The other day, I was at the grocery store reading labels on hummus when my daughter asked, "What are those funny looking cupcakes?" Cupcakes? By the hummus? I looked to where she was pointing, and it was deviled eggs. They ARE kind of cupcake looking, and they are a classic favorite of springtime- from Easter picnics to family brunches. So, what do I do? I make them vegan, of course!
I don't eat eggs anymore, though, and I DO eat another round and delicious food- potatoes! As if potatoes weren't already the greatest thing ever, deviling them makes them pretty, delicious, and gives you a healthy analogue for an animal product.
Classic Deviled Potatoes
12 (or more in case you have some mishaps, I always make extra) baby potatoes
1/3 cup Moong Dal (link below to buy online, also found in Indian markets)
2 generous Tbs vegan mayonnaise (my favorite is Vegenaise, or make your own)
pinch Kala Namak (link below to order online, also found in Indian markets)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish and paprika
Begin by cooking your potatoes and lentils. For the potatoes, I use my mother-in-law's trick for making boiled eggs; I cover them by at least a 1/2 inch water, add some salt, and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, put the lid on and turn off the stove.
You are going to leave them like that for about 15-20 minutes, until they are easy to handle, so now you can make your dal. I thought I would get creative and try to make mine in the rice cooker, and it took three tries... I don't recommend it. Instead, make them on the stovetop by adding dal and about 1 cup water and bring to low boil, turning heat down once they are going. Cook until the lentils are soft. You should have about 2/3 of a cup of cooked lentils.
You want them not too soupy, so if they there is still a lot of water, drain them carefully.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the centers. They are delicate and you may break some. I find that a small melon baller gives me the best chances, and I didn't break any this time, but I usually do, and that's why I always make more potatoes than I plan to stuff. I can always find uses for pre-boiled potatoes in my house if I have extras. Put the scooped out centers into a bowl or the food processor. I wanted a creamy texture, so I used the food processor. Sometimes I like them lumpy, because I'm weird, so I smash them with a spoon. This is your kitchen and your rules- so do it your way.
After they are all scooped, do not skip this step: lightly salt your shells! Sometimes I tell myself that the filling is so flavorful that this is a useless step, and I always regret it. Just do it.
Now add your cooked dal, vegan mayo, kala namak, mustard, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Kind of looks like hummus, huh? The kala namak is sort of optional. It gives your filling a sulfer-y/eggy taste, so if you don't really like the taste of eggs, leave it out. It's kind of hard to find if you don't have an Indian grocery store nearby, but so are the moong daal. I live in Southern Louisiana, so I order both items online and it's easy. I'll post links below so you can buy them online
Now you have a yummy creamy filling that awaits your personal flair. Today, I wanted classic. I wanted it to taste like my great grandma's kitchen, so I added sweet relish. Some days, I add lots of paprika and dill and lemon zest. Sometimes I add cumin, lime juice, and jalapeños diced up. I've even added wasabi and chopped up ginger so it tastes like sushi. Go crazy. Whatever you want. If you add something chunky, like the relish I added, it's going to be hard to pipe out pretty ones like these... Which is why the bag I was using to pipe these got a clog in my pastry tip and exploded. The ones in the back are just using the bag with no tip and they are still pretty... That's fine. Just don't you a small pastry tip if you have chunks. And, in the interest of transparency, I didn't use a pastry bag, I put a pastry tip in a gallon ziplock. It all works out in the end.
They sure are cute when you use the pastry bag, though.
Let me know what flavors you try with yours in the comments!
You can even put them in a little cupcake liner to make your own "funny looking cupcakes."
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
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