Saturday, November 12, 2011

Seitan-stuffed tomatoes with Moroccan spices

This is sort of a making-lemons-into-lemonade type of post.  Yesterday's seitan being pretty much of a disaster, it all went into the food processor to be ground into bits.  Here's a good use for some of those bits.

This is my entry into the Vegan MoFo November challenge, which is to make something original involving breadcrumbs as an ingredient.  Thanks to the organizers for keeping the spirit of MoFo alive during the 11 non-MoFo months!  I did not make a breadcrumb-themed three course meal, but these were pretty good, and a great way to salvage misbegotten, tasteless, generally old or texturally peculiar seitan.

Seitan-stuffed tomatoes with Moroccan spices
(I'm not giving a serving size, and the reason will become evident below)

2 tbsp almonds, roasted and ground
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
200g (about 2 cups) crumbled seitan
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried ginger
black pepper

2 fresh tomatoes
1 tsp harissa (substitute red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you don't have harissa or the time to make it)
2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup currants
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped coriander

1 cup cooked rice or other grains (any kind)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Start by roasting your almonds and grinding them up in a food processor to a granular consistency (you can just leave them in the food processor when you're done).

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and, when hot, add the chopped onions.  Stir and fry for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent, then add the garlic, the spices, and the seitan:

Stir and fry for six or seven more minutes, until the spices are fragrant and the seitan is beginning to brown.  The mixture will be dry.

Meanwhile, cut the tops off your tomatoes and set them aside (you'll need them later).  Scoop out the tomato guts and chop them; place them in a small bowl with the harissa and the soy sauce.  Mix this all together.  The reason for this is that harissa is super-hot and also rather thick and will need to be incorporated--I assure you, no one, even the most dedicated chili-head, wants a mouthful of harissa:

Add this to the seitan:

...and stir and fry for a few more minutes, just to warm everything up.  If it's still dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.  Then take it off the heat and let it cool a bit.  When it's cool enough, add the rice and the currants, parsley, and coriander, and run it all through the food processor to make a coarse paste.  Add the breadcrumbs:

...and mix everything up together:

Now taste for salt--depending on your seitan, you may have to add a little more soy sauce, or just plain salt.  You should have a nice thick mix, easily moldable into, for instance, balls...because, as you have probably already guessed, you're going to have a lot more mix than will fit into two tomatoes.  This mix could have myriad uses, but I am very into Moroccan cuisine at this moment and have specific plans for it that involve its intermediate metamorphosis into meatballs.  So, if you're me, you'll stuff your two tomatoes (putting their little hats back on afterwards):

...and make the rest into these:

The ones in the back are rolled in seasoned flour, because I seem to remember reading somewhere that this would make them look awesome when cooked.

Okay, I was wrong about that.  Probably it was awesome when fried rather than baked, which was what I did, at 375F for about 20 minutes.  Anyway, these flour-coated balls will be great in a stew, just wait and see!

Meanwhile, put your tomatoes in at 400F for about half an hour.  Watch them, and don't let the little fellas collapse:

Hey, they rose in the oven!  Cool!

Meanwhile, in true Moroccan fashion, I was steaming couscous: my homemade couscousiere.  As you can see, I have cleverly Photoshopped out the messy kitchen background.  That aside, even using just a colander and a pot, once you've tried steamed couscous, you'll never want to cook it any other way.

So the whole meal?

The stuffed tomatoes, some zucchini-lemon couscous of my own devising (just mix the steamed couscous with some lightly stir fried zucchini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper); and an orange-radish salad with mint, cinnamon and a few drops of orange flower water.  Yes, I cooked with orange flower water!  First time, and absolutely delish.  I bought it years ago to use in handcreams or some such thing, never guessing how handy it would prove to be in the kitchen.  Seek it out, peeps, it made this salad amazing.  Mmmmmmmoroccan!


  1. Looks amazing, and I will definitely try the orange flower water. Another thing to do with it--add it to homemade cleaning products (e.g., water, white vinegar + orange flower water to make window/glass cleaner). It will make your house smell wonderful (instead of like cats and farts, which is how our house usually smells, anyhow).

  2. those tomatoes are cute as can be!!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful meal! Every morsel just sounds exceedingly good...even the tomato/harissa mixture looks totally slurpable.

    Great job with the rigged couscousiere. I totally want to try that. The photoshop work makes it look like its appearing from the heavenly beyond.

  4. yumm! i've never made stuffed tomatoes - only peppers. gotta try this!

  5. Nice save with the seitan. I can't believe the way thgey rose in the oven! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the balls.