April 18, 2021 – Arab Cuisine

Sunday, April 18, 2021
VBC Meeting #98: Arab Cuisine
Host of the Month: Drew
Location: Denton and the Internet

For April, Drew hosted a live, synchronous, and asynchronous Vegan Bake Club meeting all in one! A few of us attended in person (finally!), setting up outside with room to spread out. Caroline joined us via a Jitsi video meeting from Oceanside. However, we all also still emailed everything we made for those that didn’t attend on the day.

This month’s theme was Arab cuisine! Arab food is soooo tasty (Drew quote)! Also, April is Arab American Heritage Month.

Drew with food and laptop

This is what we made (in the words of those who made it):

Caroline: Fool and Taboon Bread

For the April 2021 meeting of VBC, Arab Cuisine theme, I made fool and taboon bread, which are both from Palestine. Fool is like hummus but with fava beans instead of garbanzo. Taboon bread is named for the clay/earthen pit oven in which it is traditionally baked. While I wish I had a taboon oven, the recipe I found had an adaptation where you use your regular boring oven, lining a baking tray with rocks and laying out the dough to bake over the rocks!

fool fava dip with taboon bread

I found the recipes for this theme when I had a lot of time to myself, so I had the opportunity to indulge in some “art” where I wrote the recipes out and drew some stuff and tried to make it pretty! The links are also provided since my “recipe art” is probably kinda hard to read.

Anyway, the taboon bread dipped in the fool was delicious, hearty, fun to make and fun to shop for (I went to a really cool Middle Eastern grocery store where I got treats like dates and pistachio cotton candy!!!). The only note on the recipes I have is that I doubled the amount of warm water for the taboon bread dough.

Lauren and Billy: Vegan Shakshouka with Bread; Lokma

For the Arab theme Billy and I worked together on a savory dish and a sweet dish. For the former, we made Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎), a North African Arab dish according to Wikipedia, which is usually a tomato and pepper dish that has eggs poached in it. For the tomato-y part, we worked off of this vegan shakshouka recipe using diced tomatoes (not fire-roasted), tomato paste, chopped red and green bell peppers, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and salt. For the “egg” part we used an omelette batter of tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic, olive oil, onion powder, turmeric, black salt, white pepper, mustard powder, chickpea flour, and tapioca flour. We formed this into little rounds on the griddle to cook before placing them in the tomato bath. We topped the dish with chopped parsley and Billy’s greenhouse mint. We liked the flavors of this dish, and think it would be good without going to the trouble of making the egg rounds, instead using cubed tofu or beans or textured vegetable protein or whatever veggie protein you like instead. We served the shakshouka with slices of fresh baked bread, as multiple recipes said bread was a must!

vegan shakshouka with fresh bread

For our sweet, we made lokma, a syrup soaked donut-like thing long served in Arab countries. We made the lokma recipe with flour, water, yeast, and sugar. The batter this made was a wet goo, which I think it is supposed to be. After letting it sit for an hour or so, we put it into a pastry bag, from which Billy squirted and cut globs into hot vegetable oil for frying. The little oddly shaped donuts our dough fried into was put warm into a room temperature simple syrup of sugar, water, lemon juice, and vanilla to soak for a minute or so.

lokma on a tray and in syrup

Shannon: Chocolate Hummus

My addition to VBC Arab Cuisine was an ill-fated attempt at chocolate hummus. I actually had planned to do chocolate hummus for the March unfrosted theme, but then I died for like two weeks. So I repurposed my idea for April. So in March I had looked up a lot of different recipes for chocolate hummus and bought ingredients based off of those. But then in April I couldn’t find the same recipes (poor planning). So I mostly used this recipe.

chocolate hummus, pretzels, dates

But, first problem, when I started pulling ingredients out I realized I did not have any cocoa powder (very strange for my pantry), and it was like t minus 15 minutes to the VBC meeting (it was supposed to be a five minute recipe!). So I had to do a quick desperate run to the store to get some. Then I subbed tahini for the peanut butter (because I had already purchased the tahini especially for the hummus in March), and I obviously used maple syrup and not honey. Both of my substitutes I feel were much more liquidy than the original ingredients listed. So when I first mixed it up, it was super watery and lame and not chocolate hummus. So I tried throwing in an extra can of chickpeas. That kind of helped. But I also feel like I need to invest in a super high-powered blender or something because I could not get it as smooth and creamy as real chocolate hummus. Also, the addition of more chickpeas meant the sweetness was reduced considerably. And, p.s., tahini has a very powerful flavor. Sooo, yeah, not what I was going for. And it was supposed to be easy! I did make it to the meeting though. So that was a win at least.

chocolate hummus with pear slices, pretzels, and Biscoff

Also, p.s., at the meeting, I did not serve it with pears. Which was a good idea. Because those pears did not go with the hummus at all!

Drew: Batata Harra; Lebanese Maghmour

I made 2 dishes for this month’s get together. First, I made Batata Harra following this recipe. It is pretty much a sorta spicy potato dish with lots of herbs that could be served warm or room temperature. I made it in the morning so it was room temperature by the time we ate it.

batata harra

Next, I made a Lebanese Maghmour following this recipe. I am lazy, so I used canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes rather than fresh. Also, I didn’t have any dried mint, so I used some fresh mint that recently sprouted from some that was planted last year.

Lebanese Maghmour

Caroline wins the prize for hand drawing and writing out the recipes!

Slynn: Lentil Soup

I was feeling sick the day of VBC so I decided to make some soup. I’ve been reading this novel about a Palestinian family that pretty serious, but there are a lot of food descriptions, and in one scene stirring cumin into lentil soup is mentioned so that inspired my VBC dish. The ingredients are red lentils, chopped onions, celery, carrots, water, veg-broth cube, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salt. I looked at several recipes, but it is a simple soup to make especially when ill.

lentil soup in pot

Shannon, I’ve made chocolate hummus a few times using this recipe . Doesn’t require tahini if you don’t have it on hand.

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