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03Sep 12

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry
This Philippines-inspired Pinoy style seitan curry is a vegetarian variation of  Ginataang Manok, which is chicken cooked in coconut milk.

I’ve substituted the chicken with seitan and added a few more spices to maximise the flavour.  If you have a wheat allergy, or just don’t like seitan for some reason, you can substitute tofu for the seitan.  I’ve tried this, and while I didn’t like the result as much as with the seitan, it was still a very good dish.

Just remember to press the tofu for 15 or 20 minutes before using it. Otherwise, it won’t absorb all the wonderful aromas of the spices.  I’d also recommend using a nice and firm tofu. If not, the results could be a bit mushy.

If you do use seitan, I strongly recommend making it yourself. It’s much cheaper and more satisfying  than buying it at a shop, and you can add appropriate spices directly to the dough to complement your recipe.  You can find my basic seitan recipe here.

 

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A vegetarian variation of Ginataang Manok
Ingredients
  • 800g seitan, cut into thick chunks
  • 1 big potato, washed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 5cm length
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp Tamari sauce
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Fry the potato in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 10 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Fry the seitan in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 5 mintues, or until brown and crispy on the outside. Set aside.
  3. In the pan where the seitan was fried, sauté the garlic, onion and ginger for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the fried seitan, Tamari sauce, and curry powder.
  5. Add the water and simmer until the seitan is tender, about 5 mintues.
  6. Put in the red bell pepper, celery, and fried potato, then simmer for 5 more minutes
  7. Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

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13Aug 12

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu
What better way to start your day than with a protein-filled serving of delicious scrambled  tofu?!  It’s just as filling and flavourful as eggs, but without the fat or cholesterol.

You’ll notice that the recipe says to freeze the tofu and then thaw it before use.  This is a trick I learnt recently, and it adds a whole new dimension  to the tofu.  Due to the freezing process, the texture of the tofu changes; it becomes more crumbly and somewhat similar in appearance to minced beef.  This same method also works great for making vegetarian bolognese sauce or chilli, or anything that would typically call for minced beef.

This is my most basic version of the recipe, but tofu is so great at absorbing different flavours that I strongly encourage you to go ahead and try different variations of seasoning. Basically anything you might have used with scrambled eggs should work just fine.  You could also add some spinach or other veggies to the mix if you like.

I usually eat this for breakfast alongside toast smothered in apricot jam. But you can of course eat it at any time of the day you prefer!

If you like this idea, you will probably also like menemen – Turkish scrambled eggs.

 

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 350-400g firm tofu, frozen then thawed, then crumbled
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½tsp paprika
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two, taking care that it doesn't brown or burn.
  3. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the frying pan, and add the paprika to the empty side.
  4. Fry the paprika for about 30 seconds, stirring and mixing into the oil.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add more oil if necessary.
  7. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve immediately with a few slices of toast.

 

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31Jul 12

Linguine with Roquefort and Walnuts

Linguine with Roquefort and WalnutsPasta, can you imagine what our world would be without it?!  So easy to make and so versatile, it’s virtually everyone in the western world’s go-to dish for spur-of-the-moment meals or fussy children!  In fact, it’s one of the first foods that most children agree to eat without too much complaining.

This linguine with Roquefort and walnuts, surprisingly, is no exception, at least in my own experience with my kids.  I expected the blue cheese and white colour of the sauce to turn them off, but they lapped it right up and even asked for more! (You could also try this pasta with egg yolks and walnuts recipe.)

Of course, my children may not be representative of the national average, so if you want, you can try substituting the Roquefort for another, more kid-friendly cheese.  Any easily melted cheese, such as Manchego or Gruyère should work fine.  If kids aren’t a problem, you can of course go the other way as well and try a stronger cheese like Gorgonzola or Stilton.

 

Linguine with Roquefort and Walnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 500g dried linguine
  • 4 whole walnuts
  • 300ml double cream
  • 8 tbsp Port
  • 225g Roquefort cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  2. Add the pasta, give it a stir and cook according to the instructions on the pasta. Start to check it a few minutes before the indicated time to make sure you get it just how you like it. I prefer it al dente, but go ahead and cook it however you prefer.
  3. While the linguine is cooking, shell the walnuts and chop them up very finely. Set aside.
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain it immediately.
  5. Place the double cream, Port and Roquefort in a saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. The cheese should take a few minutes to melt.
  6. Toss the pasta with the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve on plates with the walnuts sprinkled over the top of each serving.

 

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18Jul 12

Seitan Teriyaki

Seitan Teriyaki
My mum used to make a beef version of this seitan teriyaki when I was growing up, and I have always loved the strong sweet and salty taste of the sauce.  Since fried seitan has quite a similar texture to beef, I decided to have a go at making up a vegetarian version of my childhood favourite.

The one thing taking away from the authenticity of the recipe is my inability to find a decent vegetarian fish sauce.  In the end I decided to just go with regular Tamari sauce, which tastes great, but is obviously missing a bit of the tangy and pungent effect that a fish sauce would have provided.  If anyone knows of, or ever finds a decent vegetarian or vegan fish sauce, please let me know; I’d love to try it.

I also like to sprinkle over sesame seeds for extra crunch, but that is optional. Serve it over rice and veggies for a balanced meal.

Also try these Japanese noodles with bell peppers and beef. And as we do here, replace the meat for seitan.

Seitan Teriyaki
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
The vegetarian version of beef teriyaki
Ingredients
  • 400g seitan, cut into 1cm strips
  • 3 tablespoons oil, for frying
  • For the marinade:
  • 125ml water
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • For the Teriyaki Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sake
Instructions
  1. Make the marinade by combining the water, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin in a large, shallow Tupperware container or a wide and shallow bowl.
  2. Add the seitan strips, mixing well with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. To make the teriyaki sauce, simply add the honey, soy sauce, mirin and sake to a small sauce pan and boil over medium heat until the sauce is glossy and slightly viscous. It should start to acquire a caramelized taste, but be careful not to burn it.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
  5. Add the marinated seitan strips and sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the seitan turns brown and a bit crispy on the outside.
  6. Pour the Teriyaki into the pan with the seitan and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  7. Remove from heat and serve immediately with some rice or noodles, or on its own.

 

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16Jul 12

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean CasseroleThis classic green bean casserole is a delightfully rich and creamy main course and a great way to get your kids to eat their green beans.  It uses rice and cornflour rather than wheat flour, so it can very easily be converted into a gluten-free dish if necessary, simply by using gluten-free soy and Worcestershire sauce.

What you’re going to need:

For the topping:

  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced  in ¼-cm rings
  • 125g cornflour
  • Canola oil (or other light oil) for frying
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the casserole:

  • 60g sweet rice flour
  • 315ml milk (or soy or other milk)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (about 400g) cut green beans
  • 1 can (about 200g) sliced mushrooms, drained

What you have to do:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Generously grease an ovenproof casserole dish.
  3. Make the onion topping: Dust the onions with cornflour or place both in paper bag and shake thoroughly.
  4. Heat 1-inch of canola oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Fry a few onion rings at a time until they turn golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper immediately.
  5. Stir the sweet rice flour into about 60ml of the milk until smooth. Place this mixture and the rest of the milk in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, celery salt, salt, garlic, and pepper.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  7. Add the green beans, mushrooms, and half of the onion topping and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack of the preheated oven, or until the casserole is bubbling.
  9. Top the casserole with the rest of the onion topping.
  10. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until onions are hot.
  11.  Serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

Note: If getting kids to eat their veggies is a problem, there are tons of ways to “disguise” the flavour – like in this carrot halwa recipe. Why not make the green bean casserole as the main course and the carrot halwa for dessert? You just couldn’t get any healthier!

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08Jul 12

Grilled Veggie Shish Kebabs

Grilled Veggie Shish KebabsThese grilled veggie shish kebabs make for a great starter for a party or buffet, and they are very quick to prepare as long as you remember to put the veggies in the marinade beforehand, as this is longest part of the preparation.  In fact, the longer they marinate, the better, so you could even get started on that the night before.

Another thing I love about them is that they also turn out great on a barbecue, so I finally have something aside from veggie burgers and sausages to take when I get invited to a barbecue at a meat-eater’s house.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my veggie burgers and all, but it’s nice to have something more for a change.

The recipe uses a Turkish-style marinade, but if you prefer, you can use your favourite marinade of choice.

 

What you’re going to need:

For the marinade:

  • 250ml olive oil
  • 65ml plain yoghurt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Shish Kebabs:

  • 8 wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  • 500 to 800g of any combination of the following ingredients, cut into bite-sized pieces:
    • cauliflower florets
    • cherry tomatoes
    • aubergine
    • firm tofu
    • green, red, or yellow bell peppers
    • mushrooms
    • new potatoes
    • red onion
    • yellow squash
    • courgette

 

What you have to do:

 

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining all ingredients and mixing well to blend. Set aside while you prepare the veggies.
  2. Thread the desired grilling ingredients onto the skewers.
  3. Place the skewers in a long shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top, cover, and marinate for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to “broil.”
  5. Remove the skewers from the marinade and let any excess liquid drip off.
  6. Broil the skewers for 6 – 12 minutes, turning every few minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through.
  7. Watch carefully, as different ingredients may take different amounts of time to cook.
  8. Remove the skewers from the oven and place them on a serving platter.
  9. Pour any extra marinade over the skewers.
  10. Serve hot.

 

Preparation Time:  30 minutes plus 1-2 hours marinating

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

Note: One of my favourite side dishes at a barbecue is a fancy potato salad like these minty jersey royals with chives and lemon butter. It goes nicely with burgers – both veggie and otherwise!

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29Jun 12

Falafel with Tomato Sauce

Chickpea meatballs with tomato sauceI remember loving the meatballs in tomato sauce that my mother used to make when I was growing up, so the other day I decided to try and make a vegetarian version.  This chickpea falafel with tomato sauce recipe was the result.  The texture is, of course, slightly different than the lamb-based or peri-peri meatballs my mother specialised in, but the lemon, garlic and Italian parsley give them a subtle flavour that  is offset nicely by the tomato and thyme sauce.  Enjoy!

What you’re going to need:

For the falafel:

  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 170ml crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do:

 

  1. Drain the chickpeas well.
  2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  3. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  4. Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes.
  7. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
  8. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Add the falafel and sauté for 10 minutes, shaking the pan at regular intervals so that they brown evenly.
  10. Remove the falafel from the pan and keep them warm in the oven at the lowest setting.
  11. While the falafel is frying, prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by removing the cores.
  12. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to loosen the skin.
  13. Remove the skin, cut into quarters, and chop finely.
  14. Wash the thyme and strip the leaves from the stems.
  15. Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  16. Add the pine nuts and thyme and sauté for 20 seconds.
  17. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  18. Mix in the crème fraîche and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  19. Arrange the falafel on 4 plates. Pour the sauce over them and serve.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 30 minutes setting

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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28Jun 12

Oven Baked Falafel

Oven Baked Falafel
I’ve always loved falafel, but I’ve never really been very big on deep frying, so I decided to try baking them in the oven instead.  The result was this oven baked falafel recipe, which tastes even better than the classic fried version, if I do say so myself!

Traditionally, falafel is served wrapped in unleavened bread and garnished with lettuce, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and a littler tahini (sesame seed paste)  sauce, or arranged on a plate with the same ingredients.  Personally, I usually just eat them along with whatever salad I have at hand. For a more filling meal, eat them with rice, like this Indian-style brown rice.

 

Oven Baked Falafel
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in abundant water
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 medium onions, peeled and halved
  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped very fine
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped very fine
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tbsp flour
  • ½tsp paprika
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • ½tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½tsp ground cumin
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 250ml water
Instructions
  1. Using an electric blender or food processor, blend the onion and garlic together to form a paste.
  2. Mix the chopped fresh coriander and flat-leaf parsley into the onion and garlic paste.
  3. Add the prepared chickpeas to the mixture and blend again with the food processor or blender. The final consistency should be a little bit lumpy.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the paprika, baking soda, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and baking soda.
  5. Add the spice mixture to the chickpea mixture and stir well, making sure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the mix.
  6. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour and a half.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  8. Grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil or vegetable oil.
  9. Drop tablespoonful-sized balls of the chickpea mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving a few centimetres between each ball and also between the balls and the edge of the tray.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top sides of the falafel balls have turned golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool on the tray for 5 minutes.
  12. Transfer the falafel balls to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
  13. Serve on a bed of your favourite salad.

 

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19Jun 12

Spinach and Chickpeas

Spinach and ChickpeasThis spinach and chickpeas recipe makes for a great starter or can even be served as a main course if you accompany it with some oven-warmed French bread and a bit of salad. (If you want to stick with the chickpea theme, try this carrot, chickpea and orange salad.)  As always, I suggest using dried pulses and rehydrating them overnight, but if you don’t have time, you can go ahead and use the precooked canned or bottled ones.

What you’re going to need:

  • 300g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4tsp paprika
  • 450g fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the water.
  5. Heat 30ml of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the slice of bread until it’s golden brown.
  6. Set the fried bread aside on a plate.
  7. Sauté the onion in 15ml of olive oil over low heat until it’s translucent.
  8. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are dissolved.
  9. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the paprika and sauté for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is tender.
  12. Add the mixture of tomatoes and onions to the spinach, mix well and add the chickpeas.
  13. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Put the fried bread and the garlic in a blender and mix to form a smooth paste.
  15. Add the bread and garlic paste to the spinach and chickpeas.
  16. Add 170ml of cold water and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add more water if necessary as you cook.
  17. Serve hot.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 8 hours soaking the chickpeas

Cooking Time: 55 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

 

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16Jun 12

Tomato and Cabbage Soup

Tomato and Cabbage SoupI had an awful cold the other week, and it dawned on me that one of the worst things about being a vegetarian is not being able to eat chicken noodle soup.  It may not really be a cure for the common cold, but it certainly has proven to make you feel a bit better, at least while you’re eating it.  In any case, this tomato and cabbage soup recipe is my first attempt to make a vegetarian-friendly, feel-good soup for those pesky winter colds.

The young garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilli help to clear your sinuses, and the fennel seeds and honey help to sooth a sore throat.  To be honest, it tastes nothing like standard chicken noodle, but it definitely did make me feel a bit better, and the effect lasted for a few hours after I ate it too!

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or chopped
  • 400ml cabbage, cut into 1cm x 3cm strips
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 young garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 250ml rice
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tsp honey
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 3 litres water
  • 3tbsp olive oil

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the leek and young garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrot and tomato and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes with the heat on full.  Stir continuously to avoid burning.
  5. Add the honey, stock cube, chilli powder, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves and fennel seeds.  Sauté for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma of the spices.
  6. Add the water and the rice to the pot and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If you like your soups a bit cheesy, try this Cauliflower and Emmental Soup recipe.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Easy

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