For my second try with making seitan, I thought I would see if it would make little protein rich dumplings to add to vegetable soup. This time I’ve added olive oil to the mix to lighten the texture of the seitan, and added herbs and vegetable stock powder for flavour. I was very happy with the result.
Dumpling mix – enough for 2 portions – measurements in level tablespoons
4 tablespoons gluten powder
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder – I like Maggi the best
Roasted coconut gives this sauce a deep richness, fresh pineapple a sweetness and tamarind a sourness which combined with spices create a complex sauce with layers of flavour. Fish can be lightly poached in it, nuts can be added for a vegan dish or little cubes of paneer for a vegetarian version.
I’ve cooked some big chunks of salmon in the sauce this time, but any meaty fish works well as do prawns. The tamarind that comes in a block, which you can buy online if it’s not available in your local shops, has far more flavour than the ready made tamarind sauces. You just break off a chunk and pour a little boiling water over it. Once it softens you can mash it removing any seeds and then add it to your dish. The block keeps for months in an airtight container in the fridge.
For 4 portions
1 onion – finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
40 grams fresh coconut – finely grated and toasted slowly in a thick bottomed pan until lightly browned.
Tamarind – piece 2 cm square soaked in 2 tablespoons boiling water or 2 tablespoons tamarind sauce.
I’m not a fan of deep frying, preferring to bake these these Samosas or parcels in the oven. I know that this is not authentic for a samosa, but whatever you want to call them the crispy pastry with a lightly spiced mushroom filling is delicious.
For 8 samosas
1/2 onion – sliced
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
olive oil or butter for frying
300 grams oyster mushrooms
seeds of 8 cardamom pods – ground
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of 1/2 small lime
8 sheets filo pastry
oil or melted butter for brushing on to the pastry
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the sliced onions and chopped garlic. Fry gently until translucent.
Rip the mushrooms into strips and add to the frying pan.
Season with the cardamom, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook slowly, stirring from time to time, until the mushrooms are cooked. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Lay out a sheet of pastry and brush with oil or butter. Fold the top third lengthways over and brush this with fat. Fold the bottom third over and brush with fat. Turn the whole piece over so that the unbrushed third is uppermost.
Add a spoonful or two of the mushroom mix as below and fold the pastry first diagonally and then vertically until the filling is within a neat parcel.
Place all the parcels on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes in a medium hot oven. 130 C in a fan oven, so around 140 C in a conventional oven.
I served mine with Steamed Broccoli and Cabbage with Whole Spices – recipe to follow – and a Tomato and Coriander Salad.
This recipe came about with wanting to use up half a can of coconut cream and half a sweet potato that were lurking in the fridge, the resulting soup is so delicious that I have been making it ever since.
For 4 portions
750 ml light stock – either vegetable or chicken
500 grams sweet potato – peeled and cut into small cubes
80 ml coconut cream
1 teaspoon smoked picante paprika/pimenton
1/2 teaspoon coarsly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a small lime
Fresh coriander leaves – roughly chopped
Put the sweet potato, a little salt and the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about ten minutes until the potato is cooked and soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Take the pan off the heat and purée the soup with a hand blender until smooth.
Reheat the soup. Check the seasoning adding more salt if necessary.
Of course mixed seaweed is not a foodstuff that one comes across easily, but if you are, like me, culinary curious and happen across a market stall selling various salted and dried seaweeds the mixed salad is a good one to buy to see if you like it. My sister and I bought 250 grams and I forget how much we paid, it seemed pricey at the time, but that amount makes about 16 portions. The seaweed expandes to more than twice the size when you soak it. Of course it makes a perfect salad to accompany fish.
For 2 portions
60 grams dried seaweed salad – soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
Cucumber – peeled and cut into julienne
6 radishes – sliced
few sprigs of fresh purple basil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
juice of half a lime
Drain the water from the seaweed and rinse the seaweed in more water. Drain and add to the salad bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
RICE NOODLES WITH MUSHROOMS
For 2 portions
50 grams rice noodles – soak for at least an hour in cold water
1 clove garlic
2 cm square piece of fresh ginger – finely chopped
1 tablespoon peanut oil
6 shiitake mushrooms – sliced
6 oyster mushrooms – sliced
1 tablespoon mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce – Nam Pla
Drain the noodles from their soaking water, put back into the container and pour boiling water over them.
In a wok, fry the ginger and garlic in the peanut oil for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes to cook the mushrooms.
Drain the noodles and add to the mushrooms. Mix well then season with the mushroom and fish sauce and mix again. Vegans may want to omit the fish sauce, in which case add some salt to the dish.
If you are serving the noodles with the Sea Bass in Coconut Sauce, then you can add a spoon or two of the sauce to the noodles to moisten them.
A delicious way to prepare lentils, mixing them with a mixture of sweet sautéed vegetables spiced with garam masala and chilli then topped with a garnish of sweet caramelised onions and crispy ginger.
For 4 portions
50 grams green lentils
50 grams mung beans
50 grams small white lentils
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 fresh chilli – finely chopped
1/4 red pepper
1/2 medium courgette
olive oil for frying
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
Piece of fresh ginger – peeled and cut into fine strips
1 large onion – peeled and cut into thin rings
Pinch of white sugar
Soak the three types of lentils in advance, either in cold water overnight if you remember, or pour boiling water over them a couple of hours before you plan to cook them and let them steep. I find that the soaking helps soften the centre of the pulses so that they then cook more evenly.
Drain the lentils from their soaking liquid and put in a pan with enough water to reach about a centimetre over them.
Add the coriander seeds, asafoetida and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked.
Next prepare the garnishes. Heat a couple of tablespoons oil in a small frying pan and add the ginger. Cook until slightly browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Sprinkle a light dusting of sugar on to the onion rings, then slowly fry them in the same pan, adding more oil if needed. The sugar helps the onions caramelise.
Keep frying the onions on a low heat until browned and caramelised. This will take some time, at least 20 minutes, stir them round from time to time.
Now to the vegetables. Cut all the vegetables into small cubes.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Fry for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables and stir in. Fry gently for ten minutes stirring from time to time.
Add the garam masala and season with salt. Mix in well and continue frying until the vegetables are cooked and lightly browned.
The lentils should have absorbed nearly all their cooking liquor, if not drain some off leaving the lentils a bit moist.
Add the lentils to the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook for a couple of minutes for the flavours to infuse.
Serve topped with the caramelised onion rings and crispy ginger.
My grapefruit tree seems to have got itself extremely confused about the seasons this year, so surprised me with five fruits ripe in August. The usual season for ripe fruit is late December to March or April. So to celebrate this unexpected bounty I remembered this spicy salad that I had in Thailand many years ago.
As with most salads a little variation can be made without losing the essentials of what makes the salad successful. For this one the essentials are, of course the grapefruit, peanuts, fresh coriander, coconut slivers and the dressing. I’ve used as well on this occasion some alfalfa sprouts and watercress.
For two portions
1 grapefruit – either pink or yellow fleshed
30 grams dry roasted peanuts
piece fresh coconut roughly 4 x 4 cm – peeled and sliced into slivers
small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
small bunch of watercress leaves
alfalfa or other small sprouting seeds – fenugreek are very tasty
For the dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Nam Pla fish sauce
1 tablespoon agave syrup / honey
1 finely chopped green Thai chilli
Cut the grapefruit in half and then cut away the skin and pith. Cut in half and then into thin slices.
Put into your salad bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients.
Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Mix well.
I served my salad with a Prawn Green Curry, steamed broccoli and black rice.
This is an Indonesian cooked vegetable salad with a slightly sweet and sour dressing, which can be eaten hot or cold although I prefer it cool as the flavours are more pronounced.
When I cooked this I was at the end of the week with little in the fridge, but the three things I had were exactly what go in this dish, with the addition of some sweetcorn which I thought would fit for this.
For one serving
For the paste
1/2 sweet onion – roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic
15 grams nuts – ideally candlenuts but otherwise macadamias or hazelnuts
1 small green chilli
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smooth mustard
1 teaspoon agave syrup / honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon Nam Pla fish sauce
100 ml water
Put all the above ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste.
65 grams french or runner beans – cut into bite sized lengths
1 carrot – peeled and cut into julienne
few sprigs of broccoli or cauliflower
Fresh corn kernels from 1/2 a cob of corn – just slice them off – optional
Put the paste into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Put the beans into the sauce adding a little extra water if needed so that they are covered. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add the carrots and corn and bring back to a simmer, again adding water as needed. Cook for about another 3 minutes.
Now add the cauliflower or broccoli and simmer for a couple more minutes until the broccoli is just cooked but still has bite.
Either eat as it it or leave to cool before serving.