Anyone who reads my blog (by the way, we are lacking in comments!) is aware that although I am fond of meatless dishes, I could never really be considered a vegetarian. I do try to keep least one meatless day during the week, and sometimes I go quite beyond that.
When I met Renata, she told me that people in Poland keep the old Roman Catholic tradition of no meat dishes on Fridays during the entire year – something that has been pretty much abolished after the Second Vatican Council, when Rome gave the archdioceses the authority to keep the rule ot r not – most didn’t, and replaced that with either keeping the rule on Fridays during Lent (observed by many Catholics in the US) or just on Good Friday, the day when we remember Jesus’ death on the cross before the feast of Easter on Sunday.
I had no problem with that, since over the years I have been a bit of a lapsed vegetarian – something that is hard when all of your close friends are meat eaters – one actually used to admonish me for not eating red meat – which I still avoid – and would order, say, pulled pork sandwiches and try to force me to eat it (I should get revenge and force him to have tequila shots now that he abstains from alcohol). I actually introduced her to various meat-free dishes that are great substitutes for meats.
Though I have nothing but admiration for those who have to been able to keep a completely vegetarian diet, I must admit I simply cannot do it. I am a huge fan of seafood, and there is no way anyone can come up with tofu shrimp or something like that. Also, there are some recipes that simply cannot be adapted no matter how much you try – how could you have, for instance, Jamaican jerk chicken without the chicken?
Lately we have been keeping two meat-free days per week, and sometimes more when it works. For instance, just last weekend I made mushroom risotto with a side of sautéed cauliflower, and the week before that I made Indian koftas – a dish I rediscovered during our recent visit to Hawaii. These dishes are quite satisfying, and I am sure you won’t be missing meats when you serve them.
Koftas in Curry Sauce
Source: The Higher Taste
2 cups grated cauliflower
2 cups grated cabbage
1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon hing
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon corriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of cayenne
ghee or oil for deep frying
Heat ghee in a wok or 2-quart saucepan. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Roll in 24 balls, 1 inch in diameter. Place as many balls in the ghee as possible, leaving enough room for them to float comfortably. Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the kofta is a rich golden brown. Drain in colander. Place koftas in curry sauce and serve over white rice.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 1/4 cups light coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Place a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes, zest, garlic, and curry powder and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the coconut-milk mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, 1 1/2 minutes. Add basil. Pour into a bowl.