Back in the days when I ate eggs and enjoyed them, there was still one thing about them I never could stand: that eggy smell. That smell ruined perfectly good cakes, gorgeous cookies, and crusty, otherwise delicious breads for me. But after going vegan I did miss the texture eggs gave to the recipes they dominated, like delicate quiches and omelets.Tofu, of course, was the answer, as I learned eventually, thanks to all those vegan cooks out there experimenting with egg substitutes. For my Spicy Coriander Quiche, which I’m sharing today, I’ve used soft silken tofu as an egg substitute.Here’s the truth: despite being a vegan, I don’t often worship at the altar of Tofu, although I do enjoy it immensely in dishes like my Tofu Paratha or Vegan Palak Paneer or even blended into some pasta sauces. And I love nothing more on a Saturday morning than a crusty bread and a plate of scrambled tofu.Anyway, after I learned of Madhuram’s Egg Replacement event– her chosen substitute for the month is silken tofu– I had a hankering to make this quiche because it is a great example of tofu as an egg replacer. No, correct that: it is an improvement on eggs.So out I went and bought a block of silken soft tofu which lay in my refrigerator for nearly three weeks before I realized I was running out of time to make it to the event deadline.
Last night I pulled out the tofu and looked in my pantry for veggies I might marry it with. It wasn’t a good day. There were some carrots, some sweet potatoes, some frozen greens, some winter squash, and some potatoes. Hmmm. Then, I saw this wonderful bunch of coriander. And three handsome skinny green chili peppers that I had just picked from my slowly wilting vegetable garden. I always have onions on hand, and with some garlic, I knew I had the beginnings of a very fine quiche.
I used whole-wheat pastry flour to make the crust. It was wholesome and delicious and made a great crust, but because of its low gluten content the flour does not really hold together, making it very, very difficult to roll out. I ended up patting it into the tart pan which was not such a bad thing, although it did have that abstract look…
If you want a more roll-able, neater crust, you might want to substitute half the pastry flour with all-purpose. You can also try skipping the crust: the filling is quite great on its own, but I do love the crunch of the crust that contrasts so beautifully with the silky filling.
I added a tablespoon of rice flour to help thicken and set the filling: an old Indian housewives’ trick to thicken a watery curry. I might have used cornstarch if I had some on hand, but this worked just beautifully.
- For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (if you prefer to roll out your crust rather than pat it into the pan, substitute half the flour with all-purpose)
- 2 tbsp trasfat-free shortening + 1 tsp canola or other flavorless vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6-8 tbsp ice-cold water
- For the filling:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion , thinly sliced
- 4-5 large cloves of garlic , very thinly sliced
- 1 box silken soft tofu , like Mori Nu
- 1/4 cup almond milk (can use soy milk)
- 1 tbsp rice flour (can use cornflour if you have that on hand)
- 3 moderately hot green chili peppers (jalapeno or the skinny ones found in Indian grocery stores would work)
- 3/4 cup coriander leaves , chopped
- Salt to taste
To make the crust, put the first three ingredients in a bowl or in a food processor. If doing this by hand, cut the shortening in until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. If doing this in a food processor, break down the shortening into small pieces by pulsing a few times.
Drizzle water as you mix by hand or by running the motor of the food processor. When the dough comes together, pat it into a disc and place in refrigerator.
To make the filling, heat the oil and add the onions.
Saute the onions until they just begin to turn lightly brown.
Add the garlic and saute on low heat for a minute or two until the garlic softens. Don't let it burn. Turn off heat.
Put tofu, almond milk, chilies and rice flour in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add salt as needed. Add the coriander and pulse once or twice until the leaves are broken down into small pieces but not liquefied.
Pour the tofu mixture into the onions and garlic and mix well.
Now take the pastry dough and either pat into a greased tart pan, preferably one with a removable bottom, or roll it into a circle and place inside the tart pan, trimming off any overhanging edges.
Pour the filling into the pastry shell.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven about 35-40 minutes until the filling is set and lightly golden.
Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before unmolding. Serve warm.