From my searches online, it seems that the vegan souffle is one of those culinary holy grails. Most recipes available seem to utilize tofu or other soy products to mimic the texture of one made with eggs, though, and since soy is out of the question for me, I needed to find another way to recreate that unique texture, and fulfill a craving that I've had probably since Thanksgiving. I think this recipe is extremely convincing, and I'm pretty excited about the possibilities for future variations. Today was a gorgeous spring day in Boston, and I feel blessed that this lovely recipe was a part of it!
In my last run to a local Indian market that recently relocated (Little India moved from Union Square to the old Milk Row warehouse by Market Basket), I picked up a bag of coarse chickpea flour or maghaj flour, and though I've been limiting my consumption of flour lately, the few times that I've experimented with it have yielded really interesting results that have me scheming up both savory and sweet dishes. The coarse flour behaves differently than its fine counterpart, and because it's a little bit harder on the digestive system, I've thought it the perfect flour to try soaking/fermenting a bit prior to cooking, a process that I've wanted to better acquaint myself with for a while. The flavor of the flour is wonderfully enhanced by the light fermentation, and no doubt aids in the slight rise of the batter when it bakes in the oven. I love that the ingredients are pretty minimal, too, and are fresh and seasonal for most this time of year. If you tolerate allium, I would definitely recommend carmelizing some shallots and adding them to the batter. I'm going to do my best to not think about how unbearably divine that would be. This is my second submission to Ricki & Kim's SOS Challenge for April, and I hope that you are able to enjoy it soon!
HERBED LEMON & ASPARAGUS SOUFFLE
TWO 4" RAMEKINS
1/2 CUP COARSE CHICKPEA FLOUR/MAGHAJ FLOUR
1/2 CUP WARM WATER
1 TBS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
3/4 CUP ASPARAGUS PUREE
JUICE & ZEST OF HALF A LEMON
1/3 TSP APPLEWOOD SMOKED SEA SALT (OR SMOKED SEA SALT OF YOUR CHOICE)
1/4 TSP AGAR AGAR POWDER*
1/4 TSP DRIED PORCINI POWDER (OPTIONAL)
PINCH OF STEVIA
1/4 CUP ARUGULA
1 TSP FRESH MINT
1/2 TSP ROSEMARY
GHEE OR OIL OF CHOICE FOR GREASING
COMBINE FLOUR, WATER & VINEGAR. MIX, COVER AND LET SIT IN A WARM SPOT OVERNIGHT OR 8+ HOURS. WHEN READY TO PREPARE, PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT**. MIX TOGETHER ALL INGREDIENTS, ADDING THE HERBS LAST. GREASE THE RAMEKINS GENEROUSLY, AND FILL WITH BATTER. PLACE ON A BAKING SHEET AND BAKE FOR 35 MINUTES, OR UNTIL THE TOP IS A LIGHT GOLDEN BROWN.
*I'm still experimenting with agar agar, so since this is served warm, I'm not sure how necessary it is to the overall texture. What do you think?
**The thermometer inside my oven shows that my oven is always about 25 degrees under what I set it, so my oven was actually set at 375, registering at 350.