Though this is more of a summer meal, perhaps in this crossover point in the season, where the chill has not quite arrived, there is still room for something light. These vegan koftas with avocado and nectarine salsa can certainly be eaten at this time of year. They are a hearty dish in spite of their appearance, yet with a healthy balance of lightness that is perfect for this transitional period.
The koftas are easy to make. They just involve mixing in a bowl and then shaping, before cooking in the oven. No sweat. The salsa again is just throwing everything together, and it’s only really the rice that needs proper care and attention. Be sure to soak it for the full time and then wash it thoroughly. This will remove most of the starch and make for a fluffier rice. The results are worth the extra effort.
Not every vegan likes to eat so-called ‘meat-replacements’. I personally find something to chew on quite satisfying and don’t shy away from such cooking. Juxtaposed with a healthy blend of fruit and vegetables it is, in my opinion, the perfect way to get a balanced diet. You can use any of the frozen vegan minces from the supermarket (they are becoming much more plentiful these days) and, of course, vital wheat gluten gives the koftas their real texture. I get mine from Amazon.
Prep time: about 30 minutes. Resting time: 1 hour. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
For the Koftas
1 pack frozen vegan mince, defrosted
1 cup (120g) vital wheat gluten
50ml light soy sauce
25ml dark soy sauce
1 small onion, finely diced
A large handful of parsley, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2-3 tsp mint sauce
The juice of 1 lemon
A dash of black pepper
100g breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
For the Rice:
300g basmati rice, soaked in water for 40 minutes, then washed and drained
1 can coconut milk, and water made up to 650 ml
1 tsp salt
For the Avocado and Nectarine Salsa:
2 nectarines, diced
1 medium red onion, sliced
½ small cucumber, diced
2 ripe avocados, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
A drizzle of olive oil
To make the koftas, put all of the kofta ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon and then squeeze between your fingers to fully incorporate all of the flavours. Now set aside or refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the wheat gluten to work its magic.
Once it has rested, roll the mixture into 8 sausages shapes and place a large wooden skewer through the middle of each one. Place on an oiled baking tray ready for cooking, then brush each one with a little oil.
Preheat the oven to gas 7/220C/425F.
Now cook the rice. Pour the washed rice into a suitably-sized saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, then pour in the coconut milk and water mix. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, then put on the lid and cook for another 12 minutes on the lowest heat. Do no touch the rice during the cooking process. If you don’t have a tight-fitting lid, place a tea towel over the top of the pan and then place a chopping board on top, making sure to keep the tea towel well away from the flames or electric ring. Once the 12 minutes are up, turn off the heat and leave for another 5 minutes, again without touching the rice. At the end of the 5 minutes, lift off the lid and fork through the cooked rice.
While the rice is steaming, put the koftas in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are cooked through and browned.
To make the salsa, put all of the salsa ingredients into a small bowl and mix together. Drizzle on the lemon juice and olive oil and serve.