Portuguese Sides/ Snacks/ Soups, Veganised traditional Portuguese dishes

Portuguese croquettes

To me, this is comfort food and a genuine guilty pleasure! Little deep fried cylindrical pieces of food, full of flavours. Don’t be fooled by the name, these are not uninteresting potato croquettes!

My mum has made croquettes all her life, and still does. I challenged her for us to create together a vegan version of her traditional meat croquettes. I realised 2 things, but one I already knew: my mum is super bossy in the kitchen! Second, my mum rarely measures anything…so the real challenge to me was to gauge the quantities so I could share this recipe. So, keep an open mind when making these little rolls of goodness: you might need more or less of each ingredient, the amounts are mainly a guidance. The result is unbelievable… I had the chance to get some of my Portuguese friends to try it and they were really impressed!

Time: 40 minutes to prepare + 2h to cool + 1h to shape the croquettes + 10 minutes to fry

Type: snack

Difficulty: 3 pans

Serves: about 40 pieces

What you need (roughly):

300g of dry soya protein mince

2 to 3 bread rolls, shredded

300ml soya milk, unsweetned

1 onino, chopped

2 garlic cloves finely minced

2 to 3 tbsp olive oil

2 bay leaves

a splash of white wine

1 cube of vegetable stock (or a couple of tsp of vegetable bouillon)

1 to 2 tsp ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

all purpose flour (about 50g)

400g fine bread crumbs

4 tbsp cornflour & water (about 300-400ml)

vegetable oil to fry

Utensils:

knife and chopping board

2 pans

food processor

2 bowls

frying pan

Directions:

step 1: cook the soya mince in abundant water for about 5 to 10 minutes; once cooked, remove water; meanwhile, shred the bread rolls into small pieces and place them in a food processor and splash the soya milk on top of it, and let it soak for a few minutes;

step 2: in a large pan, fry the onion, garlic, vegetable stock and bay leaves in olive oil till golden; add in the soya mince and mix all well; add in the white wine, mix and let it cook for a few minutes; meanwhile, whizz the bread and milk in the food processor till well mixed;

step 3: Add the bread and soya milk paste to the pan, along with the rest of the spices: nutmeg, cumin, salt and pepper and combine; Add about 3 to 4 tbsp of flour and mix all- this final paste should be holding well together, too soft and it won’t hold when shaping the little cylinders- add more flour if needed. Let it rest for a good 2h so it all cools down before the next step (I let it sit overnight);

once the paste is cold:

step 4: now is time to form the croquette cylinders: scoop with your hands a little amount of paste, about 1 tbsp worth and roll it into a ball; now elongate it to form a cylinder and smoother the edges with your index and thumb; repeat the process until all the paste is used

Note: you might get some paste stuck in your hands- not a problem! My mum’s technique is to either wet her hands from time to time or dip her hands in bread crumbs when forming the cylinders.

step 5: prepare 2 bowls: one with the breadcrumbs and the other with a mixture of water and corn flour (just enough to form a white liquid);

step 6: dip each croquette in the corn flour mix, followed by the breadcrumbs- make sure all areas are covered;

step 7: it is best to freeze the croquettes before deep frying them, but if they’re well covered in breadcrumbs, doing it straightaway shouldn’t be an issue; when frying, make sure the oil is very hot before placing the croquettes; fry untill well golden in all sides;

Can be enjoyed hot or cold!

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