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.

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Mulligatawny

An English soup, based off of an old Indian recipe. The name comes from the Tamil words “Milaku”, meaning pepper, and “Tannir”, meaning water.

This soup often has rice in it, but I personally prefer to use red lentils – they add a nice colour to the soup, and they’re chock full of nutrients!

You can puree this soup if desired, but I personally prefer to leave it as is.

Prep time: ~60 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil.
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin strips.
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced.
  • 1 zucchini, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/minced.
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely diced (or grated).
  • 2 small apples, peeled if desired, cubed.
  • 1 can tomatoes.
  • 2 tsp curry powder.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers (or to taste).
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (uncooked).
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (you may want more).
  • 1 can coconut milk.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander, to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

 Place a large pot on medium heat, and add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, zucchini, and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onions become soft and translucent. Next, add the ginger and the apples. Stir well, and cook for a few more minutes.
Dump in the tomatoes, along with all of your spices. Stir well, making sure the spices have been mixed throughout evenly. Now add in the lentils and your vegetable stock.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. When the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are soft, stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, then serve piping hot, with a sprig of fresh coriander on top.

Black Bean Stew

Very loosely inspired by an incredible Brazilian dish called Feijoada. This is a very filling, hearty stew full of protein!

This recipe also contains a bonus recipe for pico de gallo! You can use it on tacos, in burritos, or even just serve it up with some tortilla chips. Super yummy and fresh.

Serves 4-6
Gluten-free
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 bell peppers (use whatever colours you like best), chopped into approx. 2 cm chunks.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • 2 red onions, roughly diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 cans black beans (not drained and rinsed, for once!)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves (also called cilantro), finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced.
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, finely diced.
  • 1-2 serrano peppers (if you can’t find them, use jalapenos instead), finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (zest is optional, but I like it!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Cooking Instructions:

For the stew:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss your peppers with a generous amount of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the paprika. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they’re nice and soft.

While the peppers are in the oven, it’s time to start on the rest of the stew. Heat a large pan on medium-low heat with about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, toss in your onions and garlic, along with a good pinch of salt.

Cover with the lid and cook them, stirring often, until the onions are soft and nicely caramelized. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Add in the beans, vegetable stock, coriander, and cumin. Stir well to combine.

When the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and plop them straight into the stew. Stir them in, then toss in your coriander leaves. Allow the stew to simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the flavours are nicely mingled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve piping hot!

You can also serve this stew on top of rice, if desired.

For the pico de gallo:

The amount of peppers you use will really depend on your spice tolerance. Start off with a little bit, then add more if it’s not spicy enough for you.

Toss the onion, tomatoes, and peppers into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, and coriander leaves. Mix well until everything is nicely coated in lime juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.

You can serve this immediately, but I like to pop it in the fridge for a while to let the flavours mingle better. It gets a bit spicier if you leave it for a little while, so keep that in mind when you make it!

For this dish, I’d serve it immediately. Just place a nice little spoonful on top of the stew when you’re about to take it to the table!

Fasouliah b’zeit

Also called Loubyeh b’zeit, this is a Lebanese dish. It consists of stewed green beans in a deliciously garlicky tomato sauce, served over rice. This is a friend’s recipe, with his little tips and tricks to make it the way he likes.

This also includes a bonus recipe for Adha – garlic toasted in olive oil. Super yummy, and a staple in many Middle-Eastern (particularly Palestinian) dishes.

Prep time: ~40 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced/crushed.
  • 500 grams green beans (fresh or frozen).
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes, sliced thinly, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 tsp Baharat (see recipe on this blog!)
  • hot sauce or dried chili flakes, if desired, to taste.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1 1/2 cups rice.

For the Adha:

  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced fairly thinly.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.

 

Cooking Instructions:

Place a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt – this will help draw the moisture out of the onion and allow it to caramelize slightly.

Cook, stirring often, until the onion has just started to caramelize, then add in the green beans and tomatoes. Stir well to combine, and bring to a bubble.

While the stew is cooking, make some rice, about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup per person.

Once the stew is bubbling, add in the Baharat and hot sauce/chili flakes, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for as long as you like, but at least 20 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Taste just before serving, and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Just before serving, time to make the toasted garlic.

Make sure the garlic isn’t sliced too thinly, or it will burn, but also not too thickly, because then the middle won’t cook properly. Heat a small (very small) frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in it. Add in the garlic slices.

Fry, stirring frequently, until the garlic turns yellow. Take it off the heat, and allow the residual heat to finish cooking the garlic, until it’s a nice golden colour.

Pour it into the stew (or the rice, if you prefer). If you’re feeling fancy, remove the garlic from the oil and use it as a garnish on top instead of mixing it in with the rest.

Scoop a nice amount of rice into the bottom of a bowl, then top with the stew. Enjoy!

 

Cannellini beans in Stewed Tomatoes

A light main course on its own, easily made a little more substantial by serving it on pasta, rice, or any grain of your choosing. I like a piece of bread to soak up what’s left of the sauce when I’m done.

If you don’t drink alcohol, replace the wine with a small cup of vegetable stock with a splash of apple cider or balsamic vinegar mixed in.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (if fresh tomatoes aren’t in season), roughly chopped, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 small glass white wine.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 shallots, finely diced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small bunch sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage).
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary).
  • dash of hot sauce or pinch of dried chili flakes, if desired.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a medium saucepan or deep frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in the bottom. Once the oil is hot, toss in the garlic and shallot. Stir frequently, until the garlic begins to toast slightly. Don’t let the garlic burn – it will make the dish taste bitter, which you don’t want!

Next, add the tomatoes and the herbs. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture starts to bubble. Add your beans, then reduce the heat slightly, and allow to simmer, reducing down to a thick stew-like consistency.

Serve hot. This dish is also nice when eaten cold as leftovers the next day.

Molokhia

Another Middle-Eastern dish. Spelled many ways (Mulukhiya, molohiya, etc),  it’s basically the leaves of the Corchorus plant, also called Jute leaves. You can find it at Middle-Eastern markets, and possibly in the more adventurous supermarkets. Don’t count on it, though.

It tastes rather similar to spinach, so if you can’t find molokhia anywhere, frozen spinach can be a suitable substitute.

Prep time: ~25 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen molokhia (or spinach)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, with half set aside.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • 2 cups long-grain rice (white or brown).

Cooking Instructions:

First, get your rice going. Rice cookers are amazing, but if you don’t have one, just follow the directions on your rice. Different varieties of rice need more or less water, after all.

Next, place the oil in a small frying pan and heat it on medium heat. We’re going to toast off half the garlic to make the dish very aromatic.

Place the rest of the garlic, the frozen molokhia, and the stock in a pot on the stove on medium heat as well. You want to thaw the molokhia in the stock, that way it takes on more flavor.

When the oil is hot, add your garlic. Be careful, the oil might splash you, so keep your fingers back! Stir it frequently, making sure it’s nicely toasted and golden brown on all sides. When it’s toasted, take it off the heat.

Once the molokhia is thawed and starting to boil, add the toasted garlic along with the oil in the pan. Stir well, and let bubble for a few minutes. Serve the molokhia on top of a bed of rice, and enjoy!

 

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine

Tagines are wonderful. They’re a North African stew, named after the kind of pot you cook them in. I don’t own one, but my parents do, so here’s a picture of theirs:

Tagine dish

Very pretty, right?

If you don’t have a tagine pot, don’t run out and buy one unless you really want to. You can just as easily make this dish using a large pot!

This dish is traditionally served with couscous, but if you can’t eat gluten, use quinoa or buckwheat instead. If you don’t drink, use some vegetable stock and a splash of vinegar to imitate the effect the wine will have on the dish.

Prep time: ~70 minutes
Gluten-free (if serving without couscous)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • ~350 g small potatoes, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bulb of fennel, trimmed, and sliced into chunks.
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled if desired, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), seeds removed and cut into chunks.
  • 1 large onion (red onion is best), cut into chunks.
  • 4 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins.
  • 1 cup red wine.
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 large cinnamon stick.
  • Slivered almonds to garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400ºF (approx 200ºC). Place the potatoes, fennel, carrot, bell pepper, and onion in a large roasting tray (lined with foil if you want easy cleanup) with 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the cumin, coriander, and fennel. Season with salt and pepper, then toss everything well until the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, stirring twice to make sure they cook evenly, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the last 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, raisins, chickpeas, wine, orange zest and juice, wine, and the cinnamon stick. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pot and stir well. Bring the tagine back to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

While the tagine is simmering, it’s the perfect time to roast off some slivered almonds and prepare some couscous. Place a small frying pan on low heat and add your slivered almonds. Toast them, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning, until they’re a nice golden colour. For the couscous, your best bet is probably to follow the directions on the package. I do recommend adding a little salt and olive oil to the water for a little seasoning, though!

Serve the tagine on top of a bed of couscous (or couscous substitute), and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top. Enjoy!

Ratatouille

The famous French dish that an adorable movie was named for. While not as pretty-looking as the dish served in said movie, this dish sure is delicious, and very healthy! If tomatoes aren’t in season, use a can of whole tomatoes. A combination of my parents’ recipes, adjusted to my personal preferences. Another one-pot meal, so easy cleanup!

Delicious served on its own, or over pasta or rice, if you want to make it a little more substantial. I’ll also toss in a can of cooked chickpeas sometimes if I want a little more protein (rinse the chickpeas well, and add them in at the same time as the tomatoes). This dish is just as good the next day as leftovers!

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly diced.
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 bell pepper, seeds removed, roughly diced.
  • 1 small eggplant (Chinese or Italian, both kinds work well), sliced into small pieces.
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half-moons.
  • 1 can whole plain tomatoes, or ~6 ripe tomatoes, chopped.
  • 1 handful herbs (basil, oregano, herbes de provence, thyme, and rosemary are all nice).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Add the onion, saute for two minutes, and then add the garlic. Cook until onion is soft and translucent, then add the bell pepper, and continue cooking for 3 minutes.

Next, add the eggplant. When the eggplant begins to soften, add the zucchini, and once that starts to become tender, add the tomatoes and the herbs.

Once it comes to a bubble, reduce the heat, add your salt and pepper, and allow to simmer until everything is tender and the flavors have mingled nicely. 

Chili

A recipe I made up all on my own, after growing up on meat chili most of my life, and wanting a meatless alternative full of nutrition and flavor. I’m a huge fan of one pot cooking, since I hate doing dishes, and this recipe is very kind to all who don’t like washing dishes! If you prefer kidney beans or any other kinds of bean to black beans, go ahead and substitute them. I personally recommend using a can of whole tomatoes instead of buying a can of pre-crushed or diced tomatoes, simply because I find there’s more juice in the whole tomatoes, which makes the chili taste better. And yes, there is cinnamon in this. My family’s always done it that way.

Great served alone, with rice, or with tortilla chips. You can even put it on nachos, or in a tortilla with some fresh tomatoes and lettuce for a burrito!

Prep Time: ~30 min
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 medium onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 bell pepper, diced.
  • 1 jalapeno, diced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, reserve the juice.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 2 tsp chili powder.
  • ½ tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté everything until the onion is soft and translucent.

Next, add the bell pepper and the jalapeno, and continue cooking, stirring frequently.

Add the spices, then the tomatoes and the beans, and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, the longer the better.

Hearty Vegetable Stew

A stew I adapted from one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes. Very filling, great for fall or winter. If you don’t drink alcohol, skip on the wine, and instead add a little extra stock, maybe a splash of white wine vinegar to replicate the flavor the wine would add.

Prep Time: ~1 hour
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 leek or 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • A pinch of thyme.
  • 3 large potatoes, cut into roughly bite-sized pieces.
  • 3 carrots, chopped.
  • 2 parsnips, chopped.
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into roughly bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 cups vegetable stock/water.
  • ½ cup white wine (optional).
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the onion/leek. When soft, add the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, and allow to cook until fragrant.

Next, add the potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and parsnips. Cook, covered, until they start to soften. Then add the tomato paste, stock, and wine. Bring to a bubble, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and the stew is thick.

Serve piping hot. Great with a nice thick slice of bread to soak up the sauce when you’ve emptied your bowl.