Cooking Middle Eastern

Cooking Middle Eastern

Can I cook tikka masala?

I just posted on the McDougall Friends group on Facebook, I am getting tired of cooking the same old thing, week after week. Thankfully this IS something I have complete control over as I do a majority of the cooking. I am still open to preparing potato enchiladas for my wife, since she loves the flavor of them. Scouring the many websites I have collected and the few vegan/vegetarian cookbooks I have purchased, I am still at somewhat of a loss when it comes to cooking Middle Eastern recipes

Recently I was turned on to a Middle Eastern market called International Foods in Concord, CA (that is how Yelp lists it). I had been searching for chickpea flour and fava beans at a reasonable price. This small nondescript market had a wide variety of freshly cook foods, breads and ingredients for many Middle Eastern/Indian recipes. I was able to purchase chana besan and fava beans, as an added bonus, freshly cooked naan bread. The best part of this bread, it’s fat free, egg free (dairy), cholesterol free and contains no preservatives! It seems to be “McDougall Approved!”

Since changing my diet I have made a few different batches of hummus, all oil free. Some have told me it’s not hummus without oil. To each their own I guess I don’t use the “heart healthy” *sarcasm* olive oil since I don’t want the added fat and have done away with adding oil to my recipes. Another dish I am preparing better, baked falafel either in patty or ball form. Patties seem to bake better with a subtle crunch revealing a warm, moist inside. One dish I failed with, but will prepare better next time, dal palak.With this sudden find of naan bread I have been looking for dishes to accompany this wonderful tasting bread. I will also mention tabbouleh, but that was a box mix I purchased at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

Today I found a tofu tikka masala recipe that I hope to add to my list of favorites. While the original recipe includes 2 1/2 tablespoons of EVOO (thanks Rachel!), 1/2 a tablespoon to bake the tofu with and 2 tablespoons for the gravy that will be slathered over the dish. I don’t think this recipe will miss that amount of oil and definitely won’t add to the flavor. While I am not sure I an sell my wife on the tofu, I will still give it a shot. I will serve it over rice and if she isn’t into the tofu, then mixed veggies might work.

Baked Falafel

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups chickpeas
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the onion and cilantro. Add all ingredients except the cilantro and parsley into a food processor until mixed. Transfer mix to a bowl and add the cilantro and parsley. Roll mixture into 1 1/2″ balls or 2″ patties about 1/2″ think. Place onto baking pan covered with parchment paper.

Bake for 12 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

Serve in pita pockets, with hummus, tahini sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and/or cucumber.

Serving Size: 16-20 balls/patties (depending on size)

Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 61
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 147 mg
Potassium: 91 mg
Total Carbs: 11 mg
Protein: 2 g

Notes: I have changed this recipe a few times now, using the link below as the base. I have used a small onion and I have used dried, minced onion. The difference being when I added the small, chopped onion to the food processor it did require more whole wheat flour since there was a fair amount of liquid in the onion.

I have also soaked and cooked dry chickpeas and used canned, both yield similar results. I prefer the cooking my own chickpeas, to reduce the sodium level, even after I rinse and drained the canned chickpeas. This does some advance planning, I usually soak the chickpeas for 6-8 hours and then boil them for about 75-90 minutes.

Source: Chow Vegan