recipes 

Recipes, mostly vegetarian, borrowed or stolen.

Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower with Potatoes) 

serves 6

simple view

ingredients 

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 2 red potatoes
  • a chunk of ginger (the size of a garlic clove)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander power
  • 1 tsp red chili power
  • 1/2 tsp garam masa
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp semase oil
  • some cilantro/coriander leaves

steps 

  1. chop the cauliflower in half, break off the florets by hand, and cut big ones into a bite size.
  2. removes the eyes from the potatoes, cut them into a 1 cm cube (1/2 inch) with the skin on.
  3. peel and grate the ginger.
  4. heat semase oil in a pot with a thick bottom, and add cumin seeds.
  5. add hing and grated ginger, and mix well.
  6. add turmeric, coriander, and red chili poweder and stir.
  7. lower the heat to medium low, add cauliflower, potatoes, salt, and mix well.
  8. cover and cook for 7 min, shake vigorously with the cover on (or stir), and cook another 7 min.
  9. sprinkle garam masala, stir, cover, and cook for additional 5 min.
  10. serve with chopped cilantro.

notes 

this recipe is taken from Sookhi Gobhi Aloo.

Vegetarian Mapo Doufu 

serves 4

simple view

ingredients 

  • 4 scallions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a chunk of ginger
  • 1 cube of vegetable bouillon with 2 cups of water (or 2 cups of veg stock)
  • 1 tbsp of tianmianjiang (sweetened soybean paste) or hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sake
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 2 tbsp of huajiao (sichuan pepper)
  • 2 packs of silken tofu
  • 1 pack (340 g) of vegetarian ground meat such as Smart Ground
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch
  • sesame oil

steps 

  1. finely chop the scallions.
  2. peel garlic, equivalent amount of ginger, and grate them both.
  3. microwave water with the vegetable bouillon for 2 minutes, and crush the bouillon.
  4. add tianmianjiang, sake, and soy sauce to the soup base.
  5. set aside doubanjiang in a small bowl.
  6. finely chop red chilies into rings.
  7. grind huajiao using mortar and pestle.
  8. open Smart Ground from the package, and cut it half.
  9. open silken tofu packages, drain excess water, and cut them into 3 cm (1.2 inch) cubes.
  10. heat a wok on medium high, add vegetable oil, and fry grated ginger, garlic and half of the scallions.
  11. once you start smelling the garlic (30 sec), make some room in the wok, and add in doubanjiang.
  12. let doubanjiang cook till the bottom changes color and sticks to the wok. (about 1 min) using ladle or spatula scrape the paste off the wok.
  13. add Smart Ground to the wok, crush them into pieces, mix well, and let it cook until the bottom part is crisply browned.
  14. add soup base to the wok, mix well, and bring it to a boil.
  15. carefully slide in the tofu, gently mix them so they are covered in soup, drop the heat to medium low, and stew for 2 minutes.
  16. while tofu is cooking, mix cornstarch with equivalent amount of water, mix well and set aside.
  17. remove the tofu from heat, pour the cornstarch all around, and quickly mix it in.
  18. put the tofu on high heat till the soup comes to a simmer and thickens.
  19. turn off the heat, and drizzle sesame oil all around.
  20. serve with the other half of the scallion and ground huajiao.

notes 

getting the ingredients may be challenging for some of you. most of them should be available online or at a local specialty store or a super market:

Meatless meat sauce 

serves 6?

simple view

ingredients 

  • 2 large or 3 small vidalia onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • 1 can of Cento San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 can of Cento Tomato Paste 6oz
  • 1 pack of Lightlife Smart Ground Original
  • 2 tbsp of aged balsamic vineger
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • red chili flakes to taste
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • (pasta of your choice)
  • (1 cup greek yogurt)
  • (parmesan cheese)

steps 

  1. start boiling water (not listed) for pasta.
  2. cut the onions in half, and then slice them.
  3. in a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the onion with the olive oil until translucent. about 4 min.
  4. add chopped garlic and Smart Ground crumbled with spatula into the pot, and mix well.
  5. add balsamic vineger, salt and chili flakes and sauté them for a minute.
  6. empty the whole tomato into a bowl, and crush them by hand into bite size chunks.
  7. add the crushed tomato with juice and tomato paste into the pot and mix well.
  8. add water into the pot and mix well.
  9. cook the sauce in medium heat for 7 minutes, stiring frequently.
  10. follow the instruction to cook the pasta in plenty of water with a handful of sea salt.

I cooked stuffed shells, stuffed them with 1 tsp of greek yogurt each, and poured the sauce over.

Sauteed water spinach 

serves 2

simple view

ingredients 

  • 1 bunch of water spinach (kongxincai), cut into 3 inches (8cm)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chili, cut in rings
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • sesame
  • sesame oil

steps 

water spinach (kongxincai) grows in muddy water, and is delicate to cold temperature of the fridge. wash well after cutting it into smaller pieces. throw out any damaged stems or leaves.

  1. mix sugar and vegetarian oyster sauce in a small bowl.
  2. heat the wok, and put enough sesame oil to cover the surface.
  3. fry garlic in the wok.
  4. put in the stem part of the water spinach with red chili, and stir fry for a minute on medium-high heat.
  5. put the rest of the water spinach. mix well to coat in oil.
  6. put in sake, and increase the heat to cook off the alcohol.
  7. put in the oyster sauce and mix.
  8. serve with sesame on top.

Holiday Brussel sprouts salad 

serves 10+

ingredients 

  • 1 bag of fresh Brussel sprouts, 400g
  • 1/2 bag of purple Brussel sprouts, 200g
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection, 280g, or
    • 1/4 head of small cabbage
    • 1/4 head of small purple cabbage
    • handful of kale
  • 280g of mushroom, sliced
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • handful of roasted and salted pecan halves
  • salt and pepper to taste

dressing

  • 2/3 cups of olive oil
  • 6 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp maple butter or honey
  • 3 tsp whole grain mustard

steps 

  • wash and shred both green and purple Brussel sprouts (with Mandoline or knife), and put them in a large pot with cold water
  • wash, remove any stems or veins from the cabbage and kale leaves, shred them, and put them in cold water as well
  • drain the water, and dry (using a salad spinner etc)
  • microwave the maple butter (or honey) with 1 tbsp of water until warm, about 10s
  • mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and warmed maple butter in a jar or measuring cup and stir well with a fork
  • put the sprouts mix 1/3 at a time into a large pot with liberal amount of salt and pepper
  • pour the dressing over the sprouts mix, and mix evenly
  • cover the sprouts with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it stand in the fridge for 1h ~ overnight. take it out 1h before serving.
  • saute the mushroom with salt and pepper, and mix with the salad
  • dice the apple, and squeeze 1/2 of lemon juice over it in a bowl, then mix it into the salad
  • serve the salad in a large salad bowl, and garnish with dried cranberries and pecan

Bianlu plant-based hotpot 

serves 4?

simple view

ingredients 

  • 1 head of napa cabbage
  • 100 ml of semame oil
  • 5 dried shiitake
  • some dried kombu kelp
  • 160g vermicelli bean thread
  • frozen meatless meatballs
  • kosher salt
  • chili oil, chili oil with fried garlic, or chili powder
  • (optional) cooked white rice

steps 

  1. put cold water in a large dutch oven with 5 dried shiitake and similar amount of dried kombu kelp. let it sit for a few hours covered.
  2. after broth is done, remove the kombu kelp, and pour 1 liter into another pot to set aside for reserve.
  3. split the cabbage length-wise in half, then cut each cross-wise in half. then julienne the lower halves into thin strips and put them in the dutch oven.
  4. stew the lower halves of cabbage on for 30 min, half covered. start with medium heat and then simmer.
  5. in the meantime, roughly chop the leafy part of cabbage into big chunks.
  6. add 50ml (~1 ladle) of semame oil and stack the leafy part of the cabbage and simmer for 20 min.
  7. the leafy part should’ve shrunk by now. add another 50ml (~1 ladle) of semame oil, mix well, and simmer for 10 min.
  8. meanwhile, microwave the frozen meatless meatballs.
  9. boil hot water separaly, and soak 4 servings (160g) of vermicelli in a bowl or wok for 5 minutes. drain well and add vermicelli to the cabbage. the hot pot is ready to serve.

how to enjoy bianlu 

Serve the stew with meatballs, unseasoned with chili oil and kosher salt on the side.

Add just the salt first and enjoy the cabbage. Don’t finish the soup part since it’s a constrained resource.

In the second serving onwards, add chili oil and maybe you can even have some of the soup. If the common soup starts to deplete, you should have the national broth reserve that we’ve set aside. Reheat it and add to the pot.

In the final serving, add some cooked rice (either individually or in the common pot) to make porrige.

about bianlu 

扁炉 (bianlu or “pienlo”) is supposedly from Guangxi region in China, and has a cult following in Japan after it was introduced in a book by Kappa Senoh in the 90s. This recipe is based on an adoptation by Oi-san.

Fork me on GitHub