Tag Archives: agave nectar

Smoked Soy Curls

This morning, I found myself missing smoked sausage. On weekend mornings, we would often have smoked sausage or hot dogs with fried eggs, fried rice, and tomatoes (we’re Filipino so this is completely normal for me). While Gimme Lean has a great vegan soy sausage product that would be great for this type of meal, I was really craving something smoked. So, I grabbed half a cup of dry soy curls and improvised.

While the soy curls were rehydrating, I mixed together about 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of agave nectar, and added a few drops of liquid smoke. I have never used liquid smoke before, but I read in some places to be careful about the amount used. So, I tried to be conservative without even really knowing what that meant. Let’s just say that I wish I had put a few more dashes of liquid smoke in the mix. Once the curls were rehydrated, I drained them and let them marinade in the mixture for a few minutes.

I baked the soy curls in the toaster oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. While it was baking, I fried some brown rice in garlic, and cut up some tomatoes and green onion which I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Breakfast was served! My smoky marinade can use some tweaking, or maybe I need to let it marinade for a bit longer. I was worried that I used too much soy sauce and was surprised when the sweetness of the agave nectar seemed to be the prominent taste. I’ll probably use maple syrup next time, too. I don’t have any right now which is totally tragic. This still tasted great, though, and is one recipe I won’t mind experimenting with repeatedly. I’ll take whatever suggestions y’all may have! –Melissa

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Hopia Experiment #1: Hope-less-ia

Hopia is a Filipino dessert that is typically made with mung bean, but is also made with ube (purple yam) or baboy (pork, which I found nasty even in my pre-vegan days). Hopia is very possibly my favorite Filipino dessert. The only thing that makes traditional hopia non-vegan is the egg wash that is brushed on the pastry before it is baked. I bought some yellow mung beans and decided to try making my own hopia. I’m very much not thrilled with how it turned out so I won’t go into specifics on ingredients, but I’m posting this because I like seeing how my cooking skills improve (or not) and want to learn from my mistakes. Someday, in the next 40 years or so, I will get over the trauma of this experience and try making it again.

First, I got my mung beans and soaked them for about 4 hours. Three hours in, I started working on my dough. I despise flour and dough and proportions and mixing.

Two doughs are required for hopia. Pictured above is Dough #1. It’s flour and oil, proportioned and mixed into loose crumbs. I honestly don’t know if this is how Dough #1 was supposed to turn out. Dough #2 was more traditional. By this time, I was so tired and annoyed (it took two tries to get both doughs right) that I didn’t bother to take photos. Basically, you’re supposed to flatten Dough #2, sprinkle it with Dough #1, and then roll it into a log. Uh, yeah. That didn’t happen. I just ended up mixing the two doughs together.

Four hours passed. I drained and rinsed the mung beans (yes, the water turns yellow).

Then, I put the mung beans in a pot, added enough water to cover it, and brought it to a boil, mixing until the beans got soft and it started to get pasty. Keep an eye on the beans!

I took the beans out, added salt, and then tried mooshing them into a paste. That did NOT work, so I put them in a food processor, which did the trick. I added the agave nectar and then microwaved the filling to dry it out. I dried it out until it was about the consistency of mashed potatoes. I thought I was a genius, but I had to keep in mind that I would still be baking this; my filling ended up being pretty dry. Note: I could have just eaten this with a spoon at this point.

I took an ice cream scooper and formed the filling into balls so that I would know how many piece to divide my dough into.

Now it was time to make the pastry. In theory, you’re supposed to flatten the dough into a very thin layer, place the filling on top, and then pick up the rest of the dough to cover it up in a ball and flatten it. I tried! They did turn out pretty, in my humble opinion. I brushed the tops of the hopia with almond milk and then put them in the oven.

Here are the finished hopia, done and baked. I added some almond slivers to a few of them, and put almond slivers on top to indicate so. The hopia were OK – the filling tasted sweet enough but could have used more agave nectar. I’m reluctant to try stevia and I even have some reservations about agave nectar, but I didn’t want to use regular sugar.

Coincidentally, my Dad showed up with real hopia, so here’s a comparison. It’s a little hard to tell, but the real hopia has a flakier pastry and yellower filling.

Anyone have any advice for my next try? I am completely baking-challenged! Thankfully, I know an awesome lady who makes wonderful hopia, so I will happily eat hers for the time being (removing the top later to avoid the egg wash).

hopia have a great day! –Melissa

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