Tag Archives: caldereta

Revisiting an Old Favorite: Soy Curl-dereta

For me, one of the joys of turning veganese is that I’ve become better in the kitchen. Cooking isn’t a chore or a crazy thing to do every once in awhile. It’s something that I wish I had time to do everyday. One of the most important lessons that has been learned out of cooking a lot more often is this: it’s okay to change things up, to experiment, to try new ingredients, and to get creative in the kitchen. Make cooking and eating work for you! Sure, it sounds simple, but I used to be one of those people who followed recipes faithfully and wondered if I was eating something the “right” way. For example, is it “right” to stick a whole piece of sushi in my mouth or is it OK to bite it? Sushi purists will tell you that there is definitely a right way to eat sushi, but I don’t quite feel good (or attractive) when trying to eat a whole piece of sushi. Drool and choking become potential side effects. But, I digress.

I recently made some soy curl-dereta (click for my original recipe):

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It’s only the 2nd time I’m making this, which is kind of crazy. I used to worry a lot about missing Filipino food! I can’t be missing it that much if it’s only the 2nd time I’ve made this. The main reason I wanted to talk about this is because I did things a little differently this time around.

  1. I didn’t follow a recipe.
  2. I didn’t have potatoes or bell pepper, so I was missing ingredients (and I forgot some ingredients). Therefore, one can make the argument that this dish is NOT caldereta, but they’re wrong.
  3. I didn’t use the store-bought Caldereta spice packet.
  4. The first time I made this, it was a HUGE production. It was also the first time I ever had soy curls. This time, it was second nature and I wasn’t terrified of the soy curls.

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You guys, I just have to say it: I’m so proud of myself! Look at me, being all casual chef let-me-get-this-stuff-cooked-so-I-can-eat-already! The one major difference is that I browned the soy curls with the garlic and onions and some Butler Chick Style Seasoning before adding the tomato sauce and veggies this time. Since I didn’t have a caldereta spice packet, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and cumin. I debated whether or not to add nutritional yeast, but opted out. Thinking back, I totally should have done that: some people do add cheese to traditional caldereta.

You might notice that I was working with smaller soy curl bits from the bottom of the bag. It worked out really nicely. The carrots and peas ended up being the star with the soy curls being a nice accompaniment.

Cooking this got me really excited because I couldn’t help but wonder how my 3rd iteration of soy curl-dereta will turn out. I’ll be sure to let you guys know. –Melissa

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Soy Curl-dereta

I decided to add a new item to my Veganized Filipino Dishes collection: Caldereta. I think of caldereta as a Filipino pot roast or beef stew of sorts. The traditional dish is made with goat meat, however, beef is usually used. In general, the meat is cooked in a tomato sauce with potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, peas, and green olives. A lot of people add liver or liver paste, or raisins; my family doesn’t. (Side note: raisins in my food? *gag*)

I was originally going to make the caldereta the usual way but with no meat, but then I remembered that I had a bag of soy curls. This is my first time making anything with (or eating) soy curls, so there was a bit of an unknown here. I’ll admit that I worried that the soy curls would ruin the whole thing, but I decided to take the risk.

Soy Curl Caldereta

1 cup soy curls
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, cut into chunks (or 1 cup whole baby carrots)
1 cup potatoes cut into chunks
1/2 to 1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup peas
handful green olives (add as little or as many as you’d like)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 packet Mama Sita’s Caldereta Spice Mix (yeah, yeah… I’m lazy)

First, I prepped all my veggies. Then I threw some olive oil into a medium pot, browned the garlic, and then added the water over medium heat. When the water started to boil, I added the potatoes, carrots, and the seasoning and covered until it started to simmer.

I uncovered the pot and added the tomato sauce. I mixed it around a bit and then lowered the heat and covered the pot. While that was simmering, I took my cup of soy curls and rehydrated them in a bowl of water.

By the time the dish was simmering nicely, the soy curls were ready. I don’t know what I was expecting when it came to the soy curls. I knew they would be soft, but I wasn’t prepared for the smell. It was as if I had been instantly transported to a grocery store in Argyle.

After the soy curls were heated, I topped off the pot with the rest of the ingredients, covered the pot, and let it sit over low heat for about 5 minutes. You can leave over the heat for longer; I like wanted my peppers to retain some of their crunch.

Serve the dish over rice. Some things to note:

  • The Mama Sita mix contains garlic powder, onion powder, and other spices; it’s vegan.
  • This turned out very sweet. I”m not sure if it’s because of the tomato sauce, the amount of carrots I used, or what. It’s sweet.
  • Red peppers are usually used. I happened to have green in the fridge.
  • Because the traditional version uses meat, this tends to simmer for much longer with the meat, which I’m sure has a lot to do with the flavoring and the final texture of the dish. I might add some beef broth next time I make this.

This was a fun experiment! –Melissa

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