Archive for ‘Vegan Recipes’

August 10, 2012

Kung Pao Tofu

This is NOT the Americanized version of this classic Sichuan dish: this is the real deal! You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor. If you don’t have both dark and light soy sauce, you can just use 2 tsp of the soy sauce you have.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 16 ounces dou gan or extra firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 5 to 6 scallions, roughly chopped, plus some thinly sliced scallions for optional garnish
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • At least 10 dried red chilis (add more for more spice)
  • 1 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns (or ½ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns)
  • At least one handful of dry roasted peanuts

Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water

Sauce

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp dark Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock or water

1. Cube the tofu and mix in the marinade ingredients. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. If you haven’t done so already, mince the garlic and peel and slice the ginger. Roughly chop the white parts of scallions, and thinly slice the green parts for garnish (optional.) Either leave the dried chilis whole, or slice them in half and take out as many seeds as possible.

3. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. (Note: Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.)

4. Heat a wok with oil over high heat. Before the wok begins to smoke, add the chilis and Sichuan peppercorn. Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and oil is slightly fragrant.

5. Add tofu and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

7. Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients.

8. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts.

9. Transfer to plates, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 9, 2012

Basil Pesto

Basil pesto is a staple everyone should know how to make: it’s versatile (put it on eggs, pasta, risotto, fresh vegetables, chicken, sandwiches, wraps, stir it in a soup, etc.), it’s delicious, and it’s EASY!

Tip: Fresh pesto will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two. You can also make a big batch and freeze it for several months in ice cube trays. Use the pesto “cubes” as needed. If freezing, don’t stir in the cheese; stir in the cheese by hand just before serving.

Time: 5-15 minutes

Makes about 1 cup

Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything

  • 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed and dried
  • ½ to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
  • salt, to taste

1. Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts and about half the oil in a food processor or blender (or mortar and pestle).

Pine nuts

Toasted pine nuts

Quality extra virgin olive oil

2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add additional oil if you prefer a thinner mixture.

Pesto!

3. Stir in the parmesan by hand just before serving.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 8, 2012

Sichuan Eggplant

This is a classic Sichuan dish that is spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all at the same time. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor.

Tip: To grind the Sichuan peppercorns: Toast peppercorns in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until very fragrant and smoking, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn). Grind, while still hot, to a powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder (or a blender/food processor). If you want, you can sift through a fine sieve, discarding hulls.

 

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock, or substitute water
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns

1. Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters. Cut each quarter in somewhat substantial, but still bite-sized, cubes (about 1 1/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch cubes).

2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

 

5. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to fully cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Remove from the heat, plate, and sprinkle scallions on top.

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

August 2, 2012

Raspberry Mint Limeade

I like lemonade, but I LOVE limeade. This drink is refreshing, good for you, gorgeous, and perfect for summer. Use fresh limes! To extract the juice more easily, cut the limes in half and microwave them for 30 seconds. Use more or less honey or sugar depending on how sweet you like it.

Adapted from An Hour In The Kitchen

Time: 20 minutes

Makes 1 quart

  • 1 cup lime juice (6-10 limes)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ½ cup honey or sugar
  • 2 cups water

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

2. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve to remove seeds.

3. Serve over ice and garnish with mint and lime slice.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 2, 2012

Peach and Basil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This is a beautiful summer salad, showcasing the fragrant sweet peaches and herbaceous basil in peak season at this time of year. Lemon brightens up the flavors. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, as well. Enjoy!

Time: 10 minutes

Serves 4

Salad

  • 4 peaches, diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tbsp good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
1. Whisk the lemon vinaigrette
2. Toss peaches with basil and lemon vinaigrette.
Happy Eating!
Love, Yang
August 2, 2012

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

This is a delicious and comforting weeknight recipe. You can use any vegetables you have on hand (I used sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and carrots). The measurements for the sauce are approximate and feel free to add more sugar, soy sauce, or vinegar, depending on how salty, sweet, or acidic you like it. The water is important to add because the sauce will thicken as it cooks, and it can become gummy if the water isn’t added in the beginning. As the tofu turns golden brown, you might feel tempted to stir, but don’t. Just let it sit and crisp up in the pan for 5 minutes, and check every few minutes to see if it’s golden brown. This is a simple stir-fry, but tastes phenomenal!

Hint: To peel ginger, place your thumb on the back of a spoon and apply downward pressure; the skin will come off easily!

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter (Organics Old-Fashioned Creamy brand is my favorite!)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, (or white vinegar, or lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or honey)
  • dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne (optional, to add some spice)

TOFU & VEGETABLES

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 cups of vegetables (any kind!)
  • 2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • fresh basil (optional garnish)

1. To prepare tofu: Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the tofu into ½ inch cubes.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then gently stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.

3. While the tofu is crisping, prepare the sauce: Whisk water, peanut butter, rice vinegar (or white vinegar), soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Taste it, to make sure it’s the way you like it.

4. When the tofu is golden brown on all sides, transfer to a separate plate.

5. Saute onions, ginger, and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetables, tofu and the peanut sauce and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

West African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter and Black Beans

This soup is amazing: hearty, comforting, and DELICIOUS. It also happens to be both vegetarian and vegan, although you could certainly add meat to this dish (chicken and beef would go well here). This soup honors fall flavors while paying homage to both Thai and African culinary traditions. I would say the addition of the Thai curry paste, lime, and brown sugar makes this soup Thai-African fusion.

Total Time: 45 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Serves 4-5, adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced very finely
1/2 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1 quart vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (or sunbutter for those allergic!)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
3 tsp brown sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the curry paste and cinnamon.  Stir for a minute so that the olive oil gets infused with spice.  Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, bell pepper, and jalapeno.  Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the beans and broth.   Add the peanut butter to the mix.  Add the red pepper flakes.

3. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer.  Cook until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.

4. Stir in the lime juice and brown sugar.  Season with salt and black pepper, if needed. Top with chopped cilantro.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Colorful Roasted Beets

Beets are in season and they’re so easy to make! Beets come in gorgeous vibrant colors; I found these lovely beets at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market. The hardest part about this recipe is peeling and cutting them. Once that’s done, just pop them in the oven for a half hour to an hour (depending on how soft you like them) and go do other stuff. This recipe is one of the simplest ways to make beets, but you can add other seasonings depending on what you like: rosemary, garlic, and balsamic vinegar go very well together, so does ginger, cinnamon, and butter. Beets and feta is also a classic. Experiment! You can also make a big batch of this and it will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, perfect as a side dish or snack.

Total Time: 45-65 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30-50 minutes

Serves 4

1 pint of beets, washed, peeled, and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces

Olive oil or canola oil

Salt (optional) and pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Toss the beets with oil, salt (if desired), and pepper to coat evenly.

3. Place the beets in a baking dish lined with foil and roast for 30-50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

4. Remove the beets from the oven.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Time: 1 hr 5 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 hr

Serves 4

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • Olive oil

Heat oven to 400° F. Wash each sweet potato and then rub each sweet potato with a little olive oil. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Top with 1 tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper, cinnamon, maple syrup, however you like!

Happy Eating!
Love,
Yang
July 11, 2012

Panang Curry with Tofu, Eggplant, Potatoes, Sweet Red Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil

I’m a fiend for curry and Thai curry is one of my favorites. There are many different Thai curries (Massaman, Panang, Red, Green, Yellow, Karee, Kaeng Kua, Khing, etc.), each with a unique flavor that stems from the different ingredients in their pastes. If I was an authentic Thai chef, I’d grind my spices in a pestle and mortar and crack a coconut and strain its milk. Let’s just say I’ve tried to make authentic curry before in just this manner and ended up with multiple bruises on my forehead and a chipped countertop. Since I’m a college a student with no time, the following recipe is one that I’ve made up over the years and is as convenient as can be without sacrificing taste. You can use any protein you want (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, duck, etc.) and any vegetables or fruits you want (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, etc).

Again, this recipe is a simple concept where you can mix and match to find your favorite combination:

Concept: curry paste + coconut milk + protein + vegetables = delicious curry.

This is a great recipe for making a huge batch and reheating the leftovers throughout the week. Curry will taste even better the next day when all of the flavors have had time to mingle. A batch of curry will last for about a week in the fridge.

If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, you could use light coconut milk (best deal is at Trader Joe’s, $0.99/can). However, this will make your curry runnier (since light coconut milk is essentially diluted coconut milk) and, in my opinion, less delicious. You could do 1 light can, 1 full-fat can to compromise, but from my own experience, just use the unadulterated coconut milk and eat less of it. Trust me, the taste and texture of your curry will be absolutely amazing and it will be worth it.

Chao Koh is the best authentic brand of canned coconut milk for foodies and Thai home cooks alike, and is available at Safeway. The next best brand is Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk, which is available at Whole Foods.

I always use Maesri brand curry paste, which I get from Asian grocery stores, but Thai Kitchen curry pastes are good, too. You can find those at Safeway and Whole Foods.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp of neutral oil such as canola, peanut, safflower, or vegetable

2 13 oz cans of coconut milk

1 can (4 oz, or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste (or any curry paste)

1 medium eggplant

3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small potatoes)

1 14 oz box of firm or extra firm tofu (spongy tofu, tofu gan, or any form of tofu will work, but firm will hold up better in the curry)

1 red bell pepper

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Heat up a medium to large pot to medium heat.

2. Stir fry 4 oz (or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste with 2 tbsp of oil.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir to integrate the curry paste with the coconut milk. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, chop the tofu into small 1/2 inch chunks.

4. When the mixture boils, add the tofu and stir thoroughly.5. While the tofu is cooking, chop the eggplant and potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks.

6. Add another can of coconut milk and add the chopped eggplant and potatoes. If the liquid doesn’t cover the newly added eggplant and potatoes, add some water, but not too much, since the eggplant and potatoes will reduce down as they cook.

7. While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking, remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and slice the pepper into strips.

8. After 20 minutes, check to see if the eggplant and potatoes are tender by sticking a fork or chopstick in it. The potatoes should not be too hard or too mushy. If they’re too hard, let them cook for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Once the potatoes are tender, add in the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve immediately over jasmine rice or by itself. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. If you like it spicy, you can also garnish with fresh red chilies.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

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