Thursday, 26 April 2018
Shakshuka with falafel
This morning my husband invited me to have a cup of coffee at the vegan cafe. I have passed it by many times, as it's in a very central location, but haven't visited it, since it was rebranded. It used to be a funny little place called Chomsky (loved that name. Having studied linguistics at Uni, I found that name endearing and quirky). Can't say I was a frequent visitor either, but I've been there a few times.
Now it's a cafe called Eden, which serves vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals.
We ordered a coconut latte and a slice of pistachio cake. Alas, we were't impressed with the coffee, it tasted bitter and even sour.
The pistachio cake was dry and insipid.
While waiting for our lattes, I was browsing the latest issue of PlantBased magazine. I haven't seen this magazine before, and was curious to have a look. There were quite a few recipes which caught my eye, including a shakshuka with falafel. I believe the recipe comes from Aine Carlin's new vegan cook book called Cook Share Eat Vegan.
Shakshuka (or shakshouka) recipes that I know of always have eggs as one of the main ingredients. Being vegan, this recipe swaps eggs for falafels.
I'm not vegan, and have no plans to go vegan, but I do enjoy trying new ideas. I was very curious to give it a go.
I love aubergines, so any new recipe with them is a big magnet for me.
I tried to google the exact recipe to add the link here, but I couldn't find it.
What I cooked is a simplified version of Aine's recipe. She served it beautifully with pomegranates and a tahini dip on the side, and also authentic flatbreads, while I bought a pack of mini pittas.
Shakshuka with falafel
4tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic
a pack of tomatoes (225g)
1/2tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1/2tsp caraway seeds (optional)
a pinch of sugar
400g passata (e.g. Mutti passata)
1tbsp tomato paste
1tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
a pack of sweet potato falafel
Start by frying one finely chopped red onion in 1tbsp of olive oil. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, then add a deseeded and chopped chilli pepper (or use chilli paste instead).
Peel and cube the aubergine, add to the frying pan with more oil. Season with sea salt and all spices and add chopped garlic. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring, until all the cubes are coated in onion oil mix.
Place tomatoes in a pan, pour hot boiling water over them and leave for half a minuted, then drain the water and pour cold water over them. The skins will be easy to remove then.
Chop the tomatoes and add to the aubergine, stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes, then pour in the contents of passata bottle, tomato paste and pomegranate molasses. Add a dash of water to the sauce and stir. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and cook simmering for about 25 minutes until the aubergine is soft.
Molasses add depth to the sauce, but could easily be omitted, or swapped for balsamic vinegar.
Pour the sauce in a deep ceramic dish, insert the falafels in and cook altogether in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes.
Serve hot with pitta bread (or flatbreads).
The sauce was very tasty, and I will be doing it again. I used Mutti Passata, which was delivered with the latest Degustabox. It has a velvety texture and sweet, intense tomato flavour.