This vegetable loaf came about as the result of the challenge that we, the 4 Velveteers, set for ourselves this month. One thing I really enjoy about being in this group is the sheer variety of challenges, which really make us go beyond our comfort zones and explore possibilities we probably wouldn’t otherwise. I also like the creative freedom that allows each one of us works on one theme but interprets the challenge in our own unique way with a recipe of our choice.
This month’s challenge, Asha‘s choice, was to create a savoury dish in which fruits (fresh or dried) played a defining role in terms of providing flavour to the overall dish. No fruit salads allowed!
In my traditional style of cooking fruit, especially mangoes and ripe plantains and to a lesser extent pineapple and grapes, are regularly used in savoury dishes. I thought I would look outside India, however, for this challenge as it would mean cooking something I hadn’t tried before.
Searching out fruit in savoury dishes type of combinations, I realized that most western style cooking involved fruit based sauces which were served with meat or poultry. Then I came across a vegetarian recipe which seemed to hold some promise. I have wanted to make a vegetable loaf for sometime now and the time had finally arrived.
Now, I’m not sure where this month has gone exactly. Apart from routine everyday happenings, I have a lot more happening keeping me busy that I haven’t found the time to do this challenge till now. I’m also 2 days beyond the deadline! But, I do believe that it is better to be a bit late than never, so here I am.
This vegetable loaf is savoury and sweet notes are provided by dried apricots (and raisins if you will consider them as fruit) in the loaf and fresh mango and mango chutney in the the accompanying sauce.
The recipe I chose contained eggs which I wanted to avoid. I halved that recipe, substituted the eggs with bread and chickpea flour (besan) and added a little more vegetables. I made some changes to adjust for availability of ingredients and taste. I added a bit more spice, as I found the original a bit bland for our tastes.
If you would like to try this loaf, I would suggest taking a look at the original recipe as you might find that more suited to your taste.
While we found the loaf quite moist and tasty even though it looks a bit dry on the top. This because I did not pour some sauce on the loaf halfway through baking, as I didn’t want my savoury loaf to be too sweet.
I think it might have tasted better if I had baked them better as cutlets/ patties as these would have been crisper than the loaf. This is not a reflection on the vegetable loaf, but just our personal preference.
So you could choose to bake the loaf for brunch or as cutlets for a snack.
To serve with the vegetable loaf, I used readymade jalapeño jam and mango chutney with fresh mango to make a sweet, salty and quite spicy chutney-like thick sauce. If you prefer, you may serve it with another sauce/ chutney of your choice.
Eggless Vegetable And Nut Loaf.
(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)