Everyday Vegan Cooking

Vegan Recipes for Everyday Meals

Category: Holiday Recipes

Vegan Mafrum (Boulettes) – Stuffed Vegetables Recipe

The original Mafrum or (Boulettes in Tunisia) is a meat patty nestled between slices of potatoes, then coated in flour and eggs, pan fried and cooked in a thin tomato sauce. It is usually served without any sauce on couscous or rice with your favorite north African stew or soup along any north African salad like tirshi, Msier and marmumaThis is a staple of Libyan and Tunisian home cuisine and is usually served as a part of a Friday or a holiday dinner.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

I’m eating this patty every week since I was a little child since my mom and grandmother used to make it every Friday to go along with the couscous. So….today I’m bringing you a cruelty-free version of the mafrum that by no means less tasty than the original recipe and most of the credits for this veganized recipe go to my mom <3.

You might  wonder why bother veganizing such an obscure dish, for that I’ll say that mafrum for a north African is just like a hamburger for an American, and we all know how many vegan burger recipes are out there 🙂

Before going into the details of the recipe, I would like to note that this is not a easy or a simple recipe like many of the recipes I post here; there are multiple steps in it, and each is very important for achieving the final taste and texture. The vegan version tastes very similar to the non vegan version of the patty and carries the same texture, I know that for certain because I’ve tasted the original for many years and everyone in my family who had tasted it said that it is delicious and will gladly eat it when they come to visit.

One last note: though mafrum is usually made as a patty between potatoes, you can substitute potatoes for any other hard vegetable like zucchini, eggplant, fennel, artichoke, cauliflower, carrot, dried red pepper etc’.

Ingredients (for about 14 Mafrums):

1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean – cooked, drained – processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)

1 cup – finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup – finely chopped cilantro

1 big onion – diced

1 TBS of Kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 tsp – freshly ground black pepper

4 potatoes

2 zucchini

4 dried peppers

1/2 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)

1/2 cup of chickpea or lentils flour

1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste

Vegetable oil for frying

Tomato

2 cloves of garlic – peeled.

Directions:

Preparing the patty mixture

1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about 1/4 of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don’t skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley

3. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/2 tsp – ground coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic – minced.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

4. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird’s beak knife) to hold the filling  is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.

5. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

6. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Frying the mafrum

7. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.

8. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

9. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

10. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

The patty is inside these dry spicy red peppers – yum!!

 Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce

11. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato – sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes’ flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

12. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you’ve just cooked.

13. Add water, leave 1/8″ (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

14. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

 Printable recipe:

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Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 14
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean - cooked, drained - processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)
  • 1 cup - finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup - finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 big onion - diced
  • 1 TBS of Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • ¼ tsp - freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 dried peppers
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)
  • ½ cup of chickpea or lentils flour
  • 1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic - peeled.
Instructions
Preparing the patty mixture
  1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about ¼ of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don't skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.
  2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂
  3. Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
  4. In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley (in the sieve)
  5. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: ¼ tsp of black pepper, ½ tsp - ground coriander, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic - minced.
  6. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird's beak knife) to hold the filling is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:
  7. If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.
  8. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!
  9. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.
Frying the mafrum
  1. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.
  2. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.
  3. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.
  4. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.
Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce
  1. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato - sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes' flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.
  2. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you've just cooked.
  3. Add water, leave ⅛" (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.

 

Making North African Couscous From scratch

Couscous is like bread in North African countries. Dozens of years ago, when my grandparents lived in Tripoli and Tunis, it was made each Friday and every Tuesday. It was the base for a special Friday evening (Shabbat) and every week, there was a different stew or a soup that goes with it. BTW, On Tuesdays, they used to make it because the bakeries were closed and no fresh bread could be bought.

When I grow up, Couscous was made by my mom and two grandmothers every Friday and everyone loved it. As I mentioned, it was served with a stew or a soup, but along that, many cooked and raw salads were served and everyone was adding from each salad to his Couscous plate while eating. It was a very rich weekly dinner that celebrated the beginning of the weekend (Shabbat). I’ve encountered instant Couscous at adulthood and I have to say that it is only a distant relative of the real thing, it is less fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is probably similar to the differences between dry and fresh pasta  – you can REALLY feel it. So every time I make Couscous, I don’t even think about the instant version.

In future posts, I will most definitely post recipes for many salads, stews, soups and vegan-meatballs that go well with Couscous. At the bottom of this post, yo will find a recipe for Tirshi salad that is originally from Libia and is a staple salad when you eat the Couscous in this region of the Mediterranean.

Couscous with some salads on the table – Friday Family dinner

 

A plate with Couscous and peas and Artichoke stew with some salads on top

Before you start making Couscous you have to buy some kitchen gadgets 🙂

A Couscous steaming pot

Saw few in Amazon, here is one.

 

A Coarse Mesh Sieve (3mm hole) inside a big! metal bowl

The Couscous Sieve was very hard to find online, but I found something for you. And another one here.

The holes of the Sieve should be between 2mm-3mm for best results.

Couscous can be done without the Sieve (in a non traditional – our own family member invention that works quite well), but you will need a mixer like this:

Mixer

Or like this:

Mixer #2

 

ok, now we should be ready to start….

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs of Farina (Not semolina – which is used to make pasta dough. however in the UK, it is called semolina), also called Creamy wheat or Cream of wheat (http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Organic-24-Ounce/dp/B004VLVQ4I/)

1/4 Cup canola oil.

2 TBS of fine salt

3 cups of water.

 

Directions:

1. Fill (the bottom part of) the Couscous pot util about a 1/3 of its volume with water.

You can add two potatoes and a piece of a squash or a pumpkin in the water for later creating a special cooked salad called Tirshi (bonus recipe at the end of this post).

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2. Take  a paper towel, wet it with a little water and put it on the rims of the post. We would like that no steam will escape during the steaming process. Traditionally, people put farina dough on the rims to seal the pot. However, I find it to be very messy and wet paper towels work as well.

3. Now, put the top part, Turn on the stove on medium flame or heat and put the lid on. We have time now to prepare the Farina while we wait for steam to come out of the top part.

4. In a large bowl, put 2lbs of Farina with the 2 TBS of salt. mix.

5. Add one cup of water and mix with a whisk. Traditionally, you will do it with your hands but, again, I found the whisk to be less messy and works as well.

 

6. Now, you should pass the Farina through the Sieve. If you don’t have a Couscous Sieve, use a mixer to create finer grains.

7. With your hands, push the Farina grains through the Sieve. Making sure all the Farina had passed through the Sieve.

7. After the Farina had passed through the Sieve, the end result will be very fine grains. Add 1/2 cup of oil, and mix well with your hands.

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Now, the put should be already steaming:

8. Add the Farina to the steamer, cover with the lid and let it steam for 45 minutes.

 

9. After 45 minutes, pour the Couscous into a big Bowl, add another cup of water and using a whisk, mix very well so the extra water will be absorbed evenly. Those who like very fine grains can pass the Couscous through the Sieve again, but this is optional, the end result will be just fine without this extra process.

Here is the Couscous after I added another cup of water and used the Whisk to mix it well in.

10. Transfer the Couscous to the steaming pot again! the couscous seems to be ready now, but it is not. It needs more steaming to become a real melt-in-your-mouth fluff 🙂 This time, the volume of the Couscous will probably reach the top of the top part of the pot, as it had absorbed a lot of water during the first steaming process. Cover with the lid and steam for additional 45 minutes. Make sure that the paper towel is steal sealing well the two parts of the pot.

10. Transfer the Couscous into a large bowl, add another cup of water and whisk with a whisk.

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That’s it. 🙂 Might sound complicated with many steps, but once you get used to it, it is quite a simple process. Usually, while the Couscous is steaming, I will prepare a stew or a soup and many more Salads, so in about a couple of hours, I will have the Couscous, the Stew and at least 4-5 salads that will go well with the couscous at Friday evening dinner.

 

Bonus Recipe – Tirshi

Remember I told you to add some potatoes and squash (works the best with Kabocha squash or butternut squash) to the Couscous pot? Besides adding some flavor to the steams that flavors the Couscous a little, We will use these to make the stable salad for Couscous called Tirshi.

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Ingredients:

Juice from 1 big lemon

3 garlic cloves, grated or minced.

2 TBS Paprika

1 TBS salt

 

Directions:

1. Put the lemon juice, Garlic, Paprika and Salt into a Bowl.

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2. Add the potatoes and squash to the bowl and using a spoon mush it together.

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3. The end result consistency should be more like a paste and less like a mushed potato, so if it is too dry, add some of the water the potatoes and Squash were cooking in.

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4. Here is the final texture. Serve along with the Couscous.

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Vegan Challah Recipe – (Makes two)

This recipe will yield a fluffy airy Challa.

I used to make this Vegan Challa every week for my daughter (Jewish) school. Since she couldn’t enjoy Challa with the rest of her friends (original recipe contains eggs). After few weeks, most of the kids preferred this Challah over the Challah that was served in school #win
Dry ingredients:
5 cups of white all purpose flour or whole wheat/spelt or a mix in any ratio.
1 TBS of dry yeast
1/2 TBS of fine salt

Wet:
1/3 cup soy milk or almonds milk
1/4 cup Canola oil
3 TBS agave nectar
Put all the wet ingredients, mix together with a fork in a two cup measuring cup and add water until you have 2 cups of liquids.

Directions:
1. Put all dry ingredients In a kitchen-aid with a dough hook. Mix.
2. Mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.
3. Mix for 2 minutes in low speed (2) or until the dough forms together.
4. Let it rest for 5 minutes (to allow the gluten strands to develop)
5. mix for additional 5 minutes in low speed (2). The dough should separate from the bowl and slightly stick to the bottom of it. If it doesn’t stick slightly to the bottom after 5 minutes, add water by the tablespoon. if it is two sticky, add flour by the tablespoon.

6. Take the dough out and transfer it to a slightly floured surface.
7. Kneed it for two minutes.
8. Create a ball shape.
9. lightly oil the ball of dough and put inside the kitchen-aid bawl.
10. cover with a plastic bag and let it double in volume in a warm place (between 60-90 minutes).
11. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
12. Once doubled in volume, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, cut to two with a knife or a baker’s bench knife (for two Challah) and cut each half to as many strands as you want.
13. Braid the Challa from the strands (here’s a nice video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOKt18P7z4)
14. put on a baking pan on a parchment paper.
15. brush the breads with some canola oil.
16. cover with a plastic bag and let it rise for one hour (~20% less time from what it took for the dough to double in volume).
17. brush with a mix of 1TBS soy milk 1TBS of oil.
18. Bake for about 40 minutes.
19. The challa should be ready when you knock on the bottom of it and hear a hollow sound.
20. let it cool for one hour.

This is how you braid Challa for Rosh Hashana dinner:

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Vegan Challah Recipe - (Makes two)
 
This recipe will yield a fluffy airy Challa. I used to make this Vegan Challa every week for my daughter (Jewish) school. Since she couldn't enjoy Challa with the rest of her friends (original recipe contains eggs). After few weeks, most of the kids preferred this Challah over the Challah that was served in school #win
Ingredients
Dry ingredients:
  • 5 cups of white all purpose flour or whole wheat/spelt or a mix in any ratio.
  • 1 TBS of dry yeast
  • ½ TBS of fine salt
Wet:
  • ⅓ cup soy milk or almonds milk
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 3 TBS agave nectar
  • Put all the wet ingredients, mix together with a fork in a two cup measuring cup and add water until you have 2 cups of liquids.
Instructions
  1. Put all dry ingredients In a kitchen-aid with a dough hook. Mix.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix for 2 minutes in low speed (2) or until the dough forms together.
  4. Let it rest for 5 minutes (to allow the gluten strands to develop)
  5. mix for additional 5 minutes in low speed (2). The dough should separate from the bowl and slightly stick to the bottom of it. If it doesn't stick slightly to the bottom after 5 minutes, add water by the tablespoon. if it is two sticky, add flour by the tablespoon.
  6. Take the dough out and transfer it to a slightly floured surface.
  7. Kneed it for two minutes.
  8. Create a ball shape.
  9. lightly oil the ball of dough and put inside the kitchen-aid bawl.
  10. cover with a plastic bag and let it double in volume in a warm place (between 60-90 minutes).
  11. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  12. Once doubled in volume, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, cut to two with a knife or a baker's bench knife (for two Challah) and cut each half to as many strands as you want.
  13. Braid the Challa from the strands (here's a nice video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOKt18P7z4)
  14. put on a baking pan on a parchment paper.
  15. brush the breads with some canola oil.
  16. cover with a plastic bag and let it rise for one hour (~20% less time from what it took for the dough to double in volume).
  17. brush with a mix of 1TBS soy milk 1TBS of oil.
  18. Bake for about 40 minutes.
  19. The challa should be ready when you knock on the bottom of it and hear a hollow sound.
  20. let it cool for one hour.