Author Notes: A friend of mine is vegan and has a fair number of food sensitivities on top of it, but she loves food. I love cooking challenges, so coming up with unique dishes she can have is always fun. These were the result of tinkering with making vegan and gluten free croquettes, and I happen to love them. While these are red curry, any mix-ins and flavorings would work, so long as they go well with coconut.
These can be served as a vegan main, or as the grain along side something. Make them small and they become delightful hors d’oeuvres. —fatgirleating
can sliced water chestnuts, drained and roughly choppd
cup Thai basil or mint leaves, loosely packed
tablespoon red curry paste, more or less as you like
cup coconut creme, you might need a bit more or a bit less depending on your quinoa
inch piece lemongrass, minced
cups oil for frying, peanut works well for this but use what you like best
- Rinse the quinoa well to remove any bitter taste. I prefer to do this in a mesh strainer with a layer of cheese cloth but any method will do.
- In a rice cooker, or on the stove top, cook the quinoa with the water and a dash of salt.
- While the quinoa cooks, mince the lemon grass and shallot, and roughly chop the basil and water chestnuts.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool until it can be easily handled. It will get stickier as the starches congeal, helping the croquettes to hold their shape.
- Mix in the lemongrass, basil, curry paste, water chestnuts, and shallots. It won’t full incorporate until you add the coconut creme, but this helps to minimize the mixing that needs to be done.
- Add the coconut creme, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together and holds its shape. You can test this by scooping out a small amount with a spoon and turning it into your open palm. If it holds the shape of the spoon, it should be good.
- Pour an inch or two of oil into a shallow, wide mouth pan. Heat on medium. Since there’s no meat or egg in this dish, the frying is to make a crust not to cook the food to doneness.
- With wet hands, form the quinoa mix into patties. About 1/4 or less of mixture per patty is enough. Gently shape them, don’t squish them.
- Fry the croquettes for 2-3 minutes per side. Drain well and serve hot.
- These can be made ahead a day or two. Shape the croquettes and lay them on wax paper in a single layer on a baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap. Before frying, let them warm up a bit on the counter.