Category Archives: Asian

Thai Curry Burrito Bowl with Sweet and Spicy Tofu

I like burritos. But I love what’s inside burritos more. Sometimes I feel like the flour tortilla just stands in the way between me and whatever loveliness is inside the tortilla. That’s usually why I eat my burritos bowl-style.

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0202-2

This burrito bowl is a simple Thai twist on a regular Mexican burrito. Fresh carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions and Thai chili peppers sit on top of ginger-infused jasmine rice and sweet and spicy tofu. It’s all coated in a sweet, tangy and slightly spicy peanuty-Massaman Curry sauce.

One thing I love about bowls is the ability to change it up if you change your mind after mixing everything together. Not spicy enough? Add more Thai chilis. Want more tang? (heh) Squeeze a shot of lime on it. Ya can’t do this when it’s all wrapped up in a tortilla. I’m not decisive enough to use a tortilla for a build-it-yourself-burrito.

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0149-3

Though it’s packed with a bunch of good stuff, this bowl is easy to make. The only “active” cooking is the sauce and the tofu. I should also note that the amazing sauce and tofu are Neal’s creation. Not mine….the Thai in the house. Riddle me that.

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0161-5

Thai Curry Burrito Bowl

Ingredients (2 servings)

Rice

  •  2 1/4 cup of dry uncooked jasmine rice
  •  about 3.5 cups of stock (or water)
  • 2 inch sized nub of ginger, peeled and minced

Sauce

  • One 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tbs Massaman curry paste (make sure to find a vegan paste as some have shrimp paste and/or fish sauce/paste. I use the Bright brand)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 3/4 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • salt

Tofu

  • One pack of firm tofu, drained, pressed (for at least 10 minutes) and cubed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • oil
  • dried red chili pepper flakes

Accompaniments

  • julienned carrots
  • bean sprouts
  • cucumber, cubed
  • cilantro
  • sliced green onions
  • fresh Thai chili peppers
  • fresh lime slices

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0186-6

Directions

Rinse out the rice a couple of times with water and then throw all the rice ingredients in a rice maker and set it to cook. You can also use the stove top, though you may have to adjust the amount of liquid. Moving on to the sauce. In a small cup dissolve the curry paste in about 2-3 tbs of coconut milk. Now place the coconut milk, peanut butter and dissolved curry paste in a pot on medium heat and stir. Once the peanut butter has mostly broken down, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and let simmer for ~10 minutes.

Place the tofu in a pan with a tablespoon or so of oil on medium high heat. Toss in the sugar and chili peppers to coat the tofu. Let the tofu sit for a couple of minutes on each side until they turn a crispy golden brown on the outside.

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0210-7Put everything in a bowl however you like. I started with rice, then added tofu and the rest of the accompaniments. I used more sauce in my bowl than what is pictured here and also added a splash of lime juice.

Thai-Burrito-Bowl-0214-8

What’s your style? Burritos in tortillas or burritos in a bowl?

Advertisements

Adding Stinky Durian to my List of Favorite Food Oddities

durian sticky rice

Durian. It’s native to southeast Asia and often called the “King of Fruits”. Because of its size? Its pungent odor? Or is it because its thorny outside resembles the spikes of a king’s crown?

durian_cc-2-1

photo by Hans A. Rosbach

Regardless of where it got its nickname, it’s a pretty polarizing fruit. Much like natto, it seems like people either love it or hate it. While researching the fruit for this post I found everything from an “I love Durian” facebook page to numerous bloggers dedicating posts to their nemesis, the durian.

I always assumed that durian would be one of those things that I would just never try. The extreme reactions I would often see people have when they ate durian petrified me. Case in point, this guy’s reaction.  Plus, I remember being horrified by the smell as a child.

durian_cc-6-2

photo by Hans A. Rosbach

But one day Neal brought home sweet sticky rice from the Asian market. It had this tiny schmear of yellowish stuff on top that I thought was mango so I just ate it —- hold up, this ain’t mango! I sniffed it. Yup, that’s gotta be durian. But wait, I wasn’t throwing up or retching. Could I like this stuff? It was hard to tell because there was only the tiniest bit.

Thus began the quest to find durian in Atlanta. I didn’t find fresh durian at my normal Asian store haunts but I did find it frozen. I let it thaw in my fridge overnight and the next day I gave it a go.

frozen durian

THE TASTE

ME: It tastes like a wonderfully sweet custard.

NEAL: I only tried a tiny bit, but it was not good. I immediately wanted to spit out the sweet, rotten-tasting, onion-y mush swimming around my mouth.

THE SMELL

ME: It has a strong pungent smell. It smells like durian. I like the smell. I don’t get the onions or stinky feet thing at all that people use to describe the smell.

NEAL: It smells kind of like decaying food compost. Throw in a bit of stinky feet and body odor and you’re getting close. The smell lingers…

THE TEXTURE

ME: Custard, custard, custard!…with a little stringiness. It melts in my mouth.

NEAL: It’s soft and squishy. Like a moldy peach sitting in it’s own oozy juices.

THE APPEARANCE

ME: They look like yellow alien pods. Or big yellow larvae.

NEAL: Inside the durian, it looks like a little jaundiced baby alien fetus. It’s yellow. No thanks.

THE VERDICT

ME: I would eat this all day, errday if I could! (Can’t. This pack was $9.) I would love to find this fresh or whole. It’s just soooo good. I love it so hard! In fact, I want some right now.

NEAL: I might try this again perhaps in the distant future. When my tastebuds have disintegrated.

The King of Fruits polarizes again. It’s almost as if it changes the way it tastes for different people. Maybe it should be called magical fruit. Or tranformers fruit…more than meets the eye.

Nutritionally, durian is rich in vitamin C and B-complex, potassium and also has a high amount of tryptophan. Perhaps that explains my giddiness when I eat it?durian

If you decide to try durian (or perhaps you’re already a fan? maybe you’re the person who started the durian facebook page?)…know that it is perfectly decadent on its own. But it also pairs wonderfully with sweet coconut sticky rice.

durian with sticky rice

For this sweet sticky rice I loosely followed the recipe from Spice Island Vegan. Then I just piled on the duriany goodness.durian with sticky rice

Have you had durian before? If so, what do you think of it? If not, do you think you’ll try some?

Veganizing and Noodle-izing My Ma’s Thai Larb

thailarb-9408-1

Recently I saw an episode of the ever so classy Diners, Drive Ins and Dives where Guy visited a dive that made all these amazing Thai dishes including larb! Larb (also known as laap, laab, larp or lahb) is a traditional Thai dish that originated in Laos. I fondly remember eating my ma’s version as a youngin’. The larb I ate growing up was made with pork pig. The meat made up a majority of the dish. But when I saw Guy stuffing his face with it, I had a huge nostalgic craving for the rich spicy, tangy and briny flavor combination of my ma’s larb. So I made it vegan (and easy) style!

thailarb-9352-8

To replace the pig, I used a combination of chopped oyster mushrooms and small veggie soy protein chunks that I get at my local Asian market. My ma served her larb with rice and fresh cold and crunchy veggies on the side, like cucumbers and lettuce to help alleviate the spicy heat.

I decided to pair the rich soy protein and mushroom mixture with a wheat based Asian vermicelli noodle and the cucumbers. Rice vermicelli would also work. Or go gluten free and serve it in lettuce cups.

thailarb-9222-2

There are different components to this salad and when I put it all together, I like to have some of these components at different temperatures. Traditionally it’s all eaten at room temperature. But I like it when there are a whole bunch of contrasty things going on. Tender warm mushroom/soy protein (“pork”) contrasted against cold, crisp cucumbers, fresh cilantro and thin slices of red onion. All of it soaked in a spicy, tangy-lime “fish” sauce!

thailarb-9235-3

Thai Larb Noodle Salad

Ingredients

This makes about 4-6 servings.  It was a lot for the two of us.

“Pork” Mixture

  • 2 cups soy protein chunks
  • 2 cups chopped oyster mushroom
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs finely chopped lemongrass (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Sauce

  • 3/4 cup of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
  • 7 tbs lime juice
  • 4 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • thin slices of fresh Thai peppers (optional if ya like it extra spicy!)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Accompaniments

  • a large handful of vermicelli noodles (cooked according to package)
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh lime slices (for garnish and extra tang)
  • (edited to add that Thai Basil and mint are also great add ins, not included here)

thailarb-9181-4

Directions

Soak the soy protein in water or broth for about 20-30 minutes until softened and then drain (different brands/packages of soy protein may require different soaking times). Throw the garlic, lemongrass, soy protein and mushrooms in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or so, until mushrooms are tender and cooked. There should not be much, if any, liquid in the pan. Season the mushroom/protein mix with salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1-2 tsp of each. Set aside so it cools. I like it warm, but not pipin’ hot. While that is cooling, make the sauce.

thailarb-9325-5

For the sauce, whisk together the Bragg’s, Sriracha, lime juice, maple syrup, and Thai peppers. Reserve 3/4 cup of the sauce for later. Add the remaining sauce to the mushroom/protein mixture and stir thoroughly. Also stir in most of the sliced red onions, reserving a few for garnish later.

Now it’s assembly time. Start with a layer of noodles. If the noodles have gotten clumpy or sticky just run them under cool water to rejuvenate them and drain. Then add a fresh layer of cucumbers. Next add a generous layer of “pork”, a handful of cilantro and few slices of fresh red onion. Serve with the extra sauce and several slices of lime.

thailarb-9446-7

It’s up to you if you wanna add more sauce to your individual bowl. Neal likes things extra saucy which is why I had the “reserve” for him. After assembling my bowl I like to drizzle just a lil’ more sauce on top, squeeze the fresh lime slice all over and give it all a good stir!

thailarb-9401-6

This would be a great “make it yerself” type of meal for guests if all the components were put out buffet-style to be assembled. That way, each bowl can be custom made. The Thai peppers can also be omitted from the sauce and served in a separate bowl for those who like to cry and sniffle when they eat like my ma. Love ya ma!

This and That Red Curry

I’ve gotten in the habit of jotting down notes when I’m making food a mess in the kitchen. Neal doesn’t, yet he does about half the cooking in the house. One night he threw together this kick-ass red curry. So I asked him–what’d ya put in it? He just shrugged and said–this and that. This is our (mostly joking) email exchange in which I try to get some coherent recipe out of him.FakeCurry _Snapseed

Me:

How would you like an exciting opportunity to collaborate with an up and coming vegan blog? If so, read on and follow the directions…Can you type up the recipe for your curry that you made the other day before you forget? Rough estimates of quantities and measurements are fine.

Thanks,

Luminous Vegans

Him:

I would love this opportunity. Thank you. Please let me know at your earliest convenience if this will suffice:

First, quarter your red potatoes and boil them. Dice up red bell pepper, carrots and two cloves of garlic. Chop up the kale leaves. Then, saute the veggies and garlic for a few minutes with a tbsp of sugar before adding a can of coconut cream and some bamboo shoots. Also, at this time, add a tbsp of red curry paste. I like to smash and swirl the curry paste in a quarter cup of vegetable broth so it’s already broken up before getting lost in the sauce. Also add two tbsp of Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce.  Squeeze half a lime into the sauce and cut up the rest of the lime for garnish. Simmer all of this for 20-30 minutes.

Kind Regards,

Neal

Me:

Thank you so much for your prompt response! We will be working hard to get this recipe out to readers.   We look forward to working with you more in the future.

Oh, but for realsies….HOW MANY potatoes, red bell pepper, carrots, kale? Estimates are fine.

Him:

M’am, with all due respects, your email was extremely pushy.

FOUR $$$$$$ red potatoes

ONE $$$$$$$ red bell pepper

EIGHT POINT FIVE $ baby carrots

FOUR kales

just estimates.

I’m not sure what the $$$$$$$$ means. I guess ya gotta get blinged out produce for this curry.  In case that wasn’t clear, the recipe is below.

IMG_6596 _Snapseed

This and That Red Curry

Ingredients

These are estimates says the man!

  • 4 quartered red potatoes (or whatever potatoes you have on hand)
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 8 chopped baby carrots
  • 4 stalks of chopped kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • a smidge of preferred sautéing oil
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste (EDIT: found out from Neal later that it wasn’t actually red curry, but Massamam Curry paste that he used. I think that any curry paste would work well though)
  • 1/4 cup of veggie broth
  • 14 oz can of coconut cream
  • 14 oz can of bamboo shoots (use as much or as little as desired. He used about 1/2)
  • 2tbs of Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 lime

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes until slightly tender (about 8 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Sautee the bell peppers, bell peppers, carrots, kale and garlic with the oil and sugar for a few minutes in a large pot or pan.
  3. While that is sautéing, dissolve the red curry paste into the veggie broth in a small cup or bowl.
  4. Now add the coconut cream, bamboo shoots, cooked potatoes, curry paste +veggie broth mixture and Bragg’s to the sautéing veggies.
  5. Squeeze in juice from half of the lime. Stir and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

This curry is sweet and creamy with a slight kick of curry heat. We ate it with jasmine rice and squeezed a slice of lime over our individual dishes. The tanginess of the lime is a nice contrast to the other rich flavors. It made about 2-3 servings when served with rice.

One order of hot and sour please, no egg

N came home the other day from the store really excited about something he bought. You want to know what he was excited about? Cabbage. That’s right. Cabbage. He bought a huge head of local cabbage for only 60 cents. It was a beauty, but that cabbage sat in the fridge for a couple of days untouched because I had no inspiration to make a dish with cabbage. That is, until I found veganyumyum’s recipe for hot and sour soup.

I present to you The Cabbage.

We stuck to the original recipe pretty closely, however, we added shreds of this vegan seaweed fish that we picked up at the Asian market

along with some sliced shiitake mushrooms.

The soup turned out PERFECT!  It tasted just like hot and sour soup you would order at a restaurant but it was like 100 a million times better! The soup was just the perfect thing to end a long day with and it was just as good reheated at work the next day.

Mouth-watering Korean tacos with cabbage slaw

Vegan Korean tacos are something we’ve eaten before at restaurants but never tried to make at home. This was N’s first attempt and they were amazing! As usual with our quick meals, nothing was really measured, so these are approximations.

First, the tofu (about 2 boxes of that extra firm Nasoya tofu) was marinated (for 10-15 minutes…marinate longer if you have more time) in a mixture of:

– about a tbsp or two each of thin sauce, sweet chili sauce, and rice vinegar in a bowl

– juice of half a lime

– and an inch of finely grated ginger

Then N stir fried the tofu until they brownified (his words, not mine).  It was very saucy…saucy is a good thing.

While the tofu was cooking, N cut up some red cabbage in thin strips and drowned them in a mixture of:  1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos and 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce.  N also made a taco sauce to go with it by mixing 3 parts ketchup to one part Sriracha sauce and a splash of thin sauce.

We used soft tacos.  The best way to prepare soft tacos are to wrap them in a moist towel and pop them in the microwave for a spell.  The last step was to assemble them.  We garnished them with cilantro and scallions and served it with a wedge of lime and some fresh avocado slices. Yum, east meets west (Korea meets Mexico)!

The whole deal only took about 30 minutes. The next day at work I had leftovers minus the taco wrap.  N just packed it in my lunch as one big open Korean taco salad and it was the kind of yum that makes you *sigh*.