This is how I met a lovely girl from Iraq who showed me her recipe for Aruk, which I tried out later as gluten-free and just loved it. The gochujang zucchini butter idea came to me when I stayed at an off-grid place in the forest in Scotland, and there was an abundance of zucchini in the garden and I happened to have some leftover gochujang with me. I made a big batch and it lasted for days. Great for breakfast on toast, with aruk or would make any other dish satisfying but even on its own, it's wonderful.
GF Vegan Aruk (Iraqi Herbed Potato Patties) With Vegan Gochujang Butter
- 3 medium russet potatoes
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 tbsp GF flour blend
- vegetable or olive oil, for frying
- to taste black pepper, salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baharat spice
- 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 30g each chopped fresh cilantro + parsley
- 20g chopped scallions
- to replace 2 eggs egg replacer
- 1 large zucchini
- to taste salt, pepper
- 1–2 tbsp vegan butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
For the patties:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bake the potatoes in their skins until completely soft when poked with a skewer or thin knife, about an hour. Let them cool on the counter. Scoop out the cooled potato flesh and roughly mash in a large bowl.
Grate the onion into another bowl. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can, and then add the onion to the potatoes.
Add the egg replacer (I use powder based or flax eggs), flour, scallions, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika, baharat, salt, and several twists of pepper and mix thoroughly. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (this will stabilize the texture).
Line a tray or plate with two layers of paper towels. Fill a large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and heat the oil over medium-high heat.
While the oil is heating, rub your hands with additional oil and shape the potato mixture into patties about two and 1/2 inches (six centimeters) across. Working in batches, add the patties to the hot oil and fry until they are deep golden-green and crispy, two to three minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining patties.
For the gochujang zucchini butter:
Grate the zucchini, mix with decent pinch of salt and leave for a few minutes.
Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then transfer to a pan over medium-high heat, and caramelize on butter until there is no liquid left.
Stir in gochujang and spices.
Eat warm over the warm aruk or also great for breakfast over crunchy toasted bread, in crepes, sandwiches or with gnocchi or pasta.
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Photo: Imola Toth