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Well hey peeps :)
Red is taking a well deserved rest day, and has asked me to drop by and say hi.
My kids are not vegan (not for want of trying!) and I occasionally have to relent and heartachingly buy non-vegan stuff for them to eat. But, thankfully, one treat they do enjoy greatly is the chickpea and rice nuggets I make. In fact the recurring compliment is always, "More spices please, daddy!".
This is an evolving and organic recipe (organic in the sense that it's evolving...if YKWIM!) and you should enjoy experimenting with the various flavours and coatings, but my base method is always the same. My measurements, however, are somewhat, ummm...liberal. ;-)
Trustworthy's "Happy Chicken"* Nuggets Vegan and GF
You will need: For the 'nugget'
Approx 1-can's worth of chick peas (if using dried, as I do interchangeably with canned, soak them at least overnight...measurement is the final swollen soaked amount or thereabouts)
A half-inch covering of the bottom of a small saucepan of rice (approx 2 medium servings cooked amount) - use whatever rice you wish.
A stock cube, or a couple of teaspoons of powdered stock (optional - and can be used in one or both of two ways; either added to the rice water and allowed to soak into the rice, or added to the blended mixture)
Canola and/or flaxseed oil (TIP: flaxseed will add omega 3s)
A few teaspoons Psyllium husks (for bulk and fibre) For the coating
Coconut cream - fattier and stickier the better - poured into a bowl
Cornflakes and/or rice bubbles
Herbs and Spices - your freedom of choice! For this particular venture I used: mustard seeds, fennel seeds, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, coriander leaf, oregano leaf, crushed black pepper, rock salt crystals
Turn the oven on to preheat between 180 and 200. Ready a roasting/baking tray with a little oil in it.
You can cook the rice (with or without stock) and chickpeas as you go and get the spices etc ready, or you can cook them the night before (easier to work with, and wastes less water because you don't have to rinse-cool them). Let's assume you've cooked them already ;-)
First thing you do, is use half of what you've cooked. This is purely down to the size of my blender! Add the chickpeas and rice to a blender. Add a tablespoon of the oil you've chosen to use. This will aid in the lubrication and blending. Pulse and stir, patiently, for a few minutes, adding oil where necessary.
Rice and Chickpeas awaiting the big blend
When a fairly even paste is achieved (lumpy or smooth - again entirely up to you), scrape from the blender jug into a bowl. You can add the stock cube now if desired. The paste will be fairly sloppy (as shown in the picture) but now you add the magic ingredient - psyllium husk.
Good and pastey...
Add slowly and keep stirring until a wet sticky dough is achieved, that can be shaped into small, no bigger than golf-ball sized, balls. Once this is achieved, put aside or in the fridge (fridging will aid in the shaping later, but may be a bit more sticky).
Toast your chosen spices. I use a flat saucepan on a medium heat, just be careful that smoke can appear very quickly, so watch it and stir often. When you've toasted them so the aroma is released, transfer to your pestle and mortar and crush them together.
Awaiting the pestle treatment...
Add a handful of rice bubbles and cornflakes (rice bubbles will go very fine, so do not use a naked flames around the dust!) and crush and mix together. Try to get the cornflakes to be coarse. They'll give a great crunchiness. Once you've achieved an amount of this coating that'll cover about a quarter-inch of the bottom of a medium-sized deep tub...pour them into a medium-sized deep tub!
Now, get your nugget mix ready at one end of your workstation (first in line from whichever direction is most comfortable for you), then the bowl of coconut cream, next the coating tub, lastly the roasting/baking tray.
Using a dessert spoon, spoon out an amount of mixture, shape using the palm of your other hand, and drop into the coconut cream. Repeat until you have about five or six in the bowl (too many at a time will make the next part too 'wet').
Trust me...they will soon be nuggety..lol
Then remove them one at a time from the bowl, draining to let the excess run off, and drop into the tub of coating. Shake the tub to evenly coat the nugget, then remove and place on the tray. Push down gently to make your classic nugget shape. Repeat these steps until either the baking tray is full of evenly-spaced nuggets or you run out of mixture. You may need additional trays!
Nuggets awaiting the oven...
Now whack the tray in the hot oven for about half an hour, or until when touched, the nuggets are no longer 'loose' and hold their shape when moved.
And now, ignoring the blatant mess in the kitchen, serve with french fries and oodles of ketchup or brown sauce or just whatever the heck you like! Or serve as a great addition to a Sunday roast - fresh or chilled and reheated. Cold ones are great in packed lunches - for kids as well as adults ;-) . As usual, enjoy, experiment...love being vegan!