Thai Food, Veggie mains

Tofu pad prik sod

Another vegan stir-fried tofu dish made with fresh chillies. It doesn’t need to be that spicy if you use large chillies which are mild and sweet when cooked..

I cubed a 275g block of tofu and then shallow fried it until golden. I then put this to one side and stir-fried a sliced medium-sized red onion until it began to soften. I then added 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic, 3 large sliced red chillers, 3 bird’s eye chillies (optional) and 200g of  Enoki mushrooms and a couple of sticks of celery, cut into chunks, you can use a handful of green beans instead. I stir-fried this for a couple of minutes then added a splash of soy sauce and a couple of tbsp. of veggie (mushroom) oyster sauce. I fried this and added a splash of water to make a sauce to coat everything. Finally, I added a couple of chopped spring onions a few celery leaves and fried until the celery leaves began to wilt. You may need to add another splash of water if it becomes too dry, the sauce helps to distribute the flavours. Serve with rice and any other Thai dishes of your choice.


Thai Food, Veggie mains

Tofu Pad Pong Karee

This is a dish usually made with crab in a creamy Indian style curry sauce, popular in Thai seafood restaurants. It often includes eggs, you can add a couple with the curry powder if you like and you may then need a little less coconut milk.

So what do you need?

  • 250g tofu
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (oyster mushrooms work well)
  • a slice onion
  • a small bunch of Chinese celery or a stick of regular celery (chopped finely with the leaves separated)
  • a couple of chopped spring onions
  • a large sliced red chilli
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a few curry leaves (optional)
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. mild / medium curry powder
  • coconut / vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

So what do you do?

Start by frying the tofu in cubes in about 3 tbsp. of oil, you can use either soft or firm tofu here. Once the tofu has browned a little take it out of the pan and fry the mushrooms and onion in the oil until they begin to brown a little. Then add in the chopped celery stalks, chilli and the curry leaves, if using. Fry and then add the soy sauce and curry powder. Stir fry so everything is coated in the curry then add the coconut milk and reduce to make a thick sauce. Finally, add the celery leaves and spring onions quickly stir fry and then put on a serving plate and garnish with some coriander leaves.

Veggie mains

Spicy mushroom and cashew pasta

This is another vegan pasta dish inspired by a spicy mushroom and cashew nut dish I had recently at an Issan (northeastern Thai) restaurant. It was served with small rice noodles, here I made it with pasta. I think the mushrooms, cashews and garlic make a great combination of flavours and textures here.

mushroom pasta

For two servings I started by putting the pasta water on to boil and then fried a handful of cashew nuts, on a medium heat, in about 4 tbsp. oil (you can use olive oil or any oil you prefer). Once they become golden brown I removed them and the fried about 8 cloves of peeled and softly crushed garlic until they were golden and crispy and I then added put them with the nuts. Then I fried a dried chilli in the pan and put it aside, you can just use chilli flakes if you prefer adding them at the next stage. The amount of chilli you use will depend on your chilies and how spicy you like things. The oil will now be flavoured with the chilli and garlic.

Next put on about 200g of pasta and fried about 300 g sliced mushrooms, I used orinji mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt. When they were almost cooked I crumbled the chilli (remove the seeds if you want to control the spice) and added it into the pan. I drained the pasta reserving some of the water and added about half a cup of the pasta water to the mushrooms and let this reduce a little into a sauce and then added the pasta and stirred so it was covered in the mushroom sauce. I served on a bed of asparagus, and then sprinkled over the cashews and garlic.


Veggie mains

Avocado pasta

This makes a great lunch or light meal and is perfect if you’re not sure whether you want a salad or a hot pasta dish. It’s fresh but creamy and very quick and easy to make. It will be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This will serve 2.

So what do you need?

  • 200 – 250 g pasta
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small / 1/2 a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 / 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a squeeze of lemon / lime juice
  • a sprig of basil leaves
  • some chilli oil (optional) or some ground black pepper

So what do you do?

First put the pasta on to cook. The chop the onion and start to fry it gently in the olive oil, chop up the garlic and add it. Chop up the tomatoes and them once the onion starts to soften. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes too much just heat them up really. When the pasta is nearly done cut open one of the avocados and mush it in it’s shell. Pour some of the pasta water into the pan with the veggies, probably about 1/2 a cup, turn off the heat and mix in the mushed avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few torn up basil leaves. Stir this to make a sauce. Then drain the pasta and add it to the pan and add the second avocado chopped into chunks. Stir together and serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and garnish with some basil leaves.

The Basics, Veggie mains

Courgette, cashew & blue cheese pesto


I love pesto but it’s not always easy to find Italian Basil here in Chiang Mai. The bugs have eaten my basil plants, but today I found fresh basil in the market so changed my dinner plans to pesto. I decided to mix things up a bit with the pesto adding courgette and blue cheese. Feel free to stick to parmesan if you prefer in the pesto. I served it with whole wheat past and fried mushrooms. The whole meal takes about 20 minutes. This will make enough pesto for 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • 1 good handful of cashew nuts
  • 2 medium-sized courgettes
  • a large bunch of basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of half a small lime
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 50g blue cheese

First, bring a pan of water to boil for the pasta. Then dry fry the cashews in a frying pan until they just begin to change colour and put them in a blender. Put about 2 tbsp. olive oil in the frying pan and add the courgettes, chopped into pieces, and the garlic. fry until the courgette softens but before it browns and add this to the blender. I then put my pasta on and fried the mushrooms in the same frying pan.

Next grate the lime zest into the blender and squeeze in the juice and add the blue cheese, salt and pepper. Pluck the basil leaves off the stalks, about three large handfuls of leaves and add to the blender. When the pasta is almost done blend the pesto, I like to keep some of the texture of the nuts. Then add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pesto and blend this in. Drain the pasta and add the pesto. Stir so the pasta is well covered with the pesto and serve with the mushrooms and a grating of parmesan.





Baking, Veggie mains

Chestnut, pumpkin and leek stuffing


This is a festive stuffing that can easily be made vegan a great option for veggies at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Just make sure the meat eaters don’t eat it all before you get a look in! This will make 1 large baking dish approximately 30 x 20 cms.

So what do you need?

  • 1 baguette (a day old one is great)
  • 400g pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 400g pumpkin fesh
  • 200g leeks
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • about 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 250-300 ml veggie stock
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • a few springs of thyme
  • a few sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350F. Peel and deseed your pumpkin and chop 400g of the flesh into cubes about 2 cms in size. crush a couple of cloves of garlic and then put the pumpkin, garlic a tbsp. of olive oil an a pinch of salt an a good grind of pepper into a baking and give it a mix and roast the pumpkin for about 15 mins in the oven until it starts to soften. Meanwhile chop the bread into cubes about 2cms and put in a large mixing bowl. Slice the leek and lightly steam it for a few minutes then add to the bowl. Break the chestnuts roughly into halves and add to the bowl. Crush the remaining garlic with about 1/2 tsp. salt and add this to the bowl with some ground pepper and a good grating of nutmeg, about a third of a nut, and the chopped herbs then add in the roasted pumpkin and pour over a good amount of olive oil and mix everything together. The add the stock, with the marmite dissolved in it, which will be absorbed by the break and make the stuffing soft. Then spread the stuffing in a greased baking dish and grate a little more nutmeg on the top and either drizzle over a bit more olive oil or put small bits of butter over the top. Put back in the oven and bake for about half an hour until the top turn crisp and golden.


Veggie mains

Lentil and aubergine stew


At the weekend I saw a picture on Ottolenghi’ s Instagram feed which was a lentil and aubergine stew that looked very tasty so I decided to make my own version. I was pretty easy to make and is really earthy and delicious. I decided to spice the stew with middle eastern spices and added smoked paprika which gave it a lovely smoky flavor. Feel free to adapt the herbs and spices you used to suit your taste. This made a enough for 4 servings. It’s great with bread or mashed potatoes but I served it with savoury scones.

So what do you need?

  • a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 5 or 6 skinned tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes)
  • about 120g dry brown lentils
  • a couple of bay leave
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  •  a couple of stalks of dill
  • sea salt
  • plenty of olive oil

So what do you do?

Start by chopping the onion and frying it in a large frying pan. Fry it for a minute or two in some olive oil and the add the garlic. Cut the auberine into chunks of about 4-5 cms in size and add this and a couple of pinches of salt to the frying pan. The aubergine will soak up the olive oil so add more as necessary to fry it and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Once the onion starts to brown transfer the veg into a heavy saucepan with a lid. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and bay leaves and cover with hot water (or veggie stock if you have it), you can rinse the frying pan out with water and add it to the pan too. Cover the pan and bring to the boil and then simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the lentils are cooked, the sauce has reduced and thickened a little and the aubergine is soft, tender and starting to break up. Chop the dill and add this along with half the paprika and taste and add more paprika and salt to taste. Like most stews and curries it will taste great the next day too!