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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vegetarian Cuisine in Canary Islands

When travelling abroad, eating vegetarian food is limited to just cottage cheese, mushrooms or potatoes. Mom was vegetarian for 40 years of her life; she normally starved during flights and survived mostly on bread and butter. But things have changed now since more people opt for vegetarian cuisine and I was happy to find good variety of vegetarian dishes in a typical Spanish restaurant.

 Last week I visited a Spanish restaurant in Las Palmas. The tables overflowed outside the restaurant into the walking plaza. We occupied a table to enjoy drinks while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. While sipping, it’s interesting to watch people on the street. Women with shopping bags, children running back and forth, old men walking leisurely and above all watching what others are eating. The table that caught my attention was the one that had hot plate on coals next to plates. The family enjoyed the drinks and salad while they waited for their marinated meat to cook on the hot plate. It seemed a good option of eating the freshly roasted meat straight from pan.

What was good about this restaurant was that it had good variety of vegetarian dishes too.

White cheese is must if you dine in any restaurant at Canary Islands. The cheese is soft, firm and a bit salty in taste.

 White cheese is added in most salads, the vegetables are fresh and succulent and tastes great with herbs sprinkled on them, The dressing is made by mixing lime juice, salt, sugar, basil leaves, parsley and olive oil.

‘Pimiento Padron’ is a Spanish delight. Big large chilies (that taste like capsicum) are boiled in salty water, dried and stir fried in olive oil.

Papa arrugada is another dish that one must try. Small round potatoes are picked with fork and boiled with rock salt (in one kg of potatoes they use 250gms of rock salt). They are cooked for 45 minutes on slow flame, removed, dipped in cold water, and then roasted in a pan till they crumble.

They are served with mojo, a special sauce served with Papa Arrugada.

Recipe for mojo

1cup olive oil
20 cloves garlic
4 slices of bread
1tsp cumin powder
1 large red capsicum
10 dried red chilies
1tsp grape vinegar
2tsp salt


1.   Fry garlic with skin in good quantity of olive oil, till skin separates, remove the garlic and keep aside
2.   In the same oil, fry small pieces of bread till they brown, remove and keep aside.
3.   Transfer the garlic and fried bread in the mixer.
4.   Add cumin powder, salt, red capsicum, dried red chilies and little water
5.   Grind to a smooth paste
6.   Add grape flavor vinegar
7.   Add the reserved olive oil that was used for frying garlic and bread.
8.   Mix it well and serve with potatoes.

For main course, one normally eats Paella in Spanish restaurants. I think this restaurant had many vegetarian clients because it even served vegetarian Paella. There was wide variety of Paella dishes. We ordered veg, the moist one, which looked more like khichdi, but the taste was good, quite similar to the non-veg type with lots of vegetables and the special thick grains of rice that is used in this dish.

Great lunch at Gambrinus at Las Palmas, that’s where we spend one afternoon for vegetarian meal.


Maya said...

Thanks for this post, Pushpa. I am travelling to Spain and we have had, ad nauseum, conversation about veg food available there. Now I know. such a relief. Thanks

Maya said...

Thanks for this post ,Pushpa. I did wonder about Veg food in Spain. Good to read this.

Scattered Mama said...

Nice read!

Pushpa Moorjani said...

Thanks Maya..hope you enjoy your stay to Spain, there is more selection of veg dishes too, like they cook soya bean chunks in a curry with good flavor, then there is Champinioney which you must try.. :))

Pushpa Moorjani said...

Thank you 'Scattered Mama' for ur visit..hope u will try the mojo :))

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