginger, and cinnamon coats nicely.

Koeksisters Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water

1 cup corn flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup soy milk (or any dairy free alternative)
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxmeal + 3 tablespoon water, let sit five minutes)
1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
oil for deep frying

First make the simple syrup. Mix together sugar, cream of tartar, ginger, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and water. Put this in the refrigerator for chilling.

In a medium bowl sift corn flour, flour, salt, and sugar together. Add soy milk, flax egg, and butter. Knead the dough with hands, working until everything is cohesive. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough and cut into three sections. There should be 11-12 rolls divided by three. 

To make plaits, take three narrow strands, placing the left over the middle and the right over the middle, being sure to seal pinch as each plait is made. Fill a pan with oil and take the simple syrup out of the refrigerator.Once the temperature is ready, drop the koeksisters in a few at a time so as not to crowd the pot. 

As the koeksisters turn brown, take them out immediately and shock them in the cold syrup.
Eat warm and freeze any leftovers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 3: West African Peanut and Sweet Potato Curry

One of the yummiest curries I ever made.

My third Vegan Mofo post escapes into the West African region to share Food From Africa's amazing peanut and sweet potato curry, a favorite of blogger Enem's childhood. Although curry seems to have a more extended history in India and South Africa, the West African peoples have made the dish their own by adding signature groundnuts:
Peanut plants were soon widely cultivated throughout Africa, catching on quickly because they were similar to a plant already cultivated by Africans, the Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea or Voandzeia subterranea). Similar, but the new world peanut proved both easier to harvest and more productive (peanuts have more fat than cream; more protein, minerals, and vitamins than beef; and more calories than sugar). The peanut soon replaced the Bambara groundnut, taking the older plant's place and even its name (peanuts are often called "groundnuts" in Africa)….
This curry came out whipped and creamy (bowl licking good stuff). Plus, it was a first time using curry paste as opposed to the powder. I ate my dish with leftover ugali, beyond fulfilled by such an incredible meal. I detest anyone who continues to say vegans cannot get full.

West African Peanut and Sweet Potato Curry Ingredients and Preparation

3 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan butter (used Miyoko's Kitchen Vegan Butter)
1 cup curry paste
1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cup ground peanuts or unsalted oil free crunchy peanut butter

Wash, peel, and chop sweet potatoes. Set aside.
In a medium sized pot, melt butter and stir in curry paste. Cook for 5-7 minutes, continuing to stir to prevent any sticking.
Pour in the coconut milk. Add in sweet potatoes and grounded peanuts or peanut butter.

Added just a bit of black pepper-- optional. Cover the pot and bring the temperature to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Transfer into blender or food processor, blending until smooth.

Best served with rice or ugali.