Veggies on the counter

My Favourite Thai-inspired Vegetable Curry

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on July 27, 2015

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Since I last posted a lot of things have happened in my life. The first and most important one was my recent move from Porto to Glasgow. Between preparing and planning all the stuff that involves moving into a different country, I barely had time to cook, let alone blog. However, and now that I’ve been here for a month and got (almost) everything sorted out (housing, burocracy and the likes), I´m happy to resume blogging and do the very best I can to bring you my favourite vegan recipes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how things will naturally change around here (in terms of photography and recipe content as well) since I’m not in my own kitchen and do not have all the kitchen tools I’m used to. This will naturally affect the kind of recipes I’ll be posting from now on – they will be simpler, and since I do not own a food scale, lack the accuracy I’d like them to have. However, I do prefer to face this as a challenge (and one that I’m happy to take) rather than a limitation. I came to Glasgow with a 20 kg suitcase. I brought mostly clothes, one book, my laptop and my camera. I left in Porto all my cookbooks and the boards, plates and cutlery that have helped me build this blog’s photography identity over time. I’m already missing my bedroom’s blue wall, the wall that was the background of most of the food pictures I posted here for the last 5 years. But I’m also a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I was probably getting too comfortable with my own style of doing things, and this an opportunity to question that and try new and fresh approaches.

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So, let’s talk curry today. I didn’t bring any of my cookbooks with me, but if I could only bring one, I’d definitely go with The Millenium Cookbook. Most of the recipes I cooked from this book were outstanding, and a great number of them have become part of my cooking repertoire. That’s the case with this curry. The original recipe is more labour intensive, and in order to make it simpler and faster I omitted some steps, trying not to compromise too much on the flavour. The recipe might still seem a bit of a project though, but I can guarantee you it’s worth making your own curry “base” from scratch, blending the sauce, and so on. In the end, you’ll have a fantastic curry that feeds a crowd and is definitely a crowd pleaser too. If you can’t come across butternut squash this time of the year, use carrots instead (4 or 5 large ones will do) – I’ve done it before and it works just as well. Also feel free to play around with the vegetables – in the past I’ve tried green beans, broccoli and asparagus and all of them have worked nicely. Hope you enjoy the curry and I’ll be back soon! In the meantime, check my instagram feed for food-related pictures and some suburb memorabilia from Glasgow.

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My favourite Thai-inspired Vegetable Curry

Recipe inspired by The Millenium Cookbook

(serves 6, as a main)

*note: I usually use two green chillies with seeds, but I can handle quite a lot of heat. If you’re less tolerable than me, use only one.

For the curry sauce:

2 medium sized onions, chopped

5 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 piece of ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and grated

1 small bunch of coriander

1 teaspoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

zest of 2 limes

juice of 2 ½ limes

2 green chillies, finely chopped* (see note above)

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes

1 can / 400 ml full fat coconut milk

For the curry:

1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 large carrot, peepled and chopped into cubes

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets

1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced

1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, bruised in a mortar and pestle (optional)

1 cup / 250 ml water

250 g / 1 package smoked tofu, cubed

For serving:

3-4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 handful of peanuts, toasted

extra coriander, finely chopped

1-2 limes, cut into quarters

For the curry sauce: In a double boiler, steam about ¾ of the butternut squash for 5 to 8 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. In a high speed blender combine the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, spices (coriander, cumin and turmeric powders), salt, lime zest and juice, chilies and the coconut milk and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. Working in batches, add the cooked butternut squash to the mixture and blitz until creamy.

For the curry: In a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil, the carrot, sweet potato and the remaining ¼ of butternut squash. Sautée for a few minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown. Add the curry sauce followed by the bruised lemongrass stalk (if using) and 1 cup / 250 ml of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes. After that time, add the cauliflower, cabbage and smoked tofu and simmer for 5 minutes longer. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit more water to thin it out to the consistency you like (I like mine to resemble a smooth blended soup). Season with extra salt and serve with the chopped peanuts, scallions, coriander and a good squeeze of lime juice.

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Lentil and Mushroom Salad with Sumac Lemon Dressing

Posted in appetizers, main courses, salads by veggies on the counter on November 21, 2014

00_finalwebWhen the weather starts getting colder, I eat soups and stews for the most part of my meals. However though, salads are still welcomed, as long as they’re heartier and incorporate some cooked elements.This salad makes for a perfect, quick lunch anytime of the week. I’ve made it countless times and sometimes substitute the lentils for whole grains such as barley and bulgur and it tastes delicious as well.

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One thing you should pay attention to when making this dish is not to overcook the lentils. There’s nothing worse than mushy, soft lentils. To avoid this, cook them for no longer than 15 minutes and they’ll be perfect. As far as the dressing goes, sumac is it’s key component, so please don’t skimp on that. I’ve first found out about sumac one or two years ago when I decided to make my own za’atar. It’s a hard to find and reasonably pricy spice here in Portugal (although some speciality stores sell it these days), but you don’t need to use much to feel its tangy and lemon-y flavour. I hope you enjoy the salad and the start of the new season! Have a good weekend :)

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Lentil and Mushroom Salad with Sumac Lemon Dressing

(serves 4, as a starter)

105 g / ½ cup brown lentils, washed, drained and picked through

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

300 g pleurothus mushrooms

50 g / 8 halves oil packed sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

50 gr walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

2 big handfuls / 40 g salad leaves such as rocket, baby spinach, etc.

105 g/ ½ cup (packed) pomegranate seeds

 

for the sumac lemon dressing:

1 ½ tsp. sumac

3 Tbs. lemon juice

60 ml / ¼ cup olive oil

1 small garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper to taste

 

In a small pan over medium-high heat, add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and, once boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for 14-16 minutes or until tender but still al dente. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to the lentils, stir everything, and drain. Add the lentils to a large bowl and reserve.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the mushrooms and garlic cloves and cook for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Add a pinch of salt and pepper as soon as they’re cooked, remove the garlic, and add them to the bowl with the lentils.

Add the sundried tomatoes, walnuts, salad leaves and pomegranate seeds to the bowl with the lentils and mushrooms and toss everything together gently.

For the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar. Cover the jar with the lid and agitate vigorously until everything’s combined. Pour the dressing over the salad (not all of it – 3 to 4 tablespoons should be enough) and serve immediately.

 

Tempeh Lemon Curry

Posted in main courses, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on August 3, 2014

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I know I haven’t been around for a while but, hey!, I’m still here, and today we’ll talk curry. I realize this is the first curry recipe I write about on the blog, and to be honest I don’t know how that happened because it’s the kind of dish I cook often. I know there are a lot of vegetable curry recipes on the internet and that you probably don’t need another one, but I’ve made this curry countless times and think it’s a good one to have on your repertoire.

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The variations in here could be endless. I’ve made it before with spinach in place of the cabbage and it turned out good, but I prefer to use the latter mainly because of the texture it brings to the whole thing. A word on tempeh: it’s well known that steaming tempeh for 15 minutes before actually cooking with it, removes its bitterness. To be honest, I don’t mind the bitterness and I think it goes practically unnoticed in here, camouflaged by the bold flavours of all the spices and the lemon. Having said this, if you want to steam it first (or even sub it for tofu), go ahead.

Enjoy the curry, have a great summer (guess what: here in Portugal has been raining) and I promise to come back soon! (:

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Tempeh Lemon Curry

(serves 4)

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground coriander seeds, roughly pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 tsp. mustard seeds, roughly pounded

1 tsp. caraway seeds, roughly pounded

2 medium carrots, cut into cubes

1 Tbs. fresh ginger

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 large zucchini, cut into half moons

1 cup / 250 ml coconut milk

4 cups shredded cabbage

250 gr tempeh, cut into cubes

½ teaspoon

1 tsp. rice syrup

2 Tbs. mirin

zest of one lemon

1 handful toasted cashews, coarsely chopped

1 handful fresh mint, coarsely chopped

juice of ½ lemon

In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onion, garlic cloves and coriander, mustard and caraway seeds. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onion has softened and the spices have toasted a bit and smell fragrant.

Add the carrots, fresh ginger, turmeric, chilli and zucchini to the pan. Give everything a good stir and add the coconut milk. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the tempeh cubes and fry until golden brown. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the tempeh with a pinch of salt and add it to the pan with the vegetables.

Now, add the cabbage to the pan as well, pressing it gently with the back of an wooden spoon so that it’s covered by the coconut milk. If, at this point, the curry looks as if it hasn’t enough liquid, add up to 1/3 cup of it, but keep in mind the cabbage will release a lot of water too. Cover the pan and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted. Add the salt, rice syrup, mirin and lemon zest. Stir everything together and finish off with the lemon juice, toasted cashews and mint.

Recipe adapted from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley, published by William Morrow Cookbooks, 2008