Thai Food

Kale & cashew fried rice

I made this for lunch out of leftovers and things I had in my kitchen. It’s a very simple fried rice but the toppings of crispy kale leave, fried shallots, cashew nuts and chilli really add to the textures and flavours. Fried rice is best made with leftover rice that’s been kept in the fridge overnight, it should not be at all sticky. I used a mix of brown and red rice which tends to retain it’s shape better when cooked than white rice. The recipe below is for 2 portions.

I started by preparing the toppings. I washed a small bunch of Thai / Chinese kale (Pak kana) and took about half of the leaves off and shredded them finely and patted them dry in a tea towel. Then I peeled and finely slice 4 small shallots. I heated about a cm of vegetable oil in the bottom of my wok and then fried a couple of dried chillis until they puffed up and then put them on plate. Next I fried the shredded kale, stirring occasionally, until it started to become crispy. I drained this and put it on a plate and then did the same with the shallots. Finally I fried a handful of cashew nuts until they were golden.

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Next I cut the stalks of the kale into small pieces and fried this with 4 chopped cloves of garlic as the garlic started to brown and the kale softened I added a tsp. of cumin seeds and fried a little. Then I added about 3 cups of rice and the remaining kale leaves, chopped up. I stir-fried this and added some light soy sauce, probably about a tbsp. and some white pepper. I fried the rice for a couple of minutes until the kale was cooked. I added in most of the cashews and then divided the rice onto two plates and sprinkled over the toppings and served with a slice of lime. If you like a spicy hit then tear the chilli into small pieces and mix in with the rice as you eat.

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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.

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Something fruity, Something sweet

Creamy coconut & lamyai rice pudding pots

pudding

There are lots of lamyai / longans in season now so I’ve been thinking of new things to make with them. This dessert is a cross between a traditional English rice pudding and the Thai dessert of sticky rice and lamyai, which is delicious but very sweet. This is a pretty healthy dessert option and made with coconut milk so it’s vegan too. This makes 6 pots.

So what do you need?

  • 1 cup of shorgrain rice (I used Japanese rice)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 water
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. palm sugar (or regular sugar)
  • a couple of pinches of salt
  • about 4-5cms of cinnamon stick
  • a small bunch of lamyai / longans

So what do you do?

First rinse the rice once in water then put the rice, coconut milk, water , sugar, salt and cinnamon stick into a heavy bottomed saucepan, cover and put on a medium heat. While this is heating up peel the lamyai and take the stones out. You will need about 1 1/2 cups of lamyai pieces. Mix the rice occasionally and add the lamyai, before it reaches a boil turn the heat down and gently simmer it stirring occasionally. After about 15-20 mins it will start to thicken and you will need to stir it more frequently to stop it sticking. Keep simmering it until the rice is cooked and it’s thick and creamy, probably another 15-20 mins. When it’s done turn off the head, remove the cinnamon stick and then spoon the rice pudding into 6 smallish glasses and allow to cool. Decorate with half a fresh lamyai and then finely grate the cinnamon stick and sprinkle on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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Snacks

Beetroot & bean spread

Beet spread

This is a yummy, vibrant spread / dip that’s quick to make. It’s has an earthy flavor and is nice and healthy.

Start by dry roasting 1 tsp. cumin seeds in a frying pan, then put them aside.  Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery and fry them in a couple of tbsp. olive oil, as they begin cooking add 3-4 clove of garlic. While they are all softening peel and grate a large beetroot (about 350 – 400g) then grate it coarsely. Add the beetroot to the frying pan and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fry for a couple of minutes until the beetroot begins to soften.

Meanwhile strain and rinse a can of beans (red kidney or mixed beans). Then add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and half the cumin seeds to the veggies and turn off the heat.  Put the veggies and the beans in a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop out into a bowl and allow to coo. To serve drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds and a little smoked paprika.

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Soups

Roasted cauliflower and carrot soup

soup

This is a hearty and creamy vegan soup using seasonal cauliflowers. This will make 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • a medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • 4 / 5 cloves of garlic
  • a tsp. cumin seeds
  • a tsp. coriander seeds
  • a tsp. turmeric
  • a tsp. salt
  • 2 / 3 dried chillies
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 700ml – 1 liter of vegetable stock
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander

So what do you do?

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks and put them in a baking tray, add the cauliflower broken into florets and chop the onion into quarters and add it along with the garlic cloves, still in their skins. Grind the coriander seeds and add them along with the other spices, the oil, and half the salt. Mix everything together and then roast in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, turn them a couple of times, until the veggies are cooked and start to brown. Then allow to cool a bit and squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and remove the chillies (you can keep some of them in if you want it spicy).

Then either put all the veggies along with about 700ml of stock, the coconut milk and a small handful of fresh coriander in a liquidizer and blend until smooth, or put everything in a saucepan and use a hand-held blender. The soup should be nice and thick, you can add more stock to get the consistency you prefer. taste and add more salt if necessary. Heat through and serve garnished with coriander leaves and the chillies.

 

 

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Baking, Veggie mains

Chestnut, pumpkin and leek stuffing

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.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie sides

Yam Tua Plu wing bean salad

yam tua plu

This ‘Yam’, or Thai spicy salad, is very similar to the banana flower salad the eggs are optional and obviously not for vegans. I really enjoy these yams made with chilli paste and coconut milk as they are less Next make the dressing, for this in a saucepan mix together about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 2-3tbsp of light soy sauce about 5-6 tbsp of coconut milk and warm these up until they all combine. than the standard yams that are made with fresh chillis.

So what do you need?

  • 200g wing beans
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 -3 dried chillies
  • vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • a lime
  • 2-3 tbsp. peanuts
  • 75ml coconut milk
  • light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. veggie chilli paste
  • some lettuce leaves
  • some coriander

So what do you do?

First steam the wing beans for a few minutes and then put them in a bowl of iced water. While they are steaming dry roast the peanuts in a pan and then leave them to cool. Next peel and finely slice half of the shallots and heat some vegetable oil in a wok and fry them until brown and crisp and put to one side, quickly fry the chillis too.

To make the dressing heat up the coconut milk in a saucepan and then mix in about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 1-2 tbsp of light soy mix until they all combine and turn of the heat and squeeze in a coupe of tbsp. of lime juice. Taste the sauce it should be a balance between sweet, spicy and sour. You can adjust it to your taste. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar and add them to the sauce.

Then drain the wing beans and slice them into  slices about 3-5 mm thick, they will resemble stars, and put them in a bowl, add the carrot and slice the remaining shallots and cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix everything together. To get any remaining dressing out of the saucepan add a little water and then pour this into the bowl too, you want to make sure you have enough sauce / dressing on the salad.

To assemble the salad put some lettuce leaves on a plate and then spoon the salad over them pouring on any extra dressing. You can add the hard boiled eggs to the plate if you are using them. Then sprinkle over the fried shallots and garnish with some coriander leaves and the fried chillis.  Anyone who likes extra spice can crumble some of the chilli over their salad.

 

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