Three vegetarian recipes from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi

Plant-based twist: Sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions.
Plant-based twist: Sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions. Photo: Elena Heatherwick

In their latest book, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi usher us into the fascinating world of their test kitchen. 

​Sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions

A far cry from a classic shakshuka, yes, but we've found that sweet potatoes provide just the right amount of moisture and heft to serve as a base for these eggs. Serve this vibrant dish as a weekend brunch; it sure looks the part.

Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook.
Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook. Photo: Elena Heatherwick

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg sweet potatoes, skin on and scrubbed clean
  • 1 small red onion (100g), thinly sliced into rounds 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • ¾ tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp picked fresh coriander leaves, with some stem attached
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional). Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork (about 8-10 times) and place them on a medium, parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through and softened. Set aside to cool and turn the oven temperature down to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle.
  3. Remove the cooked potato skins and tear them into roughly 4cm pieces. Transfer the potato flesh to a large bowl and set aside. Place the skins back on the baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until nicely coloured and starting to crisp up. Set aside to cool and crisp up further.
  4. Use a fork to mash the potato flesh until smooth, then add the cheddar, garlic, cumin, another tablespoon of oil, the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, and mix to combine.
  5. Put the remaining tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, and swirl around to coat the bottom. Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the pan, using your spoon to distribute it evenly. Place on a medium-high heat and leave to cook for about 7 minutes, for the bottom to start to colour. Turn the heat down to medium and use a spoon to make eight wells in the potato mixture, breaking an egg into each. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, rotating the pan, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
  6. While the eggs are cooking, put the butter and sriracha into a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, whisking constantly to emulsify. Remove the mixture from the heat before it starts to bubble – you don't want it to split.
  7. When ready, spoon the sriracha butter all over the eggs, then top with a good handful of the crispy potato skins, half the pickled onion and all the picked coriander leaves. Serve right away, with the rest of the potato skins and pickled onion to eat alongside.
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Make it your own:

  • Save time by cooking the sweet taters in the microwave instead.
  • Use any kind of oozy melty cheese and any spice you like for the base.
  • Experiment with other hot sauces, such as Tabasco or harissa.

Serves 4

Grilled zucchini with warm yoghurt and saffron butter

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

This recipe is inspired by kousa b'laban, a Levantine dish of stuffed zucchini cooked in yoghurt. In this simplified version the yoghurt sauce and grilled zucchini  are cooked separately, then served with a quick saffron butter to spoon on top.

There's a bit of an art to cooking yoghurt without having it curdle; stabilisers such as cornflour and egg yolk tend to do the trick, as does cooking the yoghurt on a moderate heat, stirring continuously and gently warming through without boiling. The result: a silky-smooth and tangy sauce, great for these courgettes but also with other grilled vegies, fatty meats or even as a sauce to pasta.

INGREDIENTS

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads, roughly crushed
  • 4 small, pale green or regular zucchini (600g), tops trimmed slightly and zucchini halved lengthways 
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 300g Greek-style yoghurt 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 1½ tbsp picked mint leaves
  • ½ lemon
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to a high grill setting.
  2. Put the butter and saffron into a small saucepan on a medium heat. When the butter has melted, set aside to infuse.
  3. Place the zucchini on a parchment-lined baking tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange them cut side up and grill for 15-20 minutes until nicely charred and softened.
  4. Towards the last 10 minutes of grilling time, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth, then add the yoghurt, garlic, dried mint, the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine, then transfer to a large, non-stick saute pan on a medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly and warmed through. Do not let the sauce boil, or it will split.
  5. Transfer the warm yoghurt sauce to a plate with a lip and top with the zucchini, grilled side up. Spoon over the saffron butter, then sprinkle with the coriander seeds and mint leaves. Squeeze over the lemon half and serve right away.

Make it your own:

  • No saffron? Use a pinch of turmeric instead.

Serves 2-4

Confit tandoori chickpeas

These chickpeas have had their fair share of Insta fame for a multitude of reasons. The first being that the simplicity of the dish makes it really quite attractive: throw everything into a pan and pop it into the oven, leaving it to its own devices (and you to yours). The second being that slow-cooking the chickpeas in oil without added liquid makes them super soft, allowing all the aromatics to break down into the oil. Lastly, this dish can easily be made ahead and served later; it only improves with time. Swap out Greek yoghurt with a non-dairy alternative for a completely vegan meal, and serve with rice.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 11 garlic cloves, peeled, 10 left whole and 1 crushed
  • 30g fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies, mild or spicy, a slit cut down their length
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp red Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 180g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 15g picked mint leaves
  • 30g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 limes, juiced, to get 1 tbsp and the rest cut into wedges to serve
  • salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional)
  2. Put the chickpeas, whole garlic cloves, ginger, tomatoes, chillies, tomato paste, spices, sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large sauté pan, for which you have a lid, and mix everything together to combine. Cover with the lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 75 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the aromatics have softened and the tomatoes have nicely broken down.
  3. Meanwhile, put the yoghurt, mint, fresh coriander, lime juice, crushed garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt into a food processor and blitz until smooth and the herbs are finely chopped.
  4. Serve the chickpeas directly from the pan, with the yoghurt and lime wedges alongside.

Make it your own:

  • Jarred butter beans would be great here! A simple gram for gram swap.
  • No Kashmiri chilli powder? Use an equal amount of paprika instead.

Serves 4

This is an edited extract from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press). Photography by Elena Heatherwick. RRP $49.99. Buy now