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