Sweet Potato, Coconut, & Lime Soup

A soup I’ve had (and made) many a time at my work! It’s super creamy, a little bit sweet, and has a nice tang from the limes. Very easy to make, too! Served with a little sprig of coriander (if you like coriander, that is), it’s lovely and fresh.

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: ~45 minutes
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  • salt.
  • pepper.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 cans coconut milk.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • zest and juice of 2 limes (add more if you want it super limey!).
  • 1 small bunch coriander (also called cilantro), finely chopped,plus more for garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

In a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and once it’s hot, the onion, garlic, and ginger. Place the lid on and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until everything becomes soft and fragrant.

Next, add in the sweet potatoes and the carrots, and cook them for a few minutes with the lid on, just until they start to soften a little bit. Season well with salt and pepper, then add in the coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are soft enough that you can break them up with a fork, puree the soup until smooth. Add in the lime juice, zest, and coriander, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a leaf or two just before serving, and enjoy!

 

 

Vegan Japanese Curry

Japanese curries are delicious – slightly sweet, slightly spicy, all-around amazing. A lot of recipes, this one included, involve making a kind of curry-roux before adding the vegetables and liquid. A little bit more work than most curries, but well worth the effort! Serve this curry on a bed of rice or with some potato croquettes (I have a recipe for those too!) to make it a full meal.

This is a slight variation on your traditional recipes, so I can’t claim it to be authentic, but it sure is good!

Prep time: ~1  hour
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

For the curry roux:

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced.
  • 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and finely minced.
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 1/4 cup flour.
  • 2 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tsp garam masala.
  • 1-2 tsp crushed chilies.
  • black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.

For the rest of the curry:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cut into 1-cm chunks.
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled (if desired), and grated.
  • 1/2 cup peas, defrosted if frozen.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium-low. When it’s hot enough, add in the garlic and ginger and fry until just fragrant. Next, add in the flour, curry powder, and garam masala. Stir until you have a thick paste, then add in the chilies, black pepper, soy, and tomato paste.

Keep cooking the roux, stirring until it just starts to get a little bit drier and crumbly. Remove it from the heat and set aside.

Put the remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Fry them until they begin to caramelize, then add in the carrots and potatoes. Fry them for a few minutes, then add in the stock and soy sauce.

Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes before adding in the apple and eggplant.

Once the vegetables are all tender, loosen up the roux with a little bit of the cooking liquid before pouring it into the rest of the curry. Stir well, until the roux has completely dissolved into the rest of the stew.

Let the curry continue to simmer, and once it begins to thicken a little, add in the peas. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce or pepper if desired, and enjoy!

This curry is also delicious when cold.

Vegan Ma Po Tofu

A delicious, tremendously spicy dish from the Sichuan (or Szechuan, depending how you spell it) province of China, and a new go-to of mine! This is a rich, flavourful stew served on a bed of rice. Easy to prepare and quick to make. Not the most traditional version of the dish, to be fair, but it sure is delicious!

There are a couple of ingredients you might not be familiar with in this dish: Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean sauce. You can find both of these quite easily at a Chinese supermarket! Sichuan peppercorns are wonderfully spicy and leave an almost tingly feeling in your mouth – great for making your own spicy oil for various stir fry dishes. The chili bean sauce is made from fermented broad beans and chilies. It’s incredibly delicious and provides most of the seasoning for the dish, since it’s quite salty!

If you have a lower spice tolerance, feel free to omit the chilies or reduce the amount of peppercorns used.

Traditionally, this dish would use ground pork, but here I’ve replaced that with mushrooms, to make it vegan-friendly while still keeping that lovely umami flavour. Normally this would be cooked in a wok, but if you don’t have one, a deep frying pan will work just fine!

Prep time: ~30 minutes.
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns.
  • 2 red chilies, finely diced.
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced.
  • 3 tbsp garlic, peeled and finely diced.
  • 200 g. button mushrooms, finely diced.
  • 1-2 tbsp chili bean sauce.
  • 1 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar.
  • 200 ml boiling water.
  • 400 g. tofu (anywhere from medium to firm is fine!), cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 2 tsp cornstarch.
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced.

Cooking Instructions:

Before you begin, start cooking some long-grain rice, about 1/4 cup per person. This will take about as long as the rest of the dish!

Start by grinding half of the peppercorns in a spice grinder or mortar or pestle, just until you get a coarse, crumb-like consistency.

Heat the oil in the wok over medium-high heat, and add in the peppercorns and chilies. Fry for a couple of minutes, until the oil takes on some of the colour, then add in the ginger and garlic.

Keep everything moving in the pan, and fry for a couple of minutes, until the ginger and garlic become fragrant. Add the mushrooms in, and once they become soft, stir in the chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water.

Make a cornstarch slurry in a small dish by mixing the cornstarch with a couple teaspoons of water. Add that to the pan, and stir it through well until it begins to thicken into a lovely sauce.

Bring to a gentle bubble, then stir in the tofu, being careful not to break the pieces. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the tofu to heat through completely. Check

Spoon some rice into the bottom of a bowl, then top with the stew. Sprinkle a small handful of chopped scallions, and enjoy!

Mango and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Coleslaw, at least the traditional creamy kind with mayonnaise, isn’t my favourite. But throw in some fresh fruit and dress it up with a vinaigrette instead, and I’m in heaven! This particular variety uses mango, green apple, red cabbage, and carrots.

Use as much or as little of the dressing as you like.

Raw
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8
Prep time: ~20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe mango.
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired.
  • 1 red onion.
  • 2 green apples.
  • 1 large handful fresh mint.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander.
  • 1 lime, juiced.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  • 2/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 cm square, peeled.

 

Cooking Instructions:

To make the dressing, place the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard, and maple syrup into a food processor/blender/use an immersion blender, and blend until combined.

Slowly stream in the olive oil until nicely emulsified. If you don’t feel like doing that, just do it by hand in a bowl.

Set the dressing aside. Slice the mango and the apple into thin strips. Use either a grater or a mandoline to shred the cabbage, red onion, and carrots. Chop the coriander and mint very finely.

Mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl, and add in the lime juice. Pour in the dressing and toss it all together.

Let sit in the fridge for a little while to let all the flavours mingle together, then serve!

Vegan Hot Pot

There are loads of great hot pot restaurants where I live, but you might not be so lucky. If you want to re-create that experience at home, here’s a recipe! If you have a hot plate or something similar that allows you to keep the broth bubbling at the table, then everyone can take turns cooking their ingredients, which is a lot of fun. If, like me, you don’t have a hot plate, just cook it all on the stove. Less fun, but just as tasty.

This is a really quick dish, great for a weeknight.

Prep time: ~30 minutes.
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 package rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 200 grams mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle mushrooms are all nice), stems discarded, with the caps sliced thinly.
  • at least 6 cups vegetable stock, more if you’re doing it at the table.
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce/gluten-free soy sauce.
  • 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated (pro tip – peel your ginger using a small spoon, it makes it super easy!).
  • hot sauce, to taste.
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced.
  • 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 200 grams green beans, cut into ~4 cm pieces.
  • 1 small bunch coriander (also called cilantro), leaves removed from the stalks.
  • 4 small bunches bok choy, leaves removed from the roots.
  • 1 lime

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the sesame oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, soy sauce, hot sauce, and ginger, and stir well. Bring to a boil.

Once the stock is boiling, add the green onions, carrots, and green beans. Turn the heat down, and simmer the vegetables for about 4 minutes. Next, add the rice noodles, the coriander, and the bok choy. Simmer until the noodles are just cooked.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and squeeze a little bit of lime juice over the top of each. Enjoy!