Cauliflower (gobi), when fried or baked in batter takes on a different taste and texture, one that makes cauliflower-haters enjoy it. I made this for someone who refers to cauliflower as “broccoli’s evil cousin,” and he liked it a lot.
I’ve made other cauliflower dishes with a chickpea flour batter: pakoras from my first book, and the caesar salad with crispy cauliflower and chickpea fritters from High Protein Vegan. The Indo Chinese dish gobi manchurian is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while – it usually consists of cauliflower fried in a flavoured wheat and corn starch batter, with a spicy tomato and chili sauce and I thought it would work brilliantly using chickpea flour instead of the other flours. This makes it gluten-free and high enough in protein to be a satisfying and filling main dish when served alongside some rice or quinoa, and maybe a side salad with plenty of crunchy lettuce.
This recipe has been made soy-free by using coconut aminos and some extra salt where soy sauce would normally be used. Soy-free chickpea or adzuki miso will also work, and if you have no problems with soy, then regular non-gmo soy tamari, shoyu or another kind of naturally fermented soy sauce can also be used.
This is a hearty and savoury dish that can be made really quickly (or the batter can be soaked overnight, for the best nutrition).
Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, low fat option, under 45 minutes
For the battered cauliflower:
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
3/4 cup water
optional 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or tamari, or naturally fermented soy sauce, or miso)
1 teaspoon finely chopped red chili
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (use only 1/2 teaspoon if using tamari, soy sauce or miso instead of coconut aminos)
1 small-medium cauliflower (around 500g)
olive oil, for frying
For the sauce:
optional 2-4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1-3 teaspoons finely chopped chili
1/2 cup tomato purée (passata) (to make it yourself, just put some tomatoes in a food processor and process until smooth)
2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos, miso, naturally fermented gmo-free soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons coconut sugar, rapadura, sucanat or jaggery
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons tapioca flour or non-gmo corn starch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
For the best nutrition, combine the chickpea flour with 3/4 cup lukewarm water and the lemon juice and leave it to sit in a large bowl, covered, at room temperature overnight (it should be a thick batter).
Mix through the garlic, ginger, coconut aminos, chili and salt.
Gently divide the cauliflower into florets. Chop the larger ones in half if you wish. Thoroughly coat these in the batter*
The rest of this recipe comes together really quickly, so measure out and prechop all the sauce ingredients.
In a large dry saucepan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until they taste toasted. Remove from the pan and set aside until later.
Put around 1cm (1/2″) olive oil in a large pan. Heat over medium-high heat. To test the heat, add a piece of the coated cauliflower, the oil should fizz up around the cauliflower right away. Fry the cauliflower in batches until golden-brown, flipping the pieces over halfway through frying. It takes 2-3 batches in a 24cm chef pan. Drain the fritters in a colander lined with a tea towel.
Alternatively, for a lower fat option, bake on greased or lined baking sheets in an oven preheated to 180c (350f) for half an hour, flipping the pieces over after 25 minutes.
When all the cauliflower has finished cooking, heat the toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan over a heat between medium-high and high. When the oil is hot, stir through the onion for two minutes, then stir through the ginger and garlic for one minute. Stir through the chili for thirty seconds, then add the tomato purée, coconut aminos and coconut sugar. Stir through until bubbling then taste, and adjust the seasonings with salt and chili (it should be fairly hot, but still edible and tasty). Keep stirring for another minute or two, to allow the sauce to reduce, then quickly stir through the tapioca flour and water mixture. Quickly add the fried cauliflower and stir to coat. Serve right away, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
*if you have extra batter left over, cut an onion into half moons (or use any other chopped, fast cooking vegetable) and coat in the batter, then fry after the cauliflower has finished.
Most people that grow zucchinis in Tasmania seem to think the plants produce too much – I can never have enough of them – whether it’s grating them up and sneaking them into delicious chocolate mud cake, adding them to roast veggies for the last 10 minutes of roasting, grating and mixing them into a chickpea flour batter and frying as fritters, there are so many uses for them. Here is another way to use this vegetable, in a chutney that will probably keep for 12 months in the cupboard. It’s a small batch so if you’ve never made your own chutney before this is a nice one to try.
I’m growing costata romanesco zucchini this season (I think this is the third year in a row that I’ve grown it), it’s a really tasty Italian heirloom variety – so it’s GMO-free and easy to save the seeds.
Making your own chutneys and sauces is actually really easy and affordable. With shop-bought organic chutneys and relishes often being ridiculously expensive with weird stuff like xanthan gum and anonymous ‘natural flavour’ added to them it can be worthwhile to make your own, even if you don’t grow any veggies.
I based this recipe with the same amounts of fruit, sugar and vinegar as a pumpkin chutney recipe from Good Home Preserving. With the right jar preparation the pumpkin chutney recipe keeps for 12 months, so I imagine that this one will keep well too. The trick is to sterilise your jars with heat before filling, and to tip them upside down after filling until they cool down. I use this same trick for jams and sauces.
The flavourings I use in this recipe are reminiscent of a typical English chutney or relish. Feel free to change the spices, as long as the main ingredients are the same this recipe will work.
Gluten-free, soy-free, low fat, sugar-free option
Kitchen time 10-15 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour.
Makes around 1100ml/1.1 quart/4 2/3 cups)
300g (10.58oz) rapadura, sucanat, coconut sugar or raw sugar
300g (10.58oz) apple cider vinegar
700g (1.54lb) zucchini, diced
1 small carrot (or extra zucchini), diced (50-100g/1.76-3.2oz)
200g (7.05oz) diced tomatoes, or tomato purée/crushed tomatoes
50g (1.76oz) sultanas or raisins
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
125g (4.4oz) onions, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard powder (or yellow mustard seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon Himalayan salt, or natural sea salt
3 cloves, ground (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
Rinse enough jars out with very hot water (preferably boiling). Place upside down, directly on the racks of a cold oven. Heat the oven up to 120c (250f).
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-low heat. Stir every now and then until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid off, for around an hour.
When the chutney has finished cooking, bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add the pot lids or gaskets and boil for 30-60 seconds, carefully remove the lids and place upside down on a clean tea towel to dry.
Carefully remove the hot jars from the oven. Fill them up with the hot chutney (I place a wide-mouthed funnel over the jars and use a soup ladle to add the chutney). Screw the jar lids on tightly and turn upside down until thoroughly cold. Turn the right way up and store in a cupboard, it will probably keep for 12 months. It will taste best after it’s been in the cupboard for a couple of weeks, but it’s still good to enjoy right away. Once the jars are opened, keep them in the fridge.
Great served with mildly flavoured seitan sausages such as pumpkin seed, lentil and herb from High Protein Vegan, or burgers such as chickpea schnitzel patties or bean and sunflower seed rissoles from ‘High Protein Vegan’, or the lentil burgers from Triumph of the Lentil.
P.S. I have more recipes coming up on this blog soon. To ensure that you get to see them subscribe to the mailing list on the right hand side of this page to get blog posts by email – I don’t send spam, just blog posts which are not that frequent and always have a recipe or something useful in them. Facebook is making it really difficult for blog pages to get news out to people that like the page, so even if you ‘like’ the Triumph of the Lentil Blog page, you may not find out about new posts unless you follow this blog by email or Twitter.
It’s been nearly a year since my first book was released. At the time I had no idea if anyone would want to buy it and cook from it but it’s been great having good feedback on it and knowing people are cooking and appreciating my recipes.
When I started putting Triumph of the Lentil together there were no soy-free vegan cookbooks around. As more people develop sensitivities to this often-used legume it’s been important to me to have something out there that says “yes you can be vegan and enjoy all this delicious food without using soy”. My next book will continue this, with every recipe having a soy-free option, and plenty of recipes suitable for other allergies and diets.
I’d like to give away a copy of Triumph of the Lentil to a lucky reader. To enter the competition, ‘like’ the Triumph of the Lentil Blog facebook page or follow me on twitter, or sign up to the mailing list on the right hand side of this page. Leave a comment on this post with an email address I can contact you on. On the 15th of June the winner will be selected from the comments at random and contacted.
Edit: The winner has now been selected and contacted. Thank you to all those who entered.
To everyone that has already signed up to my facebook, twitter or mailing list – you are welcome to enter the competition, just leave a comment on this post. Your support has been greatly appreciated.
Thank you to everyone that has enjoyed the book and blog over the past year, I hope that you will all like my next one even more.
And now for a recipe:
Soy-Free Vegan Omelettes
These are a very quick and easy dish to make. In the photo the omelette is stuffed with kale, tomatoes and homemade cashew cheese, but all kinds of toppings are great on these omelettes, we often eat them with pickled gherkin slices and kale. For a filling meal serve with cooked grains, bread, chips or roasted vegetables.
Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Onion- and Garlic-Free, Low Fat, Under 45 Minutes
Total time: 20 Minutes. Serves 2.
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 cup water
Combine the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, breaking up any lumps. Add the water a little at a time, mixing to form a batter.
Thoroughly brush or spray a frying pan with olive oil and heat on a medium-high setting. When the pan is hot, pour in half the batter (if it is thicker in the centre and thinner on the outsides you can use the back of a metal spoon to gently spread the batter out).
Cook without disturbing until the edges are cooked through and there are bubbles in the middle. Gently flip over and cook for a further minute or two, until the other side is completely cooked. Place on a plate, keeping it warm in the oven if you wish.
When the first omelette is out of the pan, quickly pour the other half of the batter in and cook in the same way.
Put toppings on one half of each circle and flip the other side over the top.
This post has been a part of Allergy-Free Wednesdays.
At this time of year in Tasmania home veggie gardens are typically full of zucchinis. If you can pick them fast enough with the flowers still attached they are excellent baked or fried in a chickpea flour batter, when they’re small they are great sautéed or baked in some olive oil and salt, when they’re big they can be grated and used in cakes or breads. I created this recipe a few weeks ago when my neighbour’s daughter had way more zucchinis in her garden than she could possibly eat, and was trying to find people to eat them for her. After making chocolate zucchini mud cake I still had some left, and made this from it:
Shallow frying these in olive oil makes them extra delicious. To shallow fry them pour olive oil into a frying pan until it is around half a centimetre (1/5 inch) high. Turn the heat onto a medium-high temperature and wait for it to heat up. You will know when the oil is ready by gently tilting the pan and then placing it flat again – little squiggly lines will appear in the oil very quickly when it is ready and then it is important to put the fritters in right away.
Soy-free, gluten-free. Serves 2.
Zucchini fritter ingredients:
500g zucchini (1.1 lb)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup water
olive oil, for shallow frying
Grate the zucchini and place it in a tea towel. Mix in the salt and leave it to sit while you prepare the salsa.
Squeeze all the liquid out of the zucchini using the tea towel and then place in a bowl. Mix in the chickpea flour, then slowly add the water, a little at a time.
Heat the oil for shallow frying as described above. When it is ready scoop bits of the zucchini mixture up with a tablespoon and place in the oil, spreading it out slightly to make it flat, but not pressing it down. Continue with the rest of the mixture then leave to fry until the bottoms are golden-brown, 2-5 minutes. Flip over and fry until the other side is golden-brown, a couple of minutes, then serve right away with the salsa, a green salad and some fresh bread (or another grain dish or potatoes).
Avocado salsa ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
1 big tomato
half a medium-sized red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice (around half a lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Chop the avocado and tomato into fairly small pieces and place in a bowl. Slice the onion into very tiny pieces, separating them first, and then placing in the bowl with the avocado and tomato. Add the lemon juice, salt, cumin and paprika and gently mix with a spoon until evenly combined.