Chickpea patties, lemon rice, and green bean mallum make a balanced and tasty meal.
Tastes Like Home
Smack in the middle of Christmas week last year, a time filled with ham, turkey, lamb and chicken, I hosted my first vegan dinner!
When my friend, Taymer told me that she and her husband Laurent, both vegans, were coming to Barbados for the holidays, I did not hesitate in extending an invitation for a meal. Her response to my invitation floored me. She said that because they were vegans they were rarely invited out to dinner. This made me more determined to ensure that they’d have a meal to remember. Vegans do not eat meat or any animal products, which include things like butter, milk and cheese. When they do consume these products, they are always plant-based. Vegans eat only plant foods – vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), grains, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Once I had extended the invitation, I spent time thinking about the menu. I wanted to ensure that there was balance to the meal and that it contained all of the food groups we expect with each meal – a starch, protein and vegetable. I went a little further and thought of the flavours and textures I’d like the meal to have. And so I decided to make chickpea patties (for protein), lemon rice (for starch) and green bean mallum (for vegetables). Mallum is a type of salad dish well known in Sri Lanka. Vegetables are cut, mixed with coconut, onions and a little turmeric and cooked very quickly to ensure that most of the nutrients of the vegetable remain intact. I also made a quick pickle of some bell peppers.
My menu would also reveal the kind of flavour notes I was after – sweet from the mallum and bell peppers, sour and savoury from the lemon rice and salt from the chickpea patties.
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