Today I would like to inspire you with a wonderfully refreshing cucumber dish. But it is not easy for me to describe this typical northern German dish with the right words to you. Because we don’t use a “classical salad cucumber” for this. Esspecially in the northern part of Germany during summer you see “Schmorgurken” everywhere. This is a special kind of cucumber – much bigger and with yellow and green stripes as shown on the photo below. These kinds of cucumber can’t be eaten raw as they are to firm and don’t taste well uncooked. Today I will show you how to turn this beautiful veggie into a delicious, creamy and refreshing vegan summer dish. Let’s cook “braised cucumbers” with tender lentil balls and dill”.
By the way – braised cucumber and aromatic dill belong together like fries and ketchup. It’s a perfect match and you should definitely add plenty of fresh dill to this dish. And have I already mentioned the lentil balls? Yes, these little dumplings really are a dream and go perfectly with this dish, but you could also make them with a pasta dish with tomatoes, for example, or simply enjoy them with a delicious dip or formed as patties in an awesome vegan burger.
Last but not least, braised cucumbers are also very healthy – low in calories and full of nutrients such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Like cucumbers in general, braised cucumbers are known to help with gout and bladder problems and have an important diuretic effect. So, let’s celebrate the summer with this great cucumber dish. I am really looking forward to your feedback. Sincerely yours Lea
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
For the awesome vegan lentil balls (24 balls)
- 30 g (1 oz) ground flax seed
- 150 g (5.2 oz) brown lentils
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3-4 mushrooms (optional, but hey make the dumplings/balls juicier)
- 75 g (2.6 oz) fine oats
- 2 tsp. hot mustard
- 1 tbsp. paprika powder
- Optional: 1 small tsp. smoked paprika powder
- 1 small tsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
For the braised cucumber
- 1 “Schmorgurke” – a special kind of cucumber (see photo)
- 1 onion
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- A small shot of white wine
- 250 g (8.8 oz) silken tofu
- 2 heaped tbsp. yeast flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp. hot mustard
- 1 tbsp. light miso paste* (Shiro Miso)
- 1-2 tbsp. apple vinegar
- 3 tbsp. unsweetened soy yoghurt
- A bunch of fresh dill
Instructions (25 minutes preparation + 25 minutes cooking time for the lentils + 20 minutes baking time)
- Mix flax seeds with 4 tbsp. of water and let it sit till you use them.
- Rinse lentils and simmer with 550 ml (18.5 oz) lightly salted water for about 25 minutes. Add some more water if necessary. After cooking, let the lentils swell for 10 minutes and drain off excess water. (Cooking time and water quantity can vary depending on the type of lentils. Please follow the package instructions).
- Peel and chop onions and garlic clove. Clean and chop the mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 200 °C/ 392 °F fan and cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Finely grind the oat flakes in a blender to flour. Add the cooked lentils, the flax seeds, mushrooms, diced onions and garlic, 2 tap. of hot mustard, sweet and smoked paprika powder, cumin, as well as a large pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp. of olive oil and puree the ingredients.
- Form small balls with your hands and place them on the parchment paper. This works best if you wash your hands and dry them superficially. Your hands should not be wet when forming the balls, but slightly moist (repeat this process in between).
- Bake lentil balls in the oven at 200 °C/ 392 °F fan for 20-22 minutes.
- Then prepare the cucumber. Cut off the ends of the cucumber, peel and halve the cucumber and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
- Cut the cucumber halves into cubes. Peel onion and garlic clove and slice finely.
- Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a frying pan. Sauté the onion and garlic cubes for 2-3 minutes and then deglaze with a small shot of white wine (optional, can be omitted). Then add the cucumber chunks and pour on approx. 120 ml water. Because the cucumber pieces should “stew/braise”, not fry. Put the lid on the pan or cover the pan with a large plate while simmering. Let the cucumber braise in this way for about 8 minutes.
- Puree silken tofu, yeast flakes, 1 tsp. of hot mustard, a pinch of salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of miso paste (you can also use 1 tbsp. soy sauce instead) in a blender. Pour the silken tofu sauce over the cucumber in the pan and stir well. If necessary, add more water and let the cucumber braise for another 5-7 minutes until the pieces are pleasantly soft. Season the braised cucumber with 1-2 tbsp. apple vinegar (or use lemon juice). Season to taste with salt, lemon juice (and mustard).
- Finally, mix the pieces of cucumber with 3-4 tbsp. unsweetened soy yoghurt. Wash a small bunch of dill, chop and mix in. Add the lentil balls to the braised cucumber, warm briefly and serve sprinkled with fresh dill. Enjoy!
Tip: Would you like the cucumber to be even creamier? Then thrust aside the cucumber chunks in the pan, pour about 150 ml of plantbased milk into the middle of the pan and quickly stir in a tsp. of cornflour. Then mix everything well and dilute the consistency with the plantbased milk as desired.