Rica Bowl with Lentil Stew, Miso-Mustard Tofu + Patacones

22nd October 2013

Today marks our 5th week in downtown Buenos Aires. We will be moving to a different neighborhood near “Palermo” in a few days. Despite the lack of kitchen appliances, we managed to cook and eat pretty well, if not a bit simple, in Buenos Aires. Sometimes it can be nice to get back to the basics but after a while you find yourself longing for an immersion blender or a food processor. One of the dishes we frequently made was the Rica Bowl with Patacones (twice fried plantains).

“Rica” means decadent or yummy in Spanish. “Patacones” are double-fried green plantain slices (Colombian), they are also known as “Tostones” in other Latin countries. The plantains are bigger than bananas and harder to peel when green. If you leave them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight they will ripen to yellow and eventually turn brown, getting progressively sweeter and softer. We like our plantains green.

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

You can add any lentils and variety of vegetables in the stew. We tried green and brown lentils so far. Add more vegetable stock for a brothy version.

The Miso-Mustard Tofu is one of our favorite savory snacks, in addition tofu is difficult to find in Buenos Aires. It is widely available in Chinatown, about an hour train ride away (that includes waiting period & stops). The problem is that when an item like tofu sells out, there’s no telling how long it will take for it to be restocked.

Serve these crispy Patacones (Twice Fried Plantains) as a side dish/appetizer with any meal or eaten alone, with dipping sauces. Or you can make soups with them instead of croutons!

We found some good green plantains at the verduleria (veggie stall) in Buenos Aires for about $1-1.40 (or $6-8 pesos) each depending on the weight. If you leave them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight they will ripen to yellow and eventually turn brown, getting progressively sweeter and softer. We like our plantains mildly green/yellow.

Rica Bowl with Lentil Stew, Miso-Mustard Tofu + Patacones

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

For the Lentil Stew

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 medium carrots or 1 large carrot, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice (Strianese Whole Peeled D.O.P. San Marzano Tomatoes)
  • 1 cup hot water or vegetable stock (Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n Bouillon Cubes)
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 small squash, cut into ¼-inch dice (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Miso-Mustard Tofu

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, drained for an hour and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2½ tbsp white miso
  • ½ tbsp wholegrain or mild dijon mustard, to taste
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • a splash of white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white or black sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup scallions, green & white parts, chopped

Patacones (Twice Fried Plantains) Recipe

Method

For the stew: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add the water (or stock), lentils, paprika, bay leaves, and soy sauce. Add the remaining vegetables (i.e., squash). Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and cilantro.

For the tofu, make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine miso, mustard, soy sauce and vinegar. Heat a large deep saucepan over high heat until very hot for 3 to 4 minutes. Add oil and let heat for 30 seconds, then carefully add tofu slices. Let the tofu cook until slightly golden brown for 2 minutes. Flip for another 2 minutes. Remove and transfer to wire rack; let cool. In the same oil, add garlic and scallions, cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant for about 2 minutes. Spoon sauce all over tofu and cook until some sides are slightly browned. Sprinkle sesame seeds over tofu in the end.

Notes

Advance preparation: The lentil stew will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator. Add a bit of water to reheat it. Adjust seasonings accordingly.

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

Vegan Rica Bowl with Rice Pilaf, Lentil Stew, Miso-Mustard Tofu, Patacones & Avocado

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

Vegan Rica Bowl with Rice Pilaf, Lentil Stew, Miso-Mustard Tofu, Patacones & Avocado

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

Vegan Rica Bowl with Rice Pilaf, Black Sesame Seeds, Avocado, Lentil Stew, Miso-Mustard Tofu, Sautéed Spinach and Sweet Patacones (this time, we got a slightly browned plantain and it turned out very sweet/soft. Stick with greener or slightly green plantains for Patacones!)

The Rica Bowl (vegan)

Have you ever tried Patacones or plantains? Share your favorite lentil recipe.

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