Archive for June, 2010

Savory Crisp Mung Bean Pancakes

I love a dish that provides protein and veggies in one place, is portable, and can be easily eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. Fritters and vegetable pancakes are one such dish and the options for filling, seasoning, and serving them are endless, making this one of the more flexible recipes out there. This recipe is for a thinner batter baked in a cast iron skillet into a slightly crunchy flatbread-type pancake. By varying the liquid in the batter, you can change the texture to a thicker, softer griddle cake. Either way, they are delicious, so experiment and enjoy!

Mung beans are easy to digest and a good source of protein; soaking and rinsing them improves their digestibility and softens them for blending. If you would prefer to use sprouted beans, use whole mung beans and leave them in the strainer to sprout after soaking. This will take about 18 hours or so.

You can decide how you want to add the vegetables and whether you want to cook them first. You can just stir in quicker-cooking vegetables like chopped greens, tomatoes, and peas; I prefer to cool onions and broccoli and other pungent or hard vegetables first.

The batter keeps in the fridge for at least a couple days, so feel free to make a double batch and cook the pancakes as needed. If you only have one oven-proof skillet, you’ll need to make these in batches or make additional pancakes on the stove top.

  • 1 cup split mung beans
  • water for soaking
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon or lime (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • ghee or olive oil
  • 1 baby walla walla onion or 4-5 scallions, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, flowerettes chopped, stem peeled and sliced
  • 4 inches or so garlic scape, sliced (or chop a clove of garlic)
  • 2 handfuls of parsley, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
  • optional – sliced or chopped hot peppers, diced tomatoes, fresh or frozen peas, parboiled sliced potatoes, thinly-sliced bell peppers

Soak the mung beans overnight. Drain and rinse. To make the batter, put the rinsed mung beans, 1/2 cup water, citrus juice, cumin, cayenne, salt, and a few grinds of pepper into a blender. Blend until very smooth, adding water as necessary. The batter should blend easily and should be pourable (like a crepe batter). At this point, you can either refrigerate the batter in a tightly covered container to finish later, or proceed with the recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee or olive oil and saute the onions until they begin to brown. Add the broccoli and garlic scapes, sprinkle with salt, and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Mix the cooked veggies into the batter with the rest of the ingredients. Pour olive oil into the skillet to coat the pan and pour batter into the skillet, tilting if necessary to help it spread to the edges. Bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until brown on the bottom, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes until the second side is speckled with brown. Serve plain, with a slaw or chutney for dipping. Enjoy!

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Tofu and Market Veggie Sauté

It’s always so great when the market opens in April to give us fresh, local greens; and I’m so grateful for the hothouse tomatoes after a LONG Winter.  Come June, though, I’m ready for a little more color, and maybe something slightly less leafy, at the Farmers’ Market.  I’m happy to report that the time has come.  This morning, we found carrots, sugar snap peas, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, green garlic, garlic scapes, baby walla walla onions, and of course big beautiful bunches of kale, spinach, salad greens to which our loyalty remains even when their more colorful counterparts finally come into season.  There’s more too; visit the market and see!

We like to sleep in on Saturday mornings, which means rolling out of bed and getting straight to the market – no time for eating!  We munched on our first farm carrots and sugar snap peas of the season, but we were hungry by the time we got home!  So, we took stock of our bounty and made a delicious and simple tofu and veggie sauté.   If you don’t like tofu, skip it and use a different protein.  If you bought herbs on your trip to the market or you have some in your garden, by all means, use what you like.  Vary the vegetables as you like, but use them generously!

This makes enough for 2-3 hungry people, but you can adjust as needed…

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large baby walla walla onion, thinly
  • 1/2 pound extra firm tofu (preferably frozen and thawed), diced
  • 3-4 inches garlic scape, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (or so) of sugar snap peas, cut in thirds
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups cooked rice (or other grain)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large cast iron (0r stainless) skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, pick up your skillet and tilt in a circle until it’s generously coated.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then add walla walla onions and tofu.   Spread into a single layer and  leave undisturbed for a few minutes.  Once the tofu is browned, flip it and spread again into a single layer.  Add the garlic scapes and sauté for a few more minutes.  Add the spinach and stir through until it begins to wilt.  Add the tomatoes and sugar snap peas.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Give the veggie mixture a few stirs, then layer the rice on top and leave it for a few minutes to let the steam finish cooking the vegetables.   Stir the rice through and let it cook another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Enjoy!

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