In Arabic and Persian cuisines there is a type of thick baked omelet or fritatta that can utilize almost any vegetable (but always contains some green herbs). Sometimes the mixture is made into small "pancakes" or "patties" and is shallow-fried in oil or clarified butter instead of baked. This is the type of thing I wanted to try, but, of course, egg-free and made with only a little oil. I decided to try a mixture of mashed tofu and chickpea flour instead of the egg.
Persian Style Potato Pancakes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 2 large russet potatoes (1 lb. total)
- 8 ounces medium-firm tofu, drained and mashed
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour (besan)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
- Peel the potatoes cut them in half. Steam them until they are just barely done (still a bit firm). (Alternatively, you can microwave-steam the potatoes in a covered Pyrex casserole for 4 to 5 minutes, or are just barely done but still a bit firm.) Cool the potatoes in the freezer while you gather the other ingredients, mash the tofu, etc.
- Grate the cooled-down potatoes on a box grater into the mashed tofu in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Divide into 9 equal portions and form into patties.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a medium to large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half of the patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown on each side, handling gently. Repeat with the other 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the rest of the patties. Serve hot.
This recipe uses curry powder—not something you generally find in Persian cooking—which evidently is used in the potato pancakes made in the ancient city of Elam in southwestern Iran, according to the book Silk Road Cooking.