Sunday, 20 May 2007

Spicy slices and bean cuisine

Tonight the challenge was to make something without going to the supermarket and to use up most of the veggies in the fridge and leave leftovers for tomorrow night. I will be in Darwin for work the rest of the week, so prefer not to leave veggies to turn into beardy weirdies in the fridge. (E will mostly have meals stored in the freezer.)

Inspiration comes from the pantry and recipes that will fit around these. Weeks ago I bought a tin of spicy masala chickpeas. It seems a good idea in the supermarket but it has not fitted with my meals lately. I have found a recipe for a savoury vegetable loaf in Where’s the Beef that was loaded with spices. It seemed a friendly companion for my chickpeas.

By the time I got home, I didn't have the time or energy for a lot of complexity. Michael helpfully pointed out that although it seems easy, chopping veggies can take quite some time – I often find this with a recipe that I think I will whiz through and then find myself taking much longer than expected running my knife through those pesky vegetables :-)

Taking Michael’s wise advice that vegetable preparation might take longer than expected, I simplified the recipe somewhat. The recipe directed me to bake the loaf an hour, cool it and fry slices of it. Sounded great if only I had the time. I had to be opportunistic and change some ingredients depending on what I had on hand. I also made the yoghurt sauce a lot plainer.

I liked the loaf – it wasn’t quite cooked through when I served it (in the bustle of making cookies and my mother phoning from her holiday in Dublin) but still tasted good – and spicy, if a little oozy. But I found the chickpeas overpowering. The yoghurt sauce was the refreshing taste I needed, and I also made a quick stirfry of green beans, mushrooms, parsley, chilli and garlic flakes, and the remainder of the tin of tomatoes I'd used in the loaf. So the dinner worked but I wont buy the chickpeas again.

I was thinking maybe this loaf is the ultimate loaf for all dietary restrictions – it is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, nut free, lactose free. Although it would challenge a traditional aussie meat and three veg palate, especially one unused to spiciness. Here’s my take on the recipe:

Spicy Vegetable Loaf with yoghurt sauce
adapted from Where’s the Beef
Serves 4-6

1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon veggie salt
½ brown onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon chilli paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 large carrot, grated
1 smallish zucchini, grated
250 ml tinned chopped tomatoes

Yoghurt Sauce:
½ cup yoghurt
1/4 cup parley, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients except the chickpea flour and tomatoes. Add chickpea flour and toss to coat ingredients. Add tomatoes and mix to a wet batter, (mine was extremely wet so you may want to add gradually and not use all tomatoes).

Spoon into greased and lined loaf tin. Bake at 200ºC for 1 hour (or more) til brown on top and firm. Turn out onto a plate and serve hot wedges with yoghurt sauce. (To make yoghurt sauce, mix all ingredients.)

On the Stereo:
Forty Licks: Rolling Stones


  1. Johanna, we're quite chuffed that you took inspiration from one of our archived recipes. :-) We also had a bit of a sogginess issue, so there's still some experimentation to be done. I might try baking for even longer at a lower temperature.

  2. Enjoy Darwin - never been, but it looks like fun. (Though you're working. Of course).

    Always good to get rid of the stuff in the bottom of the fridge before you go...some scary stuff can happen there in your absence.

  3. thanks Cindy - I hope to try a few of your recipes over time - as you know there are so many good things out there on the web. I wish I had had the cabbage to put in it which sounded interesting. I thought maybe less tomato or more flour in the loaf - but as it didn't have eggs I didn't feel so bad about eating it a bit soggy. look forward to my leftovers tonight which were in the oven a bit longer

    lucy - yes Darwin is an interesting place - and it is the dry season at this time of year which will be lovely to get some sun - unfortunately their restaurants aren't as kind to vegetarians as our Melbourne ones (or maybe we just have more choice here).

  4. Thanks for the veggie loaf recipe , it sounds wonderful so will give it a bash.

  5. thanks Jackie - let me know if you make it - and beware too much moisture!

  6. I think I will be trying this soon! I have some chickpea flour in the cupboard that I have been wondering how to use up!

  7. scottish vegan - this is a great way to use chickpea flour - I chose this recipes because it was easy to adapt to what I had in the cupboard - I think you could probably take liberties with the vegetables you use, as I did. And it tasted great the next day too!


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