If you read Fat Free Vegan, one of the raddest vegan blogs out there, you might have heard about Susan's Contest to salvage her Thai Pumpkin Croquettes. The pumpkin just didn't work well with the recipe and she is looking for a variation.
The moment I read the recipe, I knew what I wanted to use instead of pumpkin...
Pumpkin seeds are super nutritious, with tons of iron, protein, and minerals. I know that they're not fat free and Susan's recipes usually are very low fat (hence the name of the blog), but pumpkin seeds are just too good for you!
Plus, in this recipe they have a subtle flavor that doesn't overpower the basil, lime, or curry. When the seeds are soaked before going to the food processor, the croquettes end up tender and flaky with a delicious nutty flavor.
I totally loved these little cakes. After only about 5 minutes the smell coming from the oven was nutty, spicy, and distinctively Thai. I've never had Thai fish cakes, but the smell reminded me of how I imagine they probably taste...except not fishy!
I served them with basmati rice seasoned with lime, cilantro, and some chopped toasted peanuts. And then I poured that awesome dipping sauce over everything!
So here's the recipe- Copied from Fat Free Vegan, but adapted to substitute the pumpkin seeds for the pumpkin and add a little bit of cilantro.
Thai Pumpkin Croquettes
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds without shells, soaked overnight and drained
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
4 kaffir lime leaves, minced OR 1 tbsp. grated lime zest
1 teaspoon agave nectar OR brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten*
Place the pumpkin seeds into a food processor and pulse until they are not quite pureed, still a bit chunky. Add the green beans, basil, and cilantro and pulse to chop coarsely (do not puree!) If you have a small processor, you may have to do this in batches. Pour into a bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Stir well for about 3 minutes, to allow gluten to develop. Set aside while you preheat the oven to 425F.
Spray a non-stick baking sheet with oil. Take a heaping tablespoon of the batter and form it into a patty about 1 1/2-inches (4 cm) across and 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) thick. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the batter. It should make about 30 croquettes.
Bake for 20 minutes, and then turn over and bake until browned, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with dipping sauce, below.
*You can make a gluten-free batch of these using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of gluten. Skip the stirring for three minutes, and form the batter into croquettes by dropping by tablespoons onto the baking sheet and smoothing into patties with your fingers.
Thai Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar*
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar (or sugar)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chili sauce (the kind with chopped peppers and seeds, not a smooth sauce like Sriracha) or use fresh chopped red chilies
1 teaspoon minced garlic
If you're using agave nectar, mix all ingredients together well. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
If using sugar, heat all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.
*If you use regular rice vinegar, you may want to add additional maple syrup and some salt.