It was a good idea and I ruined it. I was all set to veganize a recipe for Thai fish croquettes using chickpeas and wheat gluten, but for some inexplicable reason I decided right at the last minute to use canned pumpkin instead. Maybe it’s because it was Halloween and I hadn’t made anything remotely seasonal; maybe it was the pumpkin sitting on my counter, taunting me with my unaccomplished goal of transforming it into some elaborate but still healthy dish. Whatever the reason, I chose pumpkin over chickpeas and lived to regret it.
Somehow the flavor of pumpkin was wrong in this recipe and especially clashed with the basil. The croquettes weren’t inedible–D and I actually had several of them as an appetizer before dinner–but they weren’t good, either. I was all set to destroy the recipe and put the photo on the blog with the caption “Don’t Try This at Home,” but D though it could be saved. He really thinks that with a little tinkering, this appetizer could be great, so he came up with the idea of
passing the burden giving you readers the opportunity to fix the recipe. I know there are some wizards of the kitchen out there, so if anyone can do it, it’s you.
Here’s what we’re going to do. Sometime between now and next Sunday, November 11, make a version of this recipe using something vegan other than pumpkin. It needs to be basically the same recipe, though you can change amounts and add or subtract an ingredient or two. (You don’t have to use the sauce recipe, but it was delicious and probably saved the croquettes from inedibility.) Post your recipe and photos on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, email them to me. In your post, link to this post, and just to make sure I see it, leave a comment here on my blog.
Once all the entries are in, D and I (because he’s the one who came up with this bright idea) will look them over and choose the one that we like the best. The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or to Herbivore, where you may choose to purchase one of the terrific vegan cookbooks coming out, such as Veganomicon, The Joy of Vegan Baking, or the upcoming Vegan Express (with photos by yours truly) or Yellow Rose Recipes (available only at Herbivore). Or you could use it to buy some of the ingredients I’m always yammering on about, such as smoked paprika or agave nectar. Whatever you want (just don’t order anything non-vegan or else you’ll be cursed!) See all the fine print at the end of this post.
Without further silliness, here’s the recipe:
Thai Pumpkin Croquettes
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
4 kaffir lime leaves, minced OR 1 tbsp. grated lime zest
1 teaspoon agave nectar OR brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten*
Place the green beans and basil into a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely (do not puree!) If you have a small processor, you may have to do this in batches. Pour into a bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Stir well for about 3 minutes, to allow gluten to develop. Set aside while you preheat the oven to 425F.
Spray a non-stick baking sheet with oil. Take a heaping tablespoon of the batter and form it into a patty about 1 1/2-inches (4 cm) across and 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) thick. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the batter. It should make about 30 croquettes.
Bake for 20 minutes, and then turn over and bake until browned, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with dipping sauce, below.
*You can make a gluten-free batch of these using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of gluten. Skip the stirring for three minutes, and form the batter into croquettes by dropping by tablespoons onto the baking sheet and smoothing into patties with your fingers.
Thai Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar*
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar (or sugar)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chili sauce (the kind with chopped peppers and seeds, not a smooth sauce like Sriracha) or use fresh chopped red chilies
1 teaspoon minced garlic
If you’re using agave nectar, mix all ingredients together well. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
If using sugar, heat all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.
*If you use regular rice vinegar, you may want to add additional maple syrup and some salt.
Again, here’s what you need to do:
1. Make the recipe, substituting another vegan ingredient for the pumpkin. Alter the seasonings to taste.
2. Post your recipe with photos to your blog (or email them to the address in the sidebar) with a link back to this post by midnight November 11.
3. Drop me a comment to let me know you’re participating. Include your name and the URL of your blog.
I’ll do a round-up of all the entries and select a winner within a day or two. Judging will be entirely subjective and based on which one we’d most like to eat. In the event that not enough entries are received, I reserve the right to keep the gift certificate and buy something for myself. Like expensive vegan shampoo. So there!
PS. This challenge isn’t just for vegan bloggers. It’s World Vegan Day, so how about some of you “regular” bloggers accepting the challenge and trying this vegan recipe? Remember, if you can cook, you can cook vegan.
Happy cooking! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!