Tag Archives: cinnamon

Tropical Spring Rolls!

It’s raw night again in the Alldestroyers’ household and tonight we’ll be preparing vegan spring rolls. You’ll need the following:

2 medium zucchini, shredded
5 average sized carrots, shredded
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1/2 tsp flaked red pepper
a pinch of salt
8-10 rice paper sheets (mine are bahn-trang)
greens or spinach, washed and dried

Start by combining all the vegetables (except for the greens), liquids and seasonings in a bowl. Substitute shredded parsnips if you have a coconut allergy. Mix well and set aside.

Add 1 to 2 cups warm water in a deep plate or shallow bowl. Place a rice paper sheet into the water making sure to dampen both sides thoroughly and remove before it loses it’s stiffness.

Take it out and place it on a clean plate. Don’t worry if it’s still stiff; it’ll soften as it absorbs the water.

Place a handful of greens on one end of the paper closest to you. Add 3-4 heaping spoonfulls of filling onto the greens (if it’s particularly wet, let it drain, squeezing it out between your hands – your kids might like this job).

Dry your hands and start rolling the filled end of the sheet away from you using the greens to control the filling, folding in the sides. Rest it on that edge after closing it until you’re ready to eat it.Try not to place them so close that they’re touching because they’ll stick together and might tear when handled.

This takes some practice but it doesn’t really matter what they look like, right? You should end up with some lovely light, nutritions, filling and delicious spring rolls.

We made a dipping sauce out of basically the same ingredients as in our pakora with some minor changes which complemented the coconut in the spring rolls brilliantly. The proportions were about like this:
1/4 cup of tamarind (we used frozen)
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
chili paste to taste

When mango comes into season, we’ll probably make this sauce with pureed mango. I’m monitoring the little baby mango growing on the trees between my train stop and apartment closely. Soon, my friends… very soon.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Tofu Makhani Quick and Easy

The man and I are always trying to reproduce take-out favorites at home. A few weeks ago I became obsessed with creating a truly vegan, gluten-free version of veggies makhani which we periodically order from a beloved Indian restaurant. “Makhani” means butter in Hindustani and though a lot of restaurants make it with olive oil as a cheap alternative to ghee, I still worry my special request for olive oil won’t be met. This version isn’t stereotypical Indian food but rather an Americanized version of the Indian classics but that shouldn’t stop you from giving this a try. We made ours with traditional herbs and spices, peas and tofu instead of paneer. Paneer is a traditional home-made Indian cheese often used in this dish. Tofu is a great vegan substitute. Other veggies that would be appropriate include bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes. I started with the following:
1 carton of firm Chinese style water packed tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb bag of frozen peas

Before you do anything, set these aside to drain and thaw respectively. I like to marinade my tofu in lemon juice for 30 minutes or so with a dash of ground coriander. I finish it by heating the tofu lightly in the pan I’ll eventually add my sauce to and pouring off any excess liquid.
1 tsp oil
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional, but recommended)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced (more if you like spice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 pinkie sized piece of turmeric, sliced OR 1/2 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp syrup (any kind will do)
2 cups vegetable stock (use water if you need more)
1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked is good)
1 tbsp vegan “butter”
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and chili paste to taste
Fresh green coriander/cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, and when they sputter add the cinnamon. Add the ginger and turmeric and stir for a minute or so over medium-high heat. Add the onions, “butter” and a little salt and saute until the onions start to brown, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, cashew nuts and chilli powder. Saute the mixture until the tomatoes soften. If the mixture starts to get too dry before the tomatoes are done, add some water or vegetable stock and continue cooking. Once the tomatoes are really soft, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Pour into a blender along with the lemon, syrup, and tomato paste, using some broth to get all the paste out of the can. An extra tablespoon of cashew butter won’t hurt but we’re trying to keep this light. Blend to a smooth paste adding veggie stock, syrup, salt, and chili paste as necessary.

I don’t recommend blending the mixture while it’s still hot because it can be dangerous. If you have a hand blender, this is the time to use it. Pour the blended paste back into the saucepan with your tofu, turn on the heat, add the remaining vegetable stock if the mixture is particularly thick. Now add the peas and any other veggies you like and stir them in. Let the mixture heat until it’s steamy. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot with some rice, or a suitable substitute.

We used quinoa that we prepared by microwaving at 2 minute intervals. We also added some cardamom pods because they bring out the nutty smells and flavors in quinoa with their lemony aroma.

I just wish I could take a picture of the flavor for you: this is comfort food, pure and simple. I hope you get to enjoy some!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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