Tag Archives: filipino

Vegan Longanisa

You’re either thinking, “Say what?! Vegan longanisa?!” or “WTF is longanisa?” after seeing the title of this post. Longanisa is a garlicky Filipino sausage made traditionally with pork. Some people liken it to chorizo. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack and usually served with sinangag (garlicky fried rice) and fried eggs. For me, longanisa is kind of like an equivalent of frozen pizza. We usually had some in the freezer and could cook them up when we wanted something easy and delicious to eat. A lot of Filipino restaurants offer longanisa for breakfast. Uncle Mike’s in Chicago is one of them:

Photo from LTH Forum

Longanisa is one of the things I knew I would miss after going vegan. It’s not just the taste of it. It’s like this connection to my culture, something I can mention to any Filipino person that will instantly bond us. We didn’t have it often growing up which is a good thing when you consider how fatty it is. Longanisa is like the frozen Ramen noodle for Filipino-American kids when they move out of the house and want something that reminds them of home. So, yes. I miss longanisa, and I had accepted the fact that I would probably never eat it again. But then, I decided to try and veganize it.

Ingredients:
14 oz Gimme Lean Beef Style Veggie Protein
1/2 head minced garlic — came out to about 1/3 cup
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
safflower or olive oil, for frying
The following are optional:
2 tbsp flax meal
1-2 tsp annatto powder (to give the sausages a red color; I did not add this)

First, I minced the garlic and then tossed it in with┬áthe ‘meat.’ I set it aside and then mixed together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. I added it to the ‘meat’ mixture along with the vinegar. Then I mooshed it all together.

I formed the ‘meat’ into small sausages (about the length of your average breakfast link but with more girth… heeeheh… girth). I ended up with 16 sausages. I put them in the fridge to chill. I won’t comment on how they kind of look like poo. Oh, oops. I just did. Hmm… maybe the whole purpose of adding annatto powder is to make it look less like poo.

Traditional longanisa recipes call for the meat to sit in the fridge for at least one hour, preferably for over 24 hours. I couldn’t wait so I took some out after about 2.5 hours and fried them up in safflower oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes.

I made some sinangag and a salad of tomato, onion, and cilantro to accompany my longanisa. I have always felt like being Filipino and loving Filipino food would make going vegan an impossible challenge. I’m glad to have proven myself wrong yet again. Is the recipe exactly like traditional longanisa? No. But it’s a great substitute that I know I’ll improve on with every try. As a bonus, it has ZERO cholesterol. Who wants all that pork fat anyway? Gross!

Kain tayo! That means “let’s eat!” …. Melissa

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Tofustek!

When I first thought about starting a vegan-centric blog, I was going to focus on veganizing Filipino dishes. Filipino food isn’t necessarily heavy on meat: my mom can give you a lecture on how she rarely ate meat as a girl growing up in the Philippines. I should ask her to write it down and post it here. Oh, I digress. One of the Filipino dishes that I knew I would really miss is bistek or beef steak. It’s basically meat and onions so how can you possibly veganize it and make it similar to the real thing?

Duh. Tofu is the solution to my bistek problem. However, I still have issues with tofu texture and taste. There is just no getting away from that tofu taste. Anyway, I had leftover tofu in the fridge and decided to try making it into Tofustek! (exclamation point is required). I am 99% happy with the result. It still needs something, but here is the basic recipe with which we can tinker.

1 block extra firm tofu
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice or calamansi juice if you’ve got it
1 medium onion, sweet vidalia recommended but any onion will do
ground black pepper
olive oil or safflower oil (my new favorite cooking oil, will post about it soon!)

Double up on the soy sauce and lemon juice if you like your dishes to be more soupy, and use more or less onion if you wish.

1. Slice the tofu into mini-steaks or into chunks — whatever you like! Put the tofu in a shallow bowl or dish so that you only have one layer of it, if possible.

2. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce and lemon. Taste a drop of it to make sure it’s a flavor you like. If it’s too sour, add a bit more soy sauce. If you can’t taste the lemon or calamansi, add a bit more. Once it’s mixed, sprinkle in some black pepper.

3. Pour the sauce over the tofu, taking care to coat each piece. Let it sit for awhile to marinade. Five minutes or so should be plenty of time.

4. While the tofu is marinading, slice your onion into rings and set aside.

5. Heat up your pan and add oil. Brown the tofu. IMPORTANT: Do NOT add any of the sauce! Some will obviously find its way into the pan, but try to make it as dry as possible.

6. After the tofu is browned, remove it from the pan and place it in a bowl or container, preferably the container in which you plan to serve or store the dish.

7. Add a bit more oil to the pan and then throw in your onions. Brown until they are wilted, or earlier if you like your onions a bit more crisp. Then, add the sauce and remove from heat. Careful: it’s gonna sizzle.

9. Top the tofu with the onions and sauce.

Serve Tofustek! with white rice or your favorite grain. Goes well with steamed or broiled Chinese eggplant, or with salted fresh tomatoes. Tofustek! is not quite as delicious as bistek, but it’s a great vegan alternative and super easy to make.

Enjoy! And may you have a Happy New Year! – Melissa

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