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):

photo 2

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.

photo 1

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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