Several years ago I had my first encounter with Gobi Manchurian, a fabulously spicy and flavorful Indian cauliflower dish. It was on the appetizer menu of my then-favorite Indian restaurant where the chef took extra care to provide lots of vegan menu options. On that menu it was listed simply as “Spicy Cauliflower.” (The restaurant has since closed and I’ve moved away.)
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground coriander, divided
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, divided
5 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the cauliflower on an oiled baking sheet, season with salt and pepper to taste, and roast until just tender, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes total. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the chickpea flour, cornstarch, and all-purpose flour. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and the water and mix well to make a batter. Add another tablespoon or so of water if the batter is too thick.
In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip the cauliflower in the batter, then arrange in the hot skillet. Fry until golden brown, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer the cooked cauliflower to the baking sheet and return to the oven to keep warm.
Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, tomato puree, sesame oil, and sugar. Add 3 tablespoons of the cilantro and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the flavors have blended, about 5 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup of water is the sauce is too thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Return the fried cauliflower to the pan and spoon on the sauce to coat, turning the cauliflower gently to coat with sauce. Serve immediately. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro.
I haven’t seen my waffle maker since I moved from Virginia Beach in 2007. It’s probably in a box in the attic somewhere, who knows. I haven’t really missed it. In fact, I’m actually kind of relieved that it hasn’t been around. It’s just one less temptation. See, the thing about waffles is that if you’re going to bother making them, then you have to eat them. And they’re so delicious, it’s hard to stop eating once you start. So, out of sight, out of mind. Since I don’t see the waffle maker beckoning me with its “come hither” look, I don’t think about waffles much. Most of the time.
These are some great little frozen waffles. I love their size and the fact that you can make them in a toaster. So easy, so quick. To celebrate my long waffle hiatus, I wanted to do something special with them beyond the usual drizzle of maple syrup. Since Jon had put in a request for Bananas Foster, the solution was crystal clear: Bananas Foster Waffles!
“Easy to make” is an understatement. Just cut a pint of your favorite vegan ice cream into cross-wise slices and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening it as needed to be the same circumference as your waffles, then refreeze. Toast the waffles.
While the waffles are toasting, make the banana topping: Cut 3 bananas into 1/4-inch slices and set aside. In a skillet, combine 1 tablespoon Earth Balance, 1/2 cup pecans (halves or pieces), and about 2 tablespoons light brown sugar or maple syrup over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the Earth Balance melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the reserved banana slices and cook until softened but not mushy, about 1 minute. Carefully pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons of brandy or dark rum and cook for another minute or two.
To assemble: unwrap the frozen ice cream slices and place one between two toasted waffles (or you can just use one waffle per serving, placing the ice cream on top of the waffle). Arrange on large dessert plates or in large shallow bowls. Spoon the hot banana mixture on top and serve immediately.
Gary is a sucker for Valentine’s Day — well, at least for a Valentine’s Day balloon! A few years ago when this photo was taken, this balloon was in the living room and I was in my office. Out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly see the balloon coming through the door towards me at my desk, seemingly under its own power. I looked down to see Gary with the balloon’s ribbon in his mouth walking over to me. He was bringing me the Valentine’s Day balloon! Now that’s a sweet cat! (By the way, please excuse Gary’s goofy expression — I think his lip got hooked on his tooth.)
I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. Whether you celebrate it or not, I just think it’s a great day to think about love. To me being vegan is all about love: Love for animals. Love for our planet. And love for ourselves and our family and friends by eating a healthy diet.
Cookbook Giveaway Winner: It was fun to read how everyone plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day — thanks to all who participated in the giveway! The mighty Random.org random number generator has chosen one lucky winner of a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice and two coupons for free So Delicious products. The winner is: “Matthew” — congrats!!! Matthew, please e-mail me with your mailing address and I’ll get the book and coupons right out to you.
BONUS WINNER: In reading through the comments, I noticed that J has no kitchen while her new kitchen is being installed. Having gone through that myself a few years back, I couldn’t have done it without the recipes in Vegan Unplugged. So….”J“, please send me your address and I’ll send you a copy of Vegan Unplugged so you can cook yummy vegan food without a kitchen!
Happy V(egan) Day, everyone from me…and Gary!