I saw a video on Facebook yesterday containing a vegan version of a Spanish omelette. I remember making Spanish omelettes for quite some time and not getting the results that I had seen from my Spanish friends. I could never figure out what I was doing wrong, until one day I was with a long-time friend while she made one. I could see instantly my mistake. I had been frying the potatoes and onions and then pouring the omelette mix into the pan with them, leaving the dish to often break up and be stodgy. What my friend did was allow the potatoes and onions to cool slightly and then add them to the bowl with the omelette in before putting it in the pan. It was like a light had been switched on for me, and from then I was able to make the dish correctly.
Until seeing this video I hadn’t thought of veganising the Spanish omelette but I gave it a go last night with quite reasonable results. The recipe called for gram flour and water to be used as the egg mixture, which the potatoes and onions would be put in. I wanted to make mine with tofu, so that it would be more like the vegan scramble (which, incidentally, with some gram flour mixture is pretty good).
I quickly discovered that we were out of onions. I considered going out to get some but I was already in my pyjamas and didn’t want to get dressed again. We were off to a great start. I decided to proceed regardless and began squeezing as much liquid as I could out of my pack of tofu. I used the microwave to part-cook the potatoes (new potatoes were all I had in), and then fried them for about 10 minutes before putting the tofu in with them.
‘I’m going for a bath, how long will dinner be?’ my wife Samantha called out from the bottom of the stairs.
I looked at the cooking spuds, then I looked over at her. ‘About 20 minutes.’ It was a very generic answer. I had no idea how long it was going to be.
With the tofu fried off I added some nutritional yeast, turmeric, mild chilli powder and garlic, a veg stock cube and then, in a spur-of-the-moment decision, about half a tub of hummus. I let that cool for a few as my friend had taught me and then put them in the gram flour mixture. Oh, and I added some frozen peas as well, just for the hell of it.
I cleaned the pan and put more olive oil in and then poured the mixture into that. I let it cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes until it was solid most if the way through. Then the fun part: I had to flip this thing over. I put a plate over the frying pan so that I could turn the omelette onto it, the traditional Spanish method. I knew this worked with an egg omelette, but with the mixture I had just created I wasn’t so convinced. I prepared for the worst and turned the pan.
It held its shape. I was not scalded by hot vegan omelette, nor was my stove turned into a cleaning nightmare. The food sat solidly on the plate like it had been fixed there. Impressed with myself, I slid it back into the pan to cook the other side. It had browned quite nicely on the cooked side too, giving it a crisp outer coating. Samantha returned at this point, just in time for me to show off my achievement. I cooked it for another five minutes while she got dressed, pressing and shaping occasionally with a plastic spatula and then glided the finished piece onto a clean plate ready for serving. Now to cut. The knife went through easily as I sliced it into wedges and everything stayed in place – a good sign. It was temptingly crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and all looked as if it had worked in my favour.
We ate it with some vegan sausages and baked beans (a nice British twist on a Spanish classic, I thought). It was surprisingly good for a first attempt. If I’m being critical, I would like to have made it a little lighter, so I think I’ll shorten the cooking time on the next go. For my taste, the seasoning was fine but Samantha said there was too much pepper. She hates pepper, so I’m not trusting her opinion on that.