This is one of my favourite dishes from my childhood. It goes perfectly as an addition in a buddha bowl or even just accompanied with rice. But if you’re like me, I just dig into it on its own.
Ingredients: 1 large handful of green beans with stringy tip removed 2-4 mushrooms sliced 1/2 onion, sliced 1 garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon kechap manis
Method: 1. Sautée onion in a non-stick pan until it starts to caramelise. Add a small amount of water if it starts to stick. 2. Add mushrooms and cook further until it starts to brown. 3. Add garlic, green beans and soy sauce and cook for a couple of minutes. 4. Add kechap manis. 5. Serve with rice or as an addition to a buddha bowl.
This was an accidental and very delicious experiment when the plan was to cook some mushrooms but discovering that an eggplant had to be used. You can obtain black bean sauce which comes in jars, from most Asian grocers. Ingredients:
1 eggplant, cubed
10-15 white button mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded (optional)
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon kechap manis
1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 3 teaspoons water to form a slurry Method:
Sprinkle salt liberally over eggplant and leave to “sweat” for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Sautéed onion in a non-stick pan until it starts to caramalise. Add a small amount of water if it starts to stick.
Add black bean sauce, eggplant, mushrooms, garlic and soy sauce. Put a lid on the pan and stir occasionally. Turn the heat down.
When the eggplant and mushroom looks close to being cooked, remove the lid. There should be a sauce from juices of the mushroom.
Add the slurry to thicken the sauce and you’re done!
Making dumplings is always a family affair in my parents’ house. Someone is chopping with a cleaver, someone is kneading dough and many people are wrapping dumplings. These dumplings freeze well and can be added to soups or steamed up quickly for a quick dinner that feels extra fancy. You can pick up dumpling wrappers at all Asian grocers, and some supermarkets. Dumplings ingredients:
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 small carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
4 button mushrooms, sliced
1 dried shitake mushroom, soaked in water to soften and sliced
200g firm tofu, roughly mashed
1 small can of bamboo shoots, drained and chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
500g dumpling wrappers Dipping sauce ingredients:
Sautee onion in a non stick pan. As the onion start to caramalise, add water used to soak the shitake mushroom to prevent the onion for sticking to the pan. If you run out of the mushroom water, you can add some water.
Add ginger and garlic. Then the tofu and all other vegetables except for the bamboo shoots.
Sautee until cabbage softens, add soy sauce and white pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.
Put mixture through the food processor. There is no need to push the mixture on the sides down. Some chunks is good for texture.
Add the chopped bamboo shoots and stir through the mixture.
Fill a dumpling wrapper with 1 teaspoon of the mixture, wet half the circumference of the wrapper, fold in half with the filling inside, so it now forms a semi-circle. Form pleats on the outside of the dumpling. See this dumpling video below to illustrate how it’s done. Credit to Delightful Vegans for this clip.
Make as many dumplings as you have filling or the wrappers. It can be a difficult estimate to have the exact amount of filling for number of wrappers you have. If you have excess wrappers, they freeze well in a ziplock bag. If you have excess filling, they can be eaten on its own or with some rice.
To cook the dumplings:
Oil free: place the dumplings in a steamer lined with baking paper for 10 minutes. Non-oil free: In a hot non-stick pan, put in 1 tablespoon of oil. When oil reaches smoke point, put dumplings in the pan. Add 1/4 cups of water into the pan, it will sizzle. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to its lowest plan and let the dumplings steam in the pan. Once the water is fully absorbed, turn the dumplings and put the lid on. Continue to do this until sides of the dumplings is browned.
Mix all ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved.
Serve with slices of the chilli depending on how spicy you like your dumplings.
I love having friends who love to cook. Apart from admiring their delicious looking Instagram accounts, it has given me an appreciation at the accents of Asian inspired meals I create. This week, I was inspired to explore the use of 5-spice. It has a strong aroma, marked by the inclusion of ground star anise, and is used in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking. Traditionally, it has been used mostly to season meats. In the next few weeks, I will be inspired to create plant based meals that uses this spice mix creatively, starting with this 5-spice tofu. The marinated tofu brings a warm and comforting aroma, finished with a sticky and garlicky sauce. It’s a great addition in any buddha bowl. Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu, well drained
1/2 teaspoon ground 5-spice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar Method:
Cut tofu into large pieces and arrange in a container where they can all lie flat.
Mix 5-spice, water and soy sauce and pour over tofu. Marinate for several hours. During this time, flip the tofu on its other side so both sides are marinated.
Place tofu in a hot pan, then turn the heat down. If you use a ceramic pan, there is no need to use any oil.
Brown tofu on all sides then remove from pan.
Pour remaining marinate into the pan with the garlic and sugar and slowly reduce until it has a stickier consistency.
We are still in summer even though people are back at work or school. These burgers are great for BBQs or quick lunches when you’re in between pool time. The sundried tomatoes, basil and chilli flavors brings a punch of flavor mellowed by the sweetness of the potato. And I love the crispy crunch of a burger that has been cooked with patience.
I often use these burgers in a buddha bowl (you know I love my buddha bowls). If you do use it in a bun, I suggest using an olive tapanade as a spread, then loading it up with crisp lettuce and sweet juicy tomatoes slices.
1 garlic minced
1/4 onion chopped
2 button mushrooms diced
4 sundried tomatoes chopped
1 chilli chopped
1/2 cup oat flour
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked sweet poatoes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup spring onions, sliced
Sautee onion, garlic, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and chilli in a pan until onion is translucent and mushrooms cooked.
Place all ingredients in a food processor, except for sauteed ingredients and spring onion. Process until a smooth paste.
Add sauteed ingredients and spring onions and pulse several times.
Many of you know that buddha bowls are my favourite. It’s a great way to add a wide diversity of nutrients in one meal, and the ability to choose your own toppings makes it a great party option to cater to individuals with different food intolerances.
Today’s buddha bowl topping is orange chilli tofu, inspired by a friend who introduced me to Korean chilli paste.
1 block of firm tofu
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1orange, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon Korean chilli paste (you can use another type of chilli if you like)
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice
Wrap the tofu in clean towels and rest something heavy (e.g., chopping board, pot) on top of it for 15 minutes. This will drain the tofu of some of its water.
In a bowl, mix the orange juice, chilli, tomato sauce and sweetener.
Sautee onion in 2 tablespoons of water in a non-stick pan until it has softened.
Add garlic and tofu and sautee for 10 minutes.
Add the orange chilli mix you have prepared and cook the tofu some more until the sauce has reduced to a consistency you like.
Finally a falafel recipe that is fluffy! Great in wraps or on a salad.
1 can chick peas (rinsed well and drained)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 1/2 teaspoon tahini
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 cup cooked potato
1/4 cup parsley/corriander
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon siracha
1 teaspoon flaxseed
Roast chick peas in oven 200C, for 15 minutes
Add onion and garlic and roast for another 10 minutes
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until they are no big chunks.
Scoop processed ingredients and roll into balls (I find using an ice-cream scoop helpful. Place balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake in a 190C oven for 10 minutes. Then turn balls over and bake for another 10 minutes.