Eggplant and mushrooms in black bean sauce (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

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:

  1. Sprinkle salt liberally over eggplant and leave to “sweat” for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Sautéed onion in a non-stick pan until it starts to caramalise. Add a small amount of water if it starts to stick.
  3. Add black bean sauce, eggplant, mushrooms, garlic and soy sauce. Put a lid on the pan and stir occasionally. Turn the heat down.
  4. When the eggplant and mushroom looks close to being cooked, remove the lid. There should be a sauce from juices of the mushroom.
  5. Add the slurry to thicken the sauce and you’re done!

Vegan duck and mushrooms dumplings

I love the sweet and salty flavour of these dumplings, punctuated by a 5-spice aroma. You can get mock duck from most Asian grocers.
Dumplings ingredients:

280g canned mock duck
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
4 button mushrooms, sliced
2 dried shitake mushroom, soaked in water to soften and sliced
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cups stock
1/4 teaspoon ground 5-spice
250g dumpling wrappers
Dipping sauce ingredients:

1/4 cups soy sauce
1/4 cups rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 chilli sliced
Dumplings method:

  1. Sautee onion in a non stick saucepan. 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.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stock and continue cooking until the stock has reduced so you have a sauceless mix.
  3. Allow mixture to cool and remove duck pieces.
  4. Put mixture through the food processor. There is no need to push the mixture on the sides down. Some chunks is good for texture.
  5. Break duck pieces by hand into small chunky pieces and return to the mixture. You now have a filling that is ready to be wrapped into dumplings.
  6. 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.
    1. See this dumpling video below to illustrate how it’s done. Credit to Delightful Vegans for this clip.
  7. 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.
  8. To cook the dumplings, 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.

Sauce method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Serve with slices of the chilli depending on how spicy you like your dumplings.

Vegetable dumplings (No oil option)

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:

1/4 cups soy sauce
1/4 cups rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 chilli sliced
Dumplings method:

  1. 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.
  2. Add ginger and garlic. Then the tofu and all other vegetables except for the bamboo shoots.
  3. Sautee until cabbage softens, add soy sauce and white pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Put mixture through the food processor. There is no need to push the mixture on the sides down. Some chunks is good for texture.
  5. Add the chopped bamboo shoots and stir through the mixture.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Sauce method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Serve with slices of the chilli depending on how spicy you like your dumplings.

Steamed silken tofu with caramalised onion and mushrooms (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I’ve been missing my Dad of late and trying to recreate some of the dishes that he cooks, although it’s never quite as good as how he does it. I enjoy the delicate texture of the silken tofu with the salty and umami flavours of topping. Some people serve the tofu cold with the topping hot, but I prefer steaming it first.
Ingredients

1 silken tofu
1/4 onion, sliced
1 slice ginger
1 teaspoon fermented blackbeans
2 white button mushrooms, roughly grated
2 dried shitake mushroom, soaked then sliced (reserve soaking liquid)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Chopped spring onion or corriander
Method

  1. Place silken tofu in a bowl and drain it as much as you can then place into a steamer. This is the serving bowl as the silken tofu is delicate and cannot be moved around too much or it will break. Steam for 10-15 minutes.
  2. As the tofu is steaming, in a non-stick pan, sautee the onion, ginger, black beans and mushrooms. Add some of the mushroom liquid as the onion starts to brown to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  3. As the onion and mushrooms start to caramalise, add 1/2 tablespoon of the soy sauce.
  4. Remove the tofu bowl from the steamer carefully as it will be hot. Drain as much of the liquid as you can.
  5. Place onion and mushroom topping on the tofu, pour remaining 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce over topping. Garnish with chopped spring onion or corriander. Ready to serve.

Easy Mapo Tofu (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I was missing an Asian inspired tofu dish and decided to make an easy version of mapo tofu. The woody aroma and meaty texture of the shitake mince completes this spicy and salty dish that finishes with a sweet crunch from the spring onions.

Ingredients

1 block (300g) medium firm tofu cut into cubes
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 de-seeded chilli finely sliced
1/2 cup sliced spring onions
8 slices dried shitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour
Sichuan pepper

Method

  1. Soak the shitake mushrooms in 1/4 cup of hot water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Sautee onion in a non-stick pan until translucent. Add some of the mushroom water as needed. Add chilli.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and black beans and sautee for half a minute.
  4. Add tofu, soy sauce and remaining mushroom stock. Try not to move the tofu too much or it will break down too much by the end of the cooking process.
  5. Mince the mushroom finely and add.
  6. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, moving the tofu as little as possible.
  7. In a separate dish, dissolve cornflour in 2 tablespoons of water. This ensures you will not get cornflour lumps in your dish. Add to pan, stirring through only a couple of times. This will help thicken the sauce.
  8. Add sliced spring onions.