I love the classic version of these Middle Eastern baked eggs in spicy, rich tomato sauce. I wanted to know if I could make a vegan version that retained all the elements that make this dish great: the textures, saucy spiciness and richness. And you know what? I reckon I did it.
Spicy tomato sauce
- 80 ml (2½ ﬂ oz/⅓ cup) olive oil
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), seeded and sliced
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), seeded and sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp chilli ﬂakes, or to taste
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 400 g (14 oz) tins diced tomatoes
- ¼ bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ bunch ﬂat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- juice ½ lemon
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh medium/ﬁrm tofu
- 1 small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp No Egg whisked with 2 tbsp cold water
- 3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) ﬂour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove, minced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the capsicum and onion, along with a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, bay leaf, spices and salt and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the tomato, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and well combined. Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Using two spoons, scoop the mixture and roughly quenelle, then drop into the simmering water, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan (cook them in batches if necessary). Once the dumplings float to the top, cook for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon.
3. Add the dumplings to the sauce in a single layer and cook for another 5 minutes. Finish with the herbs and lemon juice, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.
• The dumplings can be prepared in advance and stored, cooked or uncooked, in the fridge.
Recipe and images from Vegan with Bite by Shannon Martinez (Hardie Grant Books, $34.99). Photography: © Nikki To