Tag Archives: eggplant

Hot pot!

When Brent and I are feeling particularly lazy but still want to eat something healthy, we make hot pot. This is an East Asian fun thing that can be enjoyed by small groups of friends or just your family. We use a simple electric wok that’s resistant to tipping over and fill it with our favorite kind of broth. It’s a great way to use just about any vegetables that are available in our refrigerator – broccoli, green beans, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, tofu, tofu skins, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, noodles (we use thin rice noodles and konjac noodles). Napa cabbage, spinach and Romaine lettuce are favorites.

After that, all you need is some fresh veg chopped into bite sized pieces and maybe some dipping sauces. Our broth recipe is as follows
1-2  liters of water

1-2 cubes of bouillon (we use “chicken” or mushroom)

1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns (we like spicy, what can I say)

2 star anise pods

15-20 goji berries

10-15 scallion onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

a pinch of ground cumin

2-3 pods of allspice

1 coin size slice of ginger (optional)

juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

1 tbsp chili or garlic flavored canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

I combine everything but the scallion onions in my pot and boil for 30 minutes or more until it’s fragrant and steamy. Then I add the spring onions and take the pot to our table. You put the veggies into the soup pot and wait for the liquid to return to a boil. Then we remove the vegetables without chopsticks, wait for them to cool or dip them in sauce or not (I like a home-made chili-lime-peanut sauce, Brent prefers a garlic chili sauce) and DEVOUR! Just be careful that the hot liquid doesn’t splash anyone and that the contents don’t spill onto anyone. It’s HOT (hence the name *hot* pot)! This might not be a dish for the faint of heart, but it is for the hungry, adventurous and lazy. Just put down a towel for all the drips and splashes.

As versatile as this particular dish is, there’s something for everyone. Just don’t get hurt when you realize someone ate your mushroom.

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan Kare Kare 2.0

I haven’t cooked in awhile (I’m a lazy vegan, remember?) but I had a serious craving for kare kare last week. I think it was triggered by seeing the beginnings of my Dad’s garden this summer, particularly the eggplant. I’m so spoiled by the garden! Alas, there are no veggies yet. Thank goodness for grocery stores.

I previously made kare kare using soy curls and it was good, but I wanted to try something different this time. I didn’t want to drop a meat substitute altogether even though all-veggie kare kare would be satisfactory. I didn’t want to use tofu. I didn’t want to use mushrooms. I didn’t want to use squash.

So I used jackfruit — young, unripe jackfruit.

photo (8)

You can find canned young green jackfruit at any Asian grocery store. Make sure you get the jackfruit in brine, not syrup! It’s not to be confused with ripe yellow jackfruit, which is sweet (and delicious in halo halo… yum). I’ve seen unripe jackfruit used in savory dishes. Luminous Vegans has a great BBQ Jackfruit recipe that’s like a vegan pulled pork sandwich. My Mom adds it to dishes. There is a plethora of vegan Jackfruit ‘Carnitas’ Taco recipes on the Internet. With the shred-like texture of the jackfruit, some imagination and an open mind, the possibilities are endless.

Kare kare always seemed really complicated to me when I was younger and I realize now that it’s because of the meat component. You need to boil the oxtail. Sometimes, you need to boil it forever or use a pressure cooker, otherwise it won’t get tender and it’s just nasty. You need to skim out the garbage that shows up when you boil meat. And it takes a long time!

For vegan kare kare, you’re looking at maybe 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time.

Vegan Kare Kare with Jackfruit

1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
eggplant, cut into 2″ chunks (enough to make approx 2 cups, any eggplant will do)
1 cup sitaw (Chinese long beans), cut into about 2 inch pieces — regular green beans are fine, too
bok choy (3 babies or 1 adult)
2-3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional)
oil
salt, to taste

Rinse and chop up all your veggies. for the jackfruit, I cut the chunks that came out of the can in half or in thirds, depending on how big they were. I made them about the same size as the eggplant pieces.

Heat up the pan and saute the onion and garlic in oil. When it gets fragrant, add the jackfruit, eggplant, and 1 cup of water. Mix it a bit, cover, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sitaw/beans and bok choy, cover, and let it all cook for another 3-5 minutes.

IMG_9466

Isn’t it pretty? The thing in the bottom middle is a piece of jackfruit.

When the veggies are just about cooked, stir things up a bit, being careful not to mash up any of the veggies. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and put in the peanut butter. The PB should melt completely. Add salt to taste. Add achiote if you want. It will give the dish a more reddish color. I didn’t add it this time around.

IMG_9469

Serve with white rice and bagoong (not vegan!) or a bagoong substitute. If you have the green-floral-border Corelle plates that every Filipino-American seems to have, use that for sentimental value. Follow it up with some halo halo with sweet jackfruit if you can. I’m so hungry now.

I’m pleased with my kare kare and jackfruit experiment, but I have to say that I think jackfruit would work better in sinigang (another Filipino dish) instead. I have yet to try it as BBQ or in a taco. Looks like I’ve got a lot of cooking to do! –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas Pasta

This holiday season hasn’t felt very holiday-ish. I definitely wasn’t feeling very festive until a couple of days ago. What happened? The weather got frigid, I walked into the State Street Marshall Field’s Macy’s and got overwhelmed by the decor and the crowds, was given a candy cane by a bartender, and then listened to some Christmas carolers over by Cloud Gate. Yay! Christmas! All that’s missing is snow!

IMG_8414

Now, whether or not you celebrate or care about Christmas, I’m willing to bet that you’re gathering with family or friends or, at the very least, getting inundated with baked goods by co-workers. It’s been a challenge for the past couple of weeks. I’ve given in to the cupcakes, the cheesecakes, the coffee cakes, the scrambled eggs. Today is Christmas Eve and it won’t get any easier — but I’ve planned ahead in order to avoid falling into traps. After all, there’s no excuse for me to break my vegan diet if I have perfectly delicious vegan food to eat instead.

I’m going to a gathering tonight and there will be plenty of food, none of which is vegan. So I made some pasta which I am calling Christmas Pasta! Next time, I’ll add spinach or some other green veggie so that it actually looks Christmas-y.

IMG_8428

It’s still in draft mode until I serve it tonight. I hope everyone at the party tries it and likes it! It’s penne in a marinara sauce with lots of garlic, sliced onion, and eggplant. I’m pretty excited about it. Everyone else can have their turkey or beef or whatever!

Happy celebrations, you guys! Stay safe and don’t eat cows. Santa said so. –Melissa

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan Lasagna

I make a lot of vegan lasagnas because it’s what happens when I’ve got too many vegetables in the fridge that aren’t suitable for juicing, like mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant. It’s something I suspect a lot of vegans do and just don’t talk about… correct me if I’m wrong. (this is the eggplant version after baking, below)

We slice the zucchini or eggplant thin to use instead of noodles and go from there. Usually we line the baking dish with zucchini or eggplant, cover that with a layer of spinach and cover it in soaked lentils flavored with tomato and garlic and other spices plus whatever veggies we’ve got mixed in. (pre-baking, below)

I usually sneak in another layer of spinach if I’ve got it.Then we make tofu ricotta (tofu blended with a little arrowroot starch, onion and garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc), pour that over the lentil veggie layer and make another layer of ‘noodles’ cover with some more tomato sauce, sprinkle with nut parmesan, Daiya, and/or nutritional yeast and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350F/180C until it’s bubbly and the ‘noodles’ are tender. It’ll depend on the size as to how long it’ll need to cook. Usually when it’s bubbling up the sides, you’re set! (zucchini version below, after baking)

I’m not writing a recipe for this because I don’t want to box anyone in with specifics. I’d also love to hear your favorite vegan lasagna recipes or little tips and tricks you’d offer to others.

What’s great about vegan lasagna is that it affords the opportunity to eat the nutrients vegans sometimes have trouble getting without a lot of effort. B vitamins, iron and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are among the nutrients that vegans sometimes miss out on due to eating a compassionate diet. Spinach (for iron), nutritional yeast (B-vitamins) and nuts (omega fatty acids) are my favorite sources of these nutrients.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

These make great leftovers but don’t normally make it to that stage.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Korean BBQ and Mom’s Eggplant Salad

My Mom made an eggplant salad of sorts and I thought it would go really well with some korean bbq.

 

I previously posted a recipe for vegan korean bbq or kalbi. The original recipe works fine, but I made a few modifications:

1/2 cup soy curls
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely minced (you can use garlic powder if you’re in a hurry)
sesame seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup

I set the soy curls in water to rehydrate. Then, I mixed the rest of the ingredients together. Once the soy curls were rehydrated and drained, I mixed everything together and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, I cooked the soy curls in a frying pan.

 

To make the eggplant salad, Mom started with eggplant that was already roasted and cooked it with garlic, onion, chili paste, sesame oil, and salt.

Enjoy with white or brown rice! –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Daal Biryani

Bryani is a dish that’s a regional specialty in one of my co-workers’ home town, Hyderabad, India. She gave me her recipe which calls for lamb and asked me to know how the vegan version pans out. I told her I planned to use lentils and she corrected me, “daal” so that’s what I’m calling it. We used the following:

1 cup of lentils or black-eyed peas, soaked and drained
1 cup split lentils, washed and drained
2-3 chili peppers (we’re using 2 jalapeños)
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of turmeric, sliced

some curry leaves if you’ve got them
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 carton of silken tofu
juice from 1 lemon

2 medium onions, sliced into strips
4 smallish tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium white mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pinch of cumin seeds
3 bay leaves

corn oil

1 cup of basmati rice

Put a tablespoon or so of corn oil into a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Heat it until they start to sputter, then add the onion, peppers, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, tofu and lemon juice into a large pot, add a little corn oil and stir fry. Add about 1.5 liters of water and use a hand blender to mix everything into a smooth creamy broth.

Chop your veggies while that heats to a simmer.

Now mix in the veggies, legumes and rice.

We added eggplant in addition to mushrooms. They’ll float to the top, this isn’t a problem; it means you won’t need a lid.. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice and legumes are tender. This will take about 1 hour give or take 15 minutes on low heat. You can also bake it at 350F/180C in your favorite baking dish for about an hour.

This is a great meal for hungry people who like curry. I don’t know how it measures up to the carnist version, but we managed to eat all of it within 2 days and considering it was almost too big for the pot I was using, this is really saying something. Brent wanted to add some chopped green peppers to the mix immediately before serving next time for a sweet crisp crunch and I agree that would add something. If you try it, let me know. Enjoy!

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Soy Curl Adobo with Eggplant Salad

Adobo is a quintessential Filipino dish and cooking method. Pork or chicken are usually used, however, seafood and even vegetables can be cooked adobo-style. Clearly, soy curls are a great substitute. I’m still amazed by what a great meat substitute they are. I’m also amazed that it took me so long to try making soy curl adobo because it’s so quick and easy. Special shout-out to my cousin Dulce for motivating me!

Here’s what you’ll need for soy curl adobo:

soy curls
soy sauce
white vinegar
garlic cloves, very coarsely minced
black peppercorns
bay leaf
Butler Chik-Style Seasoning (optional)
turbinado (optional)

I’m not listing measurements because all you need to know is this: use equal parts soy sauce and vinegar and use more if you want the adobo to be soupy and less if you don’t. The amount of garlic is your call, too, but adobo is meant to be garlicky. With about 1 cup of soy curls, I used 2 tbsp each of soy sauce and vinegar and two garlic cloves.

I put the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns in a small bowl (I didn’t have a bay leaf). Then, I fired up a small frying pan (you can also use a saucepan or pot), heated some olive oil in it, threw in my rehydrated soy curls and some Chik-Style seasoning, and mixed it all together.

Immediately after that, I added in the soy sauce-vinegar mixture. I mixed it again and let it cook. Optional: once the liquid starts cooling off a bit, you can add some turbinado (I did not).

I didn’t use a lot of liquid, so I ended up with some dry adobo, which suits me just fine.

To accompany the adobo, I made an eggplant salad using one roasted eggplant, diced tomato, and minced shallot. My dad pickles his pepper surplus, so I took one of these little chili peppers, minced it, and threw it in the salad along with some salt.

So yummy! The best part is, this dish can last for several days. It’s a road trip favorite for Filipinos for this very reason. I hope you’ll try it. Oh! I made another great discovery today. My sister usually has an allergic reaction to soy milk and tofu. She tried this and so far, no reaction. Yay! –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Easy Eggplant Sandwich

I’m weirded out by eggplant that I see in grocery stores. They never look as pretty or feel as nice as the ones that grow in my Dad’s garden. I took this photo about three weeks ago; we have a mess of eggplants now.

Eggplant is superb. You can use it in a variety of ways and in a variety of styles (Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, etc.). We “roasted” some eggplant by broiling them whole until they were soft and then peeled the skins. You can refrigerate the roasted eggplant for use later, which is what we did in this case.

You’ll need the following for the Easy Eggplant Sandwich:

roasted eggplant
sliced tomato
vegan pesto
toasted bread

Another garden goody is fresh basil. Here’s a pic of my Dad picking some basil for me for this recipe. I needed it for the pesto!

To make the pesto, put the following into a food processor and combine:

1 1/2 cups fresh basil
4-5 garlic cloves
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c almonds or pine nuts
1/4-1/3 c nutritional yeast
salt, to taste
crushed red pepper (optional but highly recommended by me)

Look at this beautiful pesto! The non-vegans in the house thoroughly enjoyed it so I am extra proud of it.

Get all your ingredients together on the table.

To construct the sandwich, take your toast, spread pesto on it (it’s okay to be liberal with the amount you use–go crazy!), mash some eggplant on that (no need to reheat if it’s chilled), and top with tomato.

Well, I could write some more about this, but I would like to be alone with my sandwich now… –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Salute to Saluyot

I’m extra excited about my Dad’s garden this summer! I have always felt like his garden was really unique because of the weird veggies he grows. I distinctly remember a science project where we had to bring different leaves from around our neighborhood to school. I’m the kid who brought eggplant and bitter melon leaves.

Saluyot is one of the plants that my Dad basically farms every summer.

Saluyot should be cooked; I’ve never eaten it raw or heard of it being prepared raw. It’s slimy when cooked, similar to okra, and will slime-ify the liquid that it’s cooked in. Any online information on the nutritional benefits of saluyot are kind of sketchy, but I can tell you that this plant is good for you along with being filling.

One of the many ways that we prepare saluyot is by cooking it in coconut milk with bamboo shoots.

We usually add shrimp to this, but my Mom set aside a vegan version for me. The bamboo shoots were super fresh so this tasted great — no salt or other embellishment needed. Another dish we recently had with saluyot involved squash, long beans, and eggplant (the first eggplant from our garden this season).

My Mom was the mastermind behind these dishes, so I’m sorry that I don’t have more pics or a real recipe to share. It’s only just begun, though, so you can expect more fresh veggie dishes using items picked from my parents’ backyard!

Are you growing veggies this summer? –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Kare Kare

Kare Kare is a Filipino dish that is usually made up of oxtail and vegetables in a peanut butter sauce. It’s also one of my favorite things to eat, like, ever. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present: Easy Vegan Kare Kare.

1 cup soy curls
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a big eggplant, cut into about 2 inch chunks (approx. 2 cups)
1 cup sitaw (Chinese long beans), cut into about 2 inch pieces — regular green beans are fine, too
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional)
olive oil
salt

First, take your one cup of soy curls and rehydrate them. While that’s happening, prepare your veggies. Any type of eggplant will do. You can put in as much veggies as you would like and even drop the soy curls altogether if you’d like. Eggplant and sitaw are the usual veggies we use; we also use bok choy most of the time. The sitaw came from the freezer… I can’t wait to show you guys the fresh ones once they start to pop up in my Dad’s garden.

When the soy curls are ready, drain the water. In a medium pot, heat up the olive oil and brown the garlic and onions. When it stats to get fragrant (and before the garlic starts to burn), toss in the soy curls and saute them with the onions and garlic. Once they’ve dried out a little, it will be time to add your veggies.

Toss the eggplant in first as they will take a bit longer than the beans to cook. Then, add about a cup of water to the pot. Cover and let the eggplants cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the beans and then cover it again for a few minutes.

Once the veggies are cooked, stir things up a bit. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and put in the peanut butter. The PB should melt completely and acts as both a flavor and thickening agent.

Taste the sauce and add some salt to taste. Add the achiote powder as the final step. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but this gives the kare kare its reddish color.

You can eat the kare kare on its own, but I prefer to have it with white rice. The soy curls are a good protein to use, particularly because it is reminiscent of tripe (I know… gross) which is also used a lot in kare kare. What’s the green stuff, you ask? Kare kare is nothing without some bagoong or salted shrimp paste. I was so super jazzed when I found this recipe for raw vegan bagoong on ASTIG Vegan. I couldn’t follow it exactly because I don’t have any dulse, so I improvised and crushed up about 4 sheets of salted seaweed snack instead. It’s wacky, but it actually worked really nicely as a bagoong substitute.

OMG, you guys. You have no idea how excited I am that this recipe worked. BTW – Happy Independence Day. Be safe! –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 693 other followers

%d bloggers like this: