Simply the best Indian-style curry ever

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Here it is, folks. The easiest, tastiest Indian-style curry I’ve ever tasted. It’s tasty, spicy, comforting, filling and super affordable with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. You’ll have curry in 30 minutes from start to finish. Let’s go!!

Ingredients

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4 potatoes – cubed and boiled until tender

2 Tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 onion diced

3 – 4 cloves garlic minced

2 tsps cumin

1 ½ tsps cayenne pepper (or less – this amount makes quite a hot dish)

4 tsps curry powder

4 tsps garam masala

1 inch piece of ginger root peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)

1 ½ tsp salt

1 (14 oz or 397 ml) can diced tomatoes

1 (145 oz or 397ml) can chickpeas drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups if you’re cooking from scratch)

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1(14oz or 397 ml) can coconut milk

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté on medium heat until the onion is translucent.

While the onion, garlic and ginger cook, measure all the dry spices out into a small bowl or cup. You really want these ready to go so don’t skip this step.

Add all the spices and stir with the onion, garlic and ginger to heat through for about 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring everything to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and simmer together for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice or with naan or chapatti or roti.

See? Easy. Enjoy!!

Spicy, crispy tofu – the lazy vegan version

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Ahhhhh… spicy, crispy and vegan. I circled this recipe, which is originally from BOSH! because, while enticed by the flavours and textures, I was put off by the amount of work, time and frying involved.

But I could not let this recipe go so here is my altered version of the original video recipe found here.

My version is faster and I bake rather than fry the tofu. The results are delicious!

Ingredients

The tofu strips

12 oz block of extra firm tofu.

½ cup cornstarch

1 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

The chili sauce

The juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)

The juice of one large orange (about ½ cup or a little more)

½ cup sweet chili sauce

4 Tbsp soya sauce

2 tsp chili paste (I used sambal oelek). If you really like spicy – use up to 1 Tbsp chili paste.

1 squirt (about ½ Tbsp) Sriracha sauce

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F. Oil a baking sheet with the peanut or coconut oil.

Cut the block of tofu in half horizontally so that you have two flat slabs. Lay the slabs on a clean, lint-free towel or paper towel and cover with another towel. Press gently with the flat of you hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Cut the tofu into evenly sized strips or cubes.

Put the cornstarch in a large bowl or a large ziplock plastic bag. Add the tofu and toss the tofu to coat each piece with cornstarch.

Place the tofu pieces on the oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

When the tofu is done, it will only be browned in some spots. It may even still look white and cornstarch-powdery, but it will be firm and crispy.

While the tofu bakes, make the chili sauce.

Juice the orange and the lemon. Add the juices and all the other sauce ingredients to a large frying pan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer and bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce volume will reduce by a little less than half. Turn off the heat and add the baked tofu pieces and stir to coat the tofu.

Serve and enjoy.

Spicy orange and pepper stir fry

Orange Tofu 3.jpgFor most of my adult life, I have sucked at making stir fries. I just didn’t have a clue what to do or what ingredients to add. That’s changed and now I’m stir frying like a boss thanks to the many great recipe sites out there.

This recipe is from the Vegan Richa site with just a few modifications; I added more veggies. If I could find them, I’d add those cute, sweet little baby corns too but they remain elusive.

I hope you make this recipe. It’s beautiful enough to serve to guests and delicious and different.

Ingredients

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3 tsp cornstarch (use arrowroot to make corn-free, add more starch for thicker sauce and glaze)

2 Tbsp warm water

2 Tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave or 1 Tbsp raw sugar

1 Tbsp Asian Hot Chili paste (I used Sambal oelek and 1 tablespoon made this dish plenty hot! )

The juice and zest of one naval orange

1 Tbsp flavourless oil for stir frying. I use peanut oil.

7-8 ounces of very firm tofu patted and dried and cut into cubes.

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/sliced (not minced)

1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 can (about ¾ cup) sliced water chestnuts drained

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Directions:

In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch and water. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, hot chili sauce, orange juice and zest. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry until the cubes are browned on several sides.  This will take about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sliced garlic and give a quick stir – about 1 minute.

Add the sauce and cook for about 3 more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice, rice noodles or glass noodles.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings depending on how much rice you want to eat it with. I find it’s quite saucy and spicy so it can easily 2 ½ cups of cooked rice – enough for 3 servings.

A creamy, beany Southwest-style salad

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Sometimes I just need salad. Not often, but it happens (I have to consciously choose to eat my leafy greens). This salad is colourful, crunchy, hearty enough to eat as a meal or fun to serve as a side with Mexican food.

Ingredients

The salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped. Use a sturdier lettuce such as romaine or even kale

1 green, red or yellow pepper, chopped

15 ounces (1 ½ cups ) black beans – drained except reserve 1 tablespoon of the brine for the salad dressing

½ a small red onion, chopped

1 cup corn niblets (I use frozen corn and just let it defrost).

2 tomatoes chopped

 The dressing

1 avocado

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp brine from the canned black beans

2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos

1 Tbsp brine from the pickled jalapenos

2 -3 Tbsp cilantro

The juice from one lime

Directions

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.

Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and enjoy.

If you do not dress the salad or add the tomatoes, this salad will last covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just add the dressing and tomatoes before serving.

Omit the lettuce and this salad makes an amazing creamy, beany salsa to eat with natchos.

My recipes is closely based on one I read on Buzzfeed, but I modified it to lower the fat in the dressing and turn up the heat.

 

Buffalo “wing” salad

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Buffalo wings are one of those things that people go gaga over. I don’t think folks are actually that excited about the sad, bony, cartilaginous bits of chicken death, but rather they love the hot and spicy wing coating and the creamy and crunchy blend of dip with celery and carrot sticks.

I’ve recreated all the goodness of Buffalo wings with hot sauce, ranch dressing, celery and carrots and added fibre, minerals, micronutrients and a big old dose of compassion. Try this!

Ingredients

For the salad

5 -6 cups of kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (that’s one big bunch of kale)

2-3 carrots sliced into coins

2-3 ribs of celery sliced

 

For the buffalo chickpeas

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

½ cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 Tbsp neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil since it can take high heat)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

 

For the ranch dressing

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp plant milk

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill*

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley*

Optional garnish – slices of avocado

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Directions

Turn the oven on to 400F. Mix the hot sauce, garlic powder, oil and salt in a bowl and toss the chickpeas in the dressing until they are coated. Turn them out onto a cookie sheet. Do NOT pour any remaining dressing that’s in the bowl onto the chickpeas, but just set it aside.

Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, give them a stir, pour the remaining hot sauce dressing on them and then return them to the oven for another 40 minutes.

When they are done, just let the chickpeas cool on the cookie sheet.

You can make the roasted chickpeas ahead of time and store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

While the chickpeas are baking, mix the kale, carrots and celery in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted chickpeas.

In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Taste. Swoon. Add all or some of the dressing to the salad (depending on how creamy you want it). Toss everything together and serve up your Buffalo wing salad. Enjoy!

*Here’s how I always have “fresh” herbs on hand. Store your fresh, clean herbs by the bunch in the freezer in freezer bags. Whenever you want fresh herbs for soups, sauces, stews, dips or dressings, just take some from your frozen supply. You won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.

 

Pad Thai – because I said it is

PadThai2.jpg I’ve been hesitant to post this recipe because Pad Thai is one of those dishes that people are a) very loyal to and b) very scornful about its authenticity. “Ketchup in Pad Thai is just so wrong,” I’ve heard people sneer.

Well hey… guess what. Sometimes I want a tangy, saucy, tomato-y, rice-noodle dish and simply don’t have a Thai street-food vendor handy. Anything else is indeed essentially unauthentic, and yet slurpy delicious anyway.

I made this dish with what I had on hand and was simply happily riffing in my kitchen. The next version I make will include some of the optional ingredients I list below.

So let’s make Audie’s vegan version of Pad Thai.

Ingredients

222 g rice noodles (about 8 ounces)

1 Tbsp coconut or peanut oil

1 small eggplant diced

1 red pepper cored and diced

1 small can bamboo shoots drained

12 oz firm tofu crumbled into fingertip-sized chunks

Other optional vegetables you could add: baby corn, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower

Sauce ingredients

1 cup Jufran hot banana sauce (or ketchup) divided in half

I Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses or tamarind sauce

Serve garnished with bean sprouts, diced peanuts, hot sauce, lime wedges and basil leaves

Directions

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a large pot or wok, heat the coconut or peanut oil. Add the crumbled tofu and heat and stir as if you were making scrambled eggs. Add ½ cup of the hot banana sauce (or ketchup) and stir to coat the tofu. Add whatever vegetables you’re using and stir fry until the vegetables are just heated through and just slightly softened (you want to keep that vegetable crunch!). Add the remaining sauce ingredients and toss everything to combine. Add the cooked rice noodles and toss everything again so the noodles are coated.

That’s it! Serve up with lime wedges, diced peanuts, basil and hot sauce.

 

Spicy pickled zucchini slices

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Everyone is humblebragging about their surprisingly massive zucchinis and fauxmoaning on what to do with this summer’s harvest. And we’ve all made suggestions. Now here’s something completely different. I grabbed this recipe from the Bon Appetit website and have been making Szechuan zucchini slices for a few summers.

These zucchini slices are pickled but require no special equipment, no canning savvy and pose no threat of weird botulism spores (real canning freaks me out just a little).

Hot, sweet and salty, these slices will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and make a pretty hostess gift.

Watch for these slices to appear in an upcoming blog post accompanying an Asian slaw and  orange-peanut sweet potato burgers.

Note you need to make these slices at least 24 hours before you plan to eat them.

Ingredients

1 zucchini – either green or yellow – washed and sliced into thin coins

2 Tbsp granulated sugar (make sure the brand you buy is vegan*)

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp chili flakes

2 whole pieces star anise

½ cup water

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar (do NOT use seasoned rice vinegar – it’ll over-flavour and salt the brine).

Directions

Put the sliced zucchini into a 2 cup (500 ml) canning jar. Drop in the star anise and the chili flakes.

Mix the sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a cup or jar until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour this brine over the slices, seal the jar and store in the fridge. Let the slices sit for at least 24 hours before eating. They will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

*What? What’s this about white sugar not being vegan?? Yup. That’s right. Many manufacturers of granulated white sugar filter the product through animal bone char to create snowy white sugar. Ugh. If you don’t want death at your door, check out the manufacturing process for the brand you buy (in Canada, Redpath is a vegan brand). Now you know why vegans with a sweet tooth love their agave, dates and maple syrup so much.