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Meatless Day Challange: Black-Eyed Pea Fritters and Roasted Cauliflower Pita Sandwich

Posted Feb 17 2010 12:00am

Life without fried foods is actually boring. Do you agree? There are some foods that are meant to be fried while others can be modified. I actually hate deep-frying. I find it unsafe and messy unless I have a deep-fat fryer. But I try to avoid this cooking method most of the time because avoiding it cuts down costs and calories. While I'm not so worried about the calories, I am more worried about the quality of the oil used. I rarely use this cooking method so for this fritters, I will allow myself to do some deep frying and it's highly recommended. You can try and coat this fritters with chopped nuts and bake them in the oven and let me know how it goes.

I combined the black-eyed peas with some leftover black beans and added a few more ingredients to make it really tasty such as cumin, red chilies and chopped fresh mint and coriander.

Cauliflowers are also real cheap this month. I think this is one of the underrated vegetables in the market because of their bland nature. I only eat them because it's available but I was never really fond of it until I tried Rouxbe Online Cooking School's Roasted Cauliflower recipe. It's simple but sublime.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

I'm supposed to serve this as a salad tossed with a yogurt dressing but I decided to stuff it in sourdough whole wheat pita bread (still a bit too thin) that I made yesterday. This might involve a lot of work but I want to make vegetarian dishes special as I do with meats. I did use some leftover beans which cuts down preparation time. While I serve the fritters and roasted cauliflower together with some spiced yogurt dressing, they are really great served individually. You can use the roasted cauliflower as a side dish, tossed in salads or as a garnish for soup. While the fritters are great as an appetizer.

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters and Roasted Cauliflower Pita Sandwich

Makes 4-6 servings

Roasted Cauliflower (from Rouxbe Online Cooking School)
1 clove garlic
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper (to taste)
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
I whole head cauliflower

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 red chilies
1 lemon
1 1/2 cup cooked black-eyed peas
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1-2 tbsp flour, optional (use when mixture is too wet)
unrefined sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt Dressing
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
cayenne pepper, to taste
unrefined sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

coconut oil or grapeseed oil (for frying)

To serve:
salad greens or sprouts, or both
pita bread
mint leaves

Roasting the Cauliflower

To make the dressing, crush the garlic over a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and then set aside, while you prepare the cauliflower.
To start the cauliflower, preheat your oven to 450° degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the large florets from the cauliflower and cut them into even-sized pieces. Any of the very large florets can be sliced in half. Place the cauliflower into the dressing and toss.

To roast the cauliflower, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay any flat pieces of cauliflower cut-side down, so they caramelize nicely. Roast for about 10 minutes before tossing. Return to the oven for about 3 or 4 minutes, until it's almost cooked through.

Preparing the Fritters

To prepare the fritters, remove the leaves from the stems of cilantro and mint. Next, deseed the red chili and slice, then zest the lemon. Next, combine the black-eyed peas, black beans, cilantro and mint leaves, red chili and lime zest in a food processor and process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the flour (if needed) and season with salt and black pepper. Taste the mixture and add more seasoning if necessary.

Preparing the Dressing

To prepare the dressing, mince the garlic and juice the lemon juice. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, spices (grinding your own spices), minced garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.

Frying the Fritters

To shape the fritters, scoop up a small amount of the black-eyed bean mixture and shape them into balls and place them on a parchment-lined plate. (I had 18 pcs). Then, cover a plate with paper napkins.

Heat a large wok over medium high heat and pour in the oil till it's about 5 to 7cm deep. Heat the oil until a a piece of potato starts to sizzle and floats to the top. You can also try dipping a chopstick in the middle and look for the the quick bubbles below.

When the oil is nice and hot, lower the shaped bean mixture into the hot oil with a slotted spoon and fry until they are golden brown. Transfer them onto the paper napkin-lined plate (I use a rack). Fry them in batches to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil.

Assembling the Dish

To assemble the dish, toast the pita bread in the oven until hot, then cut them in half to make pockets. Then, fill each pocket with salad greens, herbs, roasted cauliflower and the fritters. Serve with spiced yogurt. This is also great serve with a bowl of cauliflower soup.


Lacto-Ovo Vegan

I use about 550 grams of cauliflower florets.

Hope you like it.

Love and light,

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