Hello and welcome back to another Regional recipe veganized.
Today I’m presenting you what probabily is THE main dish made in Bari: “Patate, Riso e Cozze” (Potato, Rice and Mussels) or simply “Tiella”.
The origins of this dish derive from the rural tradition as it represented a quick and effective way to feed the family back from the fields through short preparation times.
It is said that the ladies of the family used to pick up fresh or leftover vegetables and then lay them in a pan together with rice and potatoes, increasing the dose of carbohydrates and making it complete in energy and nutritional terms.
The terracotta pot used was called “tiella” from which the origin of the recipe name was modified based on the use of what was in the house. The tiella at this point was placed on the embers for a way of cooking that can be compared to the modern oven, and that was able to give a very tasty flavor to the dish.
Since then, the recipe traveled from the countryside to the coast, meeting maritime culture and Spanish influence.
Starting with a layer of sliced potatoes, which is enriched with onions, garlic and parsley, opened mussels follow, place with the shell on the bottom and the fruit facing up. Then rice is evenly distribuite on on top of the shells, and finished with another layers of slices potatoes, tomatoes and grated cheese.
Enough salted water is added for the raw rice to cook, and the pots are eventually baked for around 45 minutes.
Making it vegan
Now, of course I haven’t used any mussels and dairy cheese in my cruelty free version.
In place of the first I have used Nori Sheets and Courgettes (Zucchini). Courgettes are actually used in one of the many versions of this dish, this time from a town called Taranto, located in Puglia as well, located at less than 100 km from Bari. Taranto version is basically identical to Bari’s one, but also has a layer of sliced courgette in it.
I used courgettes because they’re pretty bland in flavours and their texture, once cooked, it’s exactly what I needed in this dish to be.
After the first layer of potato is arranged, sliced courgettes go in, followed by a layer of nori sheet pieces simply teared by hand.
The ideal nori to use are the roasted sheets, that are used to make sushi. You can buy them in shops or online here.
Then handfulls of rice are added and everything is covered with a top potato layer, tomatoes and vegan grated cheese.
That’s not all though!
In order to maximise the “fishy” flavour, I created a simple salted dashi with Kombu Sheet (Dried Kelp), sea salt and water. Kombu sheets are also available both in Asian shops or you can simply order online here.
How to make the Dashi Broth
Place the kombu in a saucepan. Add cold water and sea salt and bring it to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling turn the heat off and allow it to cool completely.
Our dashi is now ready.
How simple was that??
Last step consists indeed to add the dashi to the pots, carefully from one side to avoid ruining the layers.
Then our pots go in the preheated oven for around 45 minutes (up to 1 hour).
The only thing we need to do during cooking time is to check every now and then if the dashi has been absorbed from the rice. If it is so, we just need to top the pot with some extra liquid.
To check if everything is cooked thoroughly simply pierce all the layers with a skewer and reach for a bit of rice to sample. If both potatoes are tender and rice is fluffy and cooked your Tiella is ready to be served.
Unfortunately I cannot give you the exact cooking time and amount of dashi needed because every oven is different and even the rice and variety of potatoes used can have different cooking times.
But I’m sure you’ll be fine, as it only requires a couple of checks during cooking time (I too have to do it every time).
And if you’re wondering if that is worthy let me already stop you right there to say a BIG YES! It is worthy indeed for a bunch of reasons:
– if you’re missing sea flavours in your meals
– if you’re looking for something different and unique that you have never tasted before
– if you want to surprise your family and friends but you don’t have much time too spend in the kitchen
– it is a balanced dish, rich in proteins and Vitamin C.
At the end of the recipe you will find and easy to follow video. Click here to watch it now!
If you decide make this recipe and to share it on Instagram or Facebook, don’t forget to tag me for a shoutout
-> @avegtastefromatoz or #aVegTasteFromAtoZ and because I’d love to see your personal takes on my recipes🙂
Let’s now see how to prepare dish super comforting dish!
Recipe for Rice, Potato and Nori Bake!
160 gr Rice (Arborio or Sushi)
Cherry Tomatoes (one dozen)
3-4 Potatoes (depending on size)
1 Courgette (Zucchini)
1-2 Garlic Cloves
1 Nori Sheet
1 Kombu Piece (dried Kelp)
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley
30 gr Vegan Parmesan Cheese (or Nutritional Yeast)
1. Prepare the dashi. In a saucepan bring to a boil some water (500-700ml will do), salt and kombu. As soon as the water starts boiling turn the heat off and let it cool completely.
2. Prepare the veggies. Slice the potatoes (peeled) and the courgette, and finely chop the onion, the tomatoes, the parsley and the garlic.
3. Assembling. In two monoportion oven safe casseroles dishes (or in one that serves two) start layering the dish. First goes olive oil, chopped onions, sliced potatoes, salt and pepper. Then a layer of sliced courgettes, garlic (both grated or finely chopped depending on your personal taste), half nori sheet teared in small pieces, salt and pepper. Then goes a layer of rice, followed by half chopped tomatoes, half of the parsley, onion, garlic and, once again, nori sheet. Finish with some olive oil, then cover with another layer of sliced potatoes. Spread the other half of tomatoes and parsley, season with salt and pepper and grate a generous amount of vegan cheese (or nutritional yeast).
4. From the side of the casserole, pour as much “dashi” broth as required to fill the tray right below the top layer of potatoes.
5. Bake for 45 minutes up to 1 hour. After the first 30 minutes check the amount of water and refill the casserole with some additional dashi if the rice has already absorbed all the liquid.