Little disclaimer: this is a very nostalgic dish for me. My mother was- and still is- an excellent cook, and she used to make a Middle Eastern meatball type dish called “kebab hindi”. It was everyone’s favourite in the family, when she cooked it, it was the best day of the week 🙂 However she used beef to make the meat balls. Yet it’s a speciality that still means a lot to me- which I can no longer eat in its original state (no cows for me!) Having the ability to veganize it is a powerful thing which reflects how our generation is slowly shifting towards a more plant-based diet. This doesn’t mean that our generation is better- it simply means that we are more empowered, we’re more “aware” thanks to all the tools we have at hand- namely the internet. We know that we don’t need meat to “survive”. We’re aware of practices of the meat industry. Because of information overload, we might find empathy and sustainable lifestyles to be relevant today- and more than ever before. From mother to daughter, the love for this dish remains, but the philosophy behind it is different 🙂
The good stuff:
- The kebabs are made entirely out of lentils and a few more ingredients. Lentils are a vegan staple that is not only affordable, but incredibly nutritious- protein, iron & fiber.
- There are a lot of healthy spices in this dish and the tomato sauce is rich in vitamin A, C, and vitamin K- in addition to magnesium & potassium.
For the kebabs:
- 2 cups lentils, uncooked
- 1 large onion, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Pinch of salt
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 large can of tomato sauce*
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 scotch bonnet, finely chopped**
- Pinch of salt
- Coconut oil
- Cook the lentils (you can do this the day before)
- Cook the onions until transluscent
- In a large bowl, mix the cooked lentils, onions, breadcrumbs & coconut oil. Mix everything together.
- Now take 3/4 of that portion and whizz it in a food processor. Thin it out with a LITTLE bit of water if necessary.
- Now return the lentils to the bowl and mix everything together again. Add salt, cumin, pimento, cinnamon, fresh parsley. Taste as you go! You want something that replicates what would be ground beef, in the traditional recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Form the kebabs (wet your hands as it might be sticky). Place on tray and bake for 30 mins.
- In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce:
- In a pot, cook the onions, garlic & scotch bonnet.
- Then add the tomatoes until soft
- Follow with the tomato sauce.
- Season with cumin and pinch of salt. Taste as you go!
- When you’re ready to enjoy, just place the “kebabs” on a plate and pour tomato sauce on top 🙂
- While this recipe may appear as tedious, the great thing is that you can make the “kebabs” and freeze them (uncooked).
- * You will find tomato sauces that are just tomatoes and nothing else. Please read the label and work with what you’re comfortable with 🙂 This is a short cut because not everyone has time on their hands to make tomato sauce from scratch.
- ** If you don’t have access to scotch bonnet, use any hot pepper available in your country.