Monday, November 1, 2010
My First Vegan MoFo
Last year was the first time when I heard about "Vegan MoFo". Naturally, I didn't have my own blog yet and wasn't even seriously thinking about starting one; but I remember reading the entries on many of my favorite blogs.

This year, as I have my own blog - although it's still a total newborn - I couldn't resist taking part in the fun myself. I probably won't be able to post every single day or even five times each week due to traveling and study responsibilities - but I will do my best. :)
Since everything in blogging is still new to me, I think my goal with the Vegan MoFo this year is mostly to gain experience and consistency in blogging - and try to prioritize food posts over other things this month. Hopefully next year, it can be something more ambitious!

However, it also happened that I had stumbled upon a fun E.A.T. World blog challenge on Wing-It Vegan some time ago. I was still thinking about it, when I suddenly realized it would go beautifully with the Vegan MoFo theme - and I'm sure there are many other bloggers doing the same thing this month, making it even more interesting. :)


I love traveling, and when I don't have the time to travel to another country physically, exploring the cuisine, literature, music, and other things of that country is the next best thing. Most of my cookbooks are different ethnic cookbooks; and the less I know about the cuisine, the more interested I am to learn about it. One of my favorite pastimes in Copenhagen is to browse through the ethnic grocery stores, looking at all the interesting jars and bags, and admiring the exotic fruit, vegetables and spices.

Since I enjoy getting to know cuisines from all corners of the world, I decided to go the alphabetical way. It should offer me a good excuse to try out completely new things, and look for recipes I might have not found otherwise. I have tried to include countries from all continents, and will try to mix both baking and cooking. I felt a little obliged to include several Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and East African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania) - but other than that, I tried to pick less known, yet interesting places.

I had to leave out many European and Asian countries with wonderful cuisine, as well as whole North America; but I might do another roundup one day, featuring Europe, Asia, or the US states.

It would be overly optimistic to say I will complete the challenge in November, and quite frankly, rushing would only take all the joy of baking or cooking away. I don't cook every day; and most days of the week, I only have very limited time to spend in the kithen, resulting in the same old foods being rotated over and over again. Therefore, I'm going to try and include just one or two new countries each week - and that way, I can also feature other vegan treats, such as all the holiday things coming up... ;-)

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To get started, another coincidence meant that I had kept an Afghan pumpkin recipe saved in my bookmarks for ages, waiting for our pumpkins to grow. Since we now have buckets of edible pumpkin left from Halloween and only so much space in the freezer, it was the perfect day to test this recipe.

Since all we hear about Afghanistan these days is sad news, and as the image many of us see when we think of the country are men bearing Kalashnikovs, I thought looking at the flavorful cuisine of this old country and culture would be a nice and welcome change.

Country number 1: Afghanistan


Afghan Kadu Bouranee (Sweet Pumpkin)
Recipe adapted from here

  • 1 kg /2 lbs fresh pumpkin or squash, cubed
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 c crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
Heat the oil in a large frying/wok pan. Fry the pumpkins on both sides for a few minutes, until lightly browned.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients, and pour over the pumpkin on the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Let cook, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve topped with yoghurt sauce (recipe can be found through the link above), or with plain soy yoghurt, and sprinkle with fresh or dried mint leaves.

We just served this with plain soy yoghurt, as none of us is a big fan of raw garlic (I know it's healthy... and it's Halloween with vampires and all... but.. ;)) - but if you do like garlic, the yoghurt sauce is apparently very typical with Afghan dishes, and I'm sure it would pair beautifully with this dish as well.


The smell of this dish made me even hungrier (I was already starving when I started to cook), and the end result did not disappoint. The dish was really tasty and flavorful, despite the fact that the pumpkin I used was giant pumpkin, which generally tastes a little "blah". I can imagine this would be even better with a more flavorful pumpkin/squash, like butternut or kabocha.



Both my parents loved this dish, and instantly requested the recipe.

I made some chickpea-soyballs to go with the pumpkin for the sake of protein. Obviously, these tasted very much like falafel - but the cinnamon and mint added some new, distinctive flavor. I know many vegans who don't like to use textured soy protein; but I don't feel bad using organic, non-GMO TVP as part of a varied diet, and I like it specially when making a dish to impress die-hard meat lovers (though that wasn't the case today). :D

Chickpea and Soy "Meatballs"
Recipe adapted from here
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c cooked/soaked textured soy protein
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried mint leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs 
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F).

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. With your hands, form the mixture into equal sixed balls, about 1 to 1,5 " in diameter. Place on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can also fry these in vegetable oil on a pan - a few minutes on each side.



For the last, I made some naan bread to add a grain into the meal as well. I followed this recipe quite religiously, but added about 1/4 c oil, 1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds and 1 tbsp crushed garlic to the dough. I baked the bread a little too dry, but that was entirely my own fault (I baked it together with the chickpea-soyballs), and it still tasted good. :)

I also admit sprinkling a little sriracha on the chickpea balls after taking this picture - mmm!

I will definitely keep all these recipes - and I'm sure my parents will be making some of them as well. :)

Good night everyone!
 
posted by Seglare at Monday, November 01, 2010 | Permalink |


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