Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vegetable and Ginger Casserole with Herb Dumplings - Cookbook Case Study - Vegetarian Cooking Without

Vegetarian Cooking without: Recipes Free from Added Gluten, Sugar, Yeast, Dairy Products, Meat, Fish, Saturated Fat

Having never made, or even eating anything with dumplings before, I was intrigued by this recipe and had it bookmarked for two or three weeks before the demon of study released me to make it. After an enthusiastic supermarket visit the day before, I set to preparing vegetables and discovered that 1.1kg of vegetables was much less than I thought it was. That's ok - I just had to make a plan for the other maybe 3 kg of vegetables I bought ;)

I was very surprised that I had to add almost a litre of water to the oven dish. I even considered the possibility that this was an error, if it weren't for the fact that it matched the alternate measurements given. It was right, in the end - but one thing about making unfamiliar recipes (rather than non-recipe standby dishes) is that sometimes I am surprised by just what I'm asked to do.

I had never cooked fennel bulb before, nor used fennel seeds. The only experience I've had with fennel, in fact, being the awful awful tea/drink I made from fennel picked from the garden as a child, in that stage when you are fascinated with the fact that garden weeds can be edible, so you become obsessed with eating them just because you can. (or, was that just me?) I was taken by the flavour of the fennel, cooked until tender, and I'm sure I'll use it again in this style of dish.

The dumplings were almost entirely rice (rice, plus rice flour, processed) - the best ones were those that I did not pack together too hard, leaving them slightly soft rather than thick and gummy.

While the recipe said it served four, the quarter each we had on the first night was too much for one setting (for Neil - I ate his leftovers, but boy did I regret it at 0400 when I woke up with food still in my stomach). I would recommend splitting the recipe into six, but adding a can or two of red kidney beans. The recipe lacks any significant source of protein without, and leaves you not quite satisfied (even if you eat far too much like I did). It seemed to keep okay for leftovers - which are pictures (with beans added as an afterthought).

Vegetable Ginger Stew with Herb Dumplings
Vegetable Stew with Herb Dumplings
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So, If I make this casserole again, it will either be served on rice, or with more care in making the dumplings to make sure they are soft.

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