Chana Pakora (Garbanzo Fritters) & Mint Yogurt Sauce

I was excited to make masala greens with the tomato sauce left over from making gluten-free pizza, and looking for a fun way to round out the meal. For whatever reason, I decided that surely there was some sort of garbanzo fritters in Indian cuisine, and set out to find a recipe. It didn’t take long to find a simple preparation for chana pakora from Khana Pakana. I couldn’t help adapting it slightly, leaving out the cilantro and mint since I knew I would be turning these herbs into the dipping sauce. The mint sauce was okay, though not quite the same as the wonderful stuff from an Indian restaurant. The fritters turned out wonderfully! Definitely will be making these again soon!

Chana Pakora (Garbanzo Fritters)

1 can garbanzos
1/2 cup brown rice flour (whole wheat could also work if not gluten-free)
1-2 teaspoon cumin, to taste
1 teaspoon or so each of chili powder, black pepper, and salt, or to taste
1-2 cloves garlic, or 2-3 garlic scapes
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Just enough water or oil to make dough stick together
Green onions or chives, finely sliced

Mash garbanzos with a fork in a medium bowl. Combine together dry ingredients, then stir into the beans to form a stiff dough. If dough is too dry and crumbly (which I found it to be, gradually drizzle in a little water or oil and knead it into dough until it comes together. Fold in green onions or chives and garlic. Pull off a small palmful of dough, form into a ball, then flatten into a thick discs and fry in oil until golden and crispy. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil to the pan as necessary. Enjoy!

Mint Yogurt Sauce

A few sprigs of fresh mint
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
A few spoonfuls lemon juice, and/or rhubarb steamed until breaks down into “puree,” to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
A generous sprinkle of chili powder, or to taste
A few spoonfuls of yogurt (optional, I used whey that was left at bottom of container)

Finely mince herbs and mix with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste, then dip in and enjoy! If you have a food processor or a powerful blender, I imagine it would make sense to use it — faster and a pleasantly smoother texture!

Posted in Gluten Free, Out of the Frypan, Sauces, Condiments, and Dips, Vegan | Leave a comment

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Rhubarb & Dill

I was originally planning to make Algerian Black-eyed Pea Salad for the potluck tonight, but after realized I didn’t have some key ingredients, I decided to give it a fresh spin from ingredients close to home. Refreshingly different and surprisingly delicious!

Black Eyed Pea Salad with Rhubarb & Dill

3-6 stalks rhubarb
5-10 garlic scapes (milder than garlic cloves, which could substitute if don’t have scopes)
Cooked Black eyed peas (I was making a big batch, so I used a large potful)
A generous drizzle of olive oil
A few splashes of vinegar (I used my apple scrap vinegar!)
Fresh dill and cilantro, finely minced
Salt and chili powder, to taste (I used chamayo, but paprika or any chili should be fine)

Sauté the garlic scopes, then add the rhubarb and cook just until begins to soften but still maintains its form. Mix with olive oil and vinegar, then add seasonings and adjust to taste. Enjoy warm or cold. Yum!

Posted in Garden Originals, Gluten Free, Salads and Pilafs, Vegan | Leave a comment

Beer Battered Tofu (and Pretty Much Anything)

As some of you may have caught on by now, I find it utterly excruciating to see food dumped out. Even before I came to know firsthand the hours upon hours of planning and demanding labor and careful tending that growing food requires, I was always upset at the very thought of leftovers tossed into the trash, or even the compost, produce rotting in the back of the fridge or out in the field. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t always save every last crumb and shriveled leaf and overgrown turnip — but that doesn’t stop me from seeking out yet another creative way to minimize waste, use the odds and ends of leftovers, the “by-products” we usually discard, and food not at its prime.

We ended up with a lot of leftover beer after the Square Dance last weekend, way too much and too flat to even make a dent in. Since I don’t drink, I detached myself from the effort to save it… until today, eyeing the gallon still biding its time in the fridge, it occurred to me that this was a great opportunity to experiment with cooking with beer.

Beer-battered tofu turned out to be even better than I expected, especially for being just a few simple ingredients whisked together. Much thanks to oh my veggies for the guidance. Does take some patience to leave the tofu frying long enough to get good and golden-crispy… worked out perfectly to work on making a kale salad between flips. I still had a fair amount of batter after I finished with the tofu, so I threw in short lengths of the kale stem left over from the kale salad and fried the whole works in the pan — yum! Anise rice rounded out the meal perfectly.

Beer Battered Tofu
1 pkg. firm or extra-firm tofu (or whatever you want to batter and fry)
1 cup beer of choice (can use gluten-free)
1 cup flour of choice (I used millet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

Drain and rinse tofu, cut into strips, and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Pressing with a weight for 30-90 minutes works great, but if you are lazy and in a hurry like me, you can just give each strip a quick press between your hands over the sink before continuing. In a wide, shallow container, whisk together beer, flour, and salt, then dredge the tofu in the mixture while you heat oil in a pan (enough to generously cover the bottom). Stir the mixture one more time, coating the tofu as much as possible, then fill the pan with strips, let fry over medium heat until golden and crispy, then flip and cook the other side (which will take maybe half as much time). Meanwhile, stir the batter back up and start soaking the next batch in it. Add a splash more oil if necessary, add the rest of the tofu strips to the pan and fry in the same manner. Then get creative with the rest of the batter… the sky is the limit!

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