Vegan Singapore noodles with seitanic chicken

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I have always loved Singapore noodles but it just never occurred to me to try making them at home. I wish I had done this so much sooner because they’re easy to make with some pretty basic ingredients (once you get your head wrapped around the idea you can to make your own chicken in your own kitchen with nary a drop of blood spilled).

Most Singapore noodle recipes shrimp, chicken and/or barbeque pork. I created my own seitan meat (a/k/a the vital wheat beast) for this dish that combines the savoury flavoury best of all these creatures without any of the pain or death. Yeah!

Let’s get going. The wheat beast takes an hour to make. Check out my next recipe for how to make the seitanic chicken. The rest comes together in about 20 minutes. Easy peasy.

Ingredients

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227g (8 ounces) of rice vermicelli (it usually comes in 454g packages so just use half a package)

1 red pepper julienned

1 small onion cut in half and then in thin slices

2 carrots julienned

1 rib celery cut into thin slices

1 cup of frozen or fresh peas (thaw the peas if you use frozen)

Optional but nice – 1 cup of shredded savoy cabbage

1 batch of Seitanic chicken a/k/a the vital wheat beast sliced then cut into small strips

1-3 chili peppers sliced very thin (or leave out or use more but the 3 I used made for a very hot dish)

1 Tbsp cooking sherry

2 Tbsp curry powder

2 -3 Tbsp soy sauce (depending on how salty you like your food)

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

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Directions

Cook the rice vermicelli according to package directions. They will take about 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Once they’re cool enough to handle, cut or tear into shorter pieces so they’re easier to stir fry and eat.

Heat the peanut or coconut oil in large skillet or wok. Add the onion, red pepper, chilis, carrot and celery and stir for one minute. Add the peas, cabbage if using, the seitan, the curry powder, sesame oil, sherry and soy sauce and combine and heat through. Turn off the heat and add the noodles. Stir and toss until the noodles are completely coated in the sauce and are a golden colour. I found it was easiest to toss the noodles using tongs.

Serve up and enjoy!

Massaman Curry – all the flavour without the heat

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Esther the Wonder Pig’s executive chef (Yeah, I know right? She has her own chef!) recently posted a recipe for Massaman curry. I had never heard of this dish – a fragrant, comforting, delicious stew originating in the Malaysian peninsula. While Esther is a pig of delicate tastes, I like my foods spicy and flavourful. We both agree that Massaman curry is best made vegan.

This curry is very straightforward to make and in less than 1 hour – from start to finish – you will be sitting down to a restaurant-worthy meal.

Do not let the long list of ingredients daunt you. You probably have most of the ingredients already on hand.

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Ingredients

1 pound yellow potatoes (about 2-3 potatoes), washed, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small onion cut into 6 pieces

3 carrots cut into coins

3 cloves garlic minced

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder

I Tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1 piece of star anise

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

400 ml (13 oz) can coconut milk

2/3 cup vegetable broth

½ Tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)

¼ cup peanut butter (please only use the kind that is just peanuts and oil – no brands full of added sugar and chemical brands)

½ cup whole, unsalted peanuts

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Directions

In a medium sized pot, heat the oil. Sauté the ginger, garlic, 5-spice powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves and cumin to heat the spices through (this step helps release the flavours).

Add the broth, salt, coconut milk, star anise, maple syrup (or brown sugar) and curry paste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, carrots and onions and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer covered for about 20 minutes. You want the potatoes to be cooked through.

Fish out the piece of star anise; it’s done its work.

Add the peanut butter and peanuts and stir until the peanut butter is combined. You will have a thick, creamy sauce.

Serve on brown, basmati or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Curried carrot (and other roots!) slaw

I’ve been eating this curried carrot slaw all summer and autumn and sharing it with friends too. It’s hugely popular – mix of creamy, sweet, crunchy, spicy, and tangy and it’s good for you. It’ll last for days in the fridge (though it’ll be gobbled up before then) and as the weather turns colder, I’m experimenting with adding in other root veggies – white turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga etc. Give this one a try. It’s quick and easy and a brilliant side with everything!

In this photo, I’ve used a mix of different coloured carrots – yellow, orange and purple.CurriedCarrotSlaw1st.jpg

Ingredients

2 ½ cups grated carrots (or mix it up with up to one cup of other grated root veggies)

4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/3 of a lemon)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 shallot minced

1-2 Tbsp raisins

1 – 2 Tbsp shelled pistachios (optional)

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Directions

In a medium-sized bowl mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, maple syrup, curry powder and minced shallot. Add the raisins and carrot and toss to combine. Serve topped with a few pistachios.

Baked curried tofu with creamy coconut rice

curriedtofu.jpgI absolutely love marinated and baked tofu. Depending on the marinade and how thinly or thickly you slice the tofu, you can create a range of flavours and textures.

The dish is easy to make though you need to allow time for the tofu to marinate.

The rice is a tasty side that comes together effortlessly. The sauce is my vegan riff on a traditional Indian raita – a cooling yogurt-based sauce that accompanies spicy dishes.

Make the tofu

Ingredients

14 oz block extra firm tofu

2 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp water

½ tsp curry powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp tumeric powder

½ tsp onion powder

2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

To make the tofu, cut the block into 8 equal slices. Place on a clean, lint-free towel and cover with another towel and press to squeeze out the liquid. Use the whole flat of your hand and press evenly.

Mix all the other ingredients together and spoon a small amount into the bottom of a shallow dish. Place the tofu in the dish. It’s okay if the tofu is stacked in 2 layers Spoon the marinade over the tofu and allow it to marinate in the fridge 1 to 4 hours

When the tofu has marinated, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Spoon any remaining marinade over the tofu Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

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Make the rice

Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup water

3 cardamon pods (or about ½ tsp ground cardamon)

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

½ tsp curry powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp tumeric powder

1 chili sliced (optional)

½ cup peas

Shelled pistachios for garnish (optional)

Directions

Add everything but the pistachios and peas to a pot and stir together. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas. Top with pistachios if using.

Make the raita

Ingredients

½ cup unsweetened soy-, nut- or coconut-milk yogurt (not coconut-flavoured yogurt but yogurt that is made from coconut milk)

½ tsp coriander

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp salt

½ cup diced cucumber

1 shallot diced finely

Directions

Mix everything together and serve with the tofu and rice.

I enjoyed this meal with a beet and mandarin orange salad on the side.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes

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Here’s a fragrant, flavourful curry that is just as delicious in summer as it is in winter. For winter cooking, I use frozen cauliflower, which is both affordable and appealing to lazy cooks like me.

There’s a little bit of chopping, a few cans to open and then all you have to do is let the curry cook itself. Easy!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

1 onion diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 red chili minced – see TIP below

1 Tbsp grated ginger root OR 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 Tbsp garam masala

½ Tbsp curry powder

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

2 cups canned or boxed tomatoes (If you have any leftover tomatoes, just freeze them in a freezer bag).

1 sweet potato peeled and diced

2 cups cauliflower cut into florets

1 can coconut milk (397 ml or 13 oz)

1/3 cup vegetable broth (optional)

1-2 teaspoon salt (depending on your tomatoes and tastes)

1 cinnamon stick

1 lime leaf – see TIP below

1-2 cups chopped spinach – see TIP below

Directions

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the garlic, chili, onion and grated ginger, if using. Sauté until the onion is soft. Add the garam masala and curry and powdered ginger if using and stir to coat the onion/garlic mix and let the spices heat through.

Add all the other ingredients except the spinach and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 40 minutes. Add the spinach in the last few minutes of cooking.

Fish out the lime leaf and cinnamon stick.

I love this dish served over rice, especially jasmine rice. Enjoy!

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TIP – This recipe is a study in foods you can keep in your freezer so you always have them handy.

I buy my red chilies in bulk and then freeze them in a freezer bag. They’ll last for months in the freezer and are much easier to mince or grate frozen than they are to chop fresh.

If you have leftover fresh spinach or kale, throw it into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. When I need a cup or two of spinach/kale for a cooked recipe like this, I just crush the greens before adding them to my recipe. There’s no chopping involved and I always have greens on hand for soups, stews, even omelettes.

I buy my lime leaves at an Asian grocery. They come in a bag with a couple dozen leaves in them – far more than is ever needed for any one recipe. The grocer told me to freeze the leftover leaves and use them as needed. Works perfectly!

You can always store other leftover fresh herbs (Do you ever use a whole bunch of cilantro because I don’t!) in freezer bags and then use the frozen herbs as you would fresh ones in stews and sauces and even salad dressings. As with the spinach or kale, you won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.

Thai one on – Coconut curry soup with noodles and tofu

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I love to Thai one on now and then and find that Thai cuisine is especially amenable to being veganized, if it’s not already vegan.

Here is a spicy, flavourful coconut yellow curry soup that’s a complete meal in a bowl thanks to my addition of tofu and glass (a/k/a bean thread) noodles.

The beautiful thing with this dish is that, because you make this soup from scratch, you can change it up any way you want. Make it hotter, spicier, veggier, no-carb-i-er – whatever suits you.

Here’s the version that suits me, closely adapted from The Thug Kitchen. This makes 3 pho-sized (i.e. very big) bowls of soup.

This recipe is easy to make and comes together quickly. You can be sitting down to a fragrant big bowl of coconut curry heaven in less time than it takes delivery food to arrive.

Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil

½ large onion coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

1 large carrot cleaned and sliced in thin coins (I used a box grater’s slicing side)

1 yellow pepper coarsely chopped

1 cup broccoli florets cut into spoon-sized pieces

3-4 cremini mushrooms sliced

I packed cup spinach leaves

1 15oz can coconut milk (I use Arroyo-D)

4 cups vegetable broth

A thumb size piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (approx. 2 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

2 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce. Okay, I used that AND added two hot chilis but that’s just me

Juice of one lime

1 Tbsp yellow curry powder

2 Tbsp yellow curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)

¼ cup fresh basil chopped – if you don’t have it, leave it out.

¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped – if you don’t like it, leave it out.

6 oz plain tofu, cut into cubes

2 bundles (about 4 oz) bean thread (a/ka/ glass) noodles. If you don’t have/want these, you could add 1 cup of cooked rice or 4 oz of cooked spaghetti (about 1 cup cooked) or just leave omit this starch component. You are going to add already-cooked noodles or rice to the pot, so in the case of the glass noodles – rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for 5 minutes and drain.

If you had kaffir lime leaves, it’d be awesome to throw one or two in as the soup simmers.

Directions

In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until the onion is transluscent. If you are adding extra chilis, add them at this stage.

Add the carrot, pepper and mushrooms and saute for maybe a minute. Keep your veggies crisp because they will cook more in the broth.

Add the ginger, curry powder and curry paste and stir around to incorporate and let the spices get fragrant.. TIP – never use your curry powder in any dish without letting it have this cooking step. It will give your dish a finished flavour.

Add the broth, soya sauce, coconut milk, broccoli, basil and cilantro. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes (depending on how mushy you want that broccoli). If you are using lime leaves, add them at this stage.

Add the lime juice, srirachi sauce, and spinach and stir in. Add the tofu and noodles. Let simmer one more minute to give the spinach time to wilt.

Remove the lime leaves. Taste and adjust flavours to suit yourself. Because I used homemade broth, my soup was not salty at all so I added more soya sauce.c