Looking to take your vegetarian dishes up a notch, then take some inspiration from Jane Mason’s new cookbook Mexico: The World Vegetarian. While acknowledging that Mexicans are big meat eaters, Mexican food itself, she says, is ideally suited to a vegetarian diet with its wide use of eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Here Jane creates a vegetarian twist on a Mexican favourite – alitas de colifor.
“Mexicans do eat a lot of chicken wings – prepared with their very own Mexican chillies and sauces. I’ve adapted this recipe so that it can go in the oven and, trust me, it is amazing. The key is Valentina salsa (which is actually good with everything). You can usually buy it online, if you can’t find it at your local supermarket,” she says.
- Large mixing bowls
- Baking try lined with baking parchment or foil
- 125 ml whole milk
- 100 g plain flour
- 2 garlic cloves completely crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 dried arbol chillies, ground into a powder; or 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or 2 knobs of butter
- 250 ml Valentina salsa
- Soured cream, to serve (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, garlic, spices and salt with 75ml of water until there are no lumps.
- Place the cauliflower into the bowl and stir until it is well coated. Leave it there while you heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper or foil.
- Remove the cauliflower from the bowl with a slotted spoon and place it on the lined baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, turn over the cauliflower and return it to the oven for a further 10 minutes, until browned.
- While the cauliflower is baking, melt the butter or heat the oil in a pan over a gentle heat. When hot, add the Valentina salsa, stir, and heat it through gently. Set aside.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and scrape it into a big mixing bowl. Pour over the sauce and stir to coat evenly. Tip the coated cauliflower back into the baking tray and return it to the oven for 10–15 minutes, until crispy.
- Serve it just as it is, or with some soured cream drizzled over if you like.
Mexico: The World Vegetarian by Jane Mason (Bloomsbury Absolute, £20) is out now. Photography by Polly Webster.
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