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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Beancurd and Veggie Congee

Beancurd, congee

Congee is something that I've recently had the chance to taste. I had never had it before but after some recommendation (from the same colleague who recommended Dehli-O-Deli) I decided to try it out at Yamamori Oriental Cafe in Dublin. I ordered the Mushroom (oyster mushroom) Congee soup. While it was quite nice and the mushrooms really complemented very well, I didn't like the amount of oil they had put in this soup. In fact, it was the oil in which the mushrooms were fried that was draining into the soup. There was the option for boiled mushrooms; I should have gone for that one instead. I'm sure a lot of people would have liked the fried version but for my taste I would have found it far tastier without the oil. Oil patches floating on soup is quite a turn off for me. But I did like this soup and have been thinking of re-creating it (minus so much oil) at home.

After I googled for a few congee recipes, I found that it was very easy to make at home. Most congee recipes online are not vegan though but this is so easy to veganise, infact I don't think it needs any recipe as it is very versatile. But I've written it down if you wanted to try this.

Congee, in many Asian countries, is eaten quite differently. While some eat it like a savoury porridge for breakfast, others have it as a replacement for rice dishes.
We had this for dinner as a soup and it was very satisfying. It was a soothing meal, easy to digest. The only thing is that the first time, I made far too much and we had this 3 days in a row! Rice cooked as a soup yields much more that boiled to be eaten as such. So, initially I've put the same amount of rice as I would have if we were to have this as rice dish with curry. I've adjusted the quantity in the recipe though.

I chose to use beancurd in this recipe. I usually buy beancurd as dried sheets or strips (in the Asian market). Beancurd, also known as tofu skin, is a film that forms on the surface of the liquid while making tofu. It is then collected and dried into yellowish sheets.
I break it into pieces before soaking. Beancurd also is quite nice in curries.

Beancurd, congee

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

8 cups water
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cube Kallo yeast free vegetable stock
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, grated
3/4 cup oat milk

1/2 cup dried beancurd sheets, broken into pieces
1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets
5-6 shitake mushrooms
1 carrot, diced or sliced
2 bunch pak choi greens, sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Soy sauce, when serving (optional)

  • To prepare beancurd, soak them in hot water. Set aside until needed.

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large thick bottom pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soup has a creamy consistency, stirring occasionally. You can also lightly mash the rice. 
  • Stir in the oatmilk. 
  • Remove from heat, keep warm.

While rice is cooking, in another pan you can prepare the vegetables.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a non-stick pan, add broccoli and mushrooms, sautée for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add carrots, sautée for another 2-3 minutes. Remove, set aside. (I like my veggies crunchy and half cooked, adjust cooking time to your liking).
  • Sautée pak choi for 30 seconds in the same pan (add a little oil, if required). Remove, set aside.

  • Drain beancurd.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the same pan, add beancurd and 1/2 teasponn salt and stir fry for about 10 minutes, or until it is soft and less rubbery.

Beancurd, congee

  • Mix the beancurd into the rice soup. 
  • Add in the vegetables just before serving. (If you are making this for more than 1 meal, I recommend keeping the vegetables seperate to be added into the bowl just before eating.)

  • Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls; arrange vegetables and pak choi, drizzle with soy sauce, if desired.

Beancurd, congee

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Savoury Love Bread Pudding

Savoury bread pudding

Savoury bread pudding is something that has been lingering in my mind for a while now. I finally decided to give it a go this weekend. I picked up these cute little heart-shaped ramekins in Tesco's the other day and was still deciding what to bake in them. Not that I didn't have any ideas, I had too many and couldn't decide! Well, I went for the savoury bread pudding since I had some stale homemade bread that I was going to use in bread pudding anyway.

This is an easy recipe and it turned out well. Both Boyfriendlovlie and I really liked this. The good things is that it can be made virtually fat-free if you omit the margarine as topping at the end. I didn't put any in the pudding itself.

So, this could be nice as a starter or if made a slightly bigger portion, it can be a main. Having said that though, these were quite filling just that ramekin size.

Ingredients (serves 2)

75g (more or less) stale bread (should make up 1 cup (200ml) when soaked)
Oatmilk (enough to soak the bread)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Salt to taste
Margarine (optional)

3 - 4 mushrooms, sliced
Handful of spinach leaves

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Cut bread into slices or small pieces. Cover with oatmilk and leave to soak.
    Then mash the bread when well soaked. The mixture shouldn't be too runny. It should look like a thick porridge.

Savoury bread pudding

  • Then, add in the nutritional yeast and cornstarch. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Grease 2 ramekins. Place some of this mixture into the ramekins. Fill them up to 1/3.

Savoury bread pudding

  • Then layer the mushrooms.

Savoury bread pudding

  • Add a layer of bread mixture followed by a layer of spinach leaves.

Savoury bread pudding

  • Finally cover with another layer of bread mixture. Add a teaspoon of vegan margarine on top of each ramekin (this is optional, otherwise the pudding is virtually fat-free).

Savoury bread pudding

  • Bake for 45 minutes.

You can serve in the ramekins or demould. If you want to demould, run a knife around the edge to loosen the pudding, then gently turn over and tap down on a plate.

Savoury bread pudding

They went really well with some rocket leaf salad. And for a hot and spicy touch, sprinkle with some hot dried chilli and herbs. Enjoy!

Savoury bread pudding

Savoury bread pudding

Psst... don't forget to make love afterward! :)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Green Beans Wrapped In Courgette Ribbons with Pesto

courgettes, green beans and pesto

Here's a quick and nice way to dress up some plain steamed veggies. I've used some courgettes sliced thinly into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
Drizzle with a tiny bit of oil and toss them lightly in a pan on medium heat for no more than 10 seconds; just enough to soften them, so they are slightly more 'rollable'.

courgettes, green beans and pesto

Take some green beans, trim the ends and steam until tender but still crunchy. Usually only takes a minute or two. Alternative you can blanch them for 15 seconds in boiling water, or just have them raw.

Then, gather 4 - 5 beans and wrap a courgette ribbon around. Lay on a serving plate and drizzle with some pesto. Here's a pesto recipe I made just recently.

courgettes, green beans and pesto

Green, crunchy, quick and tasty!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dehli-O-Deli, A Restaurant Review

Dehli-O-Deli is a vegetarian restaurant (with a good selection of vegan dishes on the menu) which quite recently opened in Moore Street in Dublin.
I had not yet paid a visit until a few weeks ago. Infact, a colleague had recommended the place and as we were passing by the area, Boyfriendlovlie and I decided to go in.
Inside is quite simple and staff are very friendly. The first good thing was the prices which are really cheap for a good size portion.

Since it was our first time there, we didn't quite know what to expect, so we just ordered a starter each and a main course with a drink.

Boyfriendlovlie had a samoosa. There is a samoosa under this, I swear! And it was tasty.

Dehli-o-Deli, samoosa

I had some mixed pakoras with chutney and tamarind dipping sauce. These were nice and filling.

Dehli-o-Deli, pakoras

However, we didn't like the masala lemonade. Very weird combination of spices with lemonade. That's going to be a big NO next time. I don't know whether there would be someone who would actually like this drink. I am cringing at the thought of it again! My orange-cranberry juice was alright though.

Dehli-o-Deli, lemonade

For main, I ordered masala dosa. It was huge! Didn't fit on the plate.

Dehli-o-Deli, masala dosa

I would have liked a different filling instead of potatoes and I would have liked it to be a touch spicier.

Dehli-o-Deli, masala dosa

Boyfriendlovlie had black chickpea curry with puffed naan bread. I really liked the naan bread and they went very well with the chickpeas which were nice too.

Dehli-o-Deli, chickpea

By the time we finished our starter and main, we were both full. So, I took some jalebis as a take away dessert to have later. They were excellent! Jalebis are my favourite indian sweets so I couldn't miss the chance of getting some since I don't actually make them at home.

Dehli-o-Deli, jalebis

In general, all dishes were a bit bland but they did taste nice. I would go back there from time to time as it's a convenient place, friendly staff and a good price for a simple lunch or early dinner.

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