Jun 21, 2010

international vegetarian recipes

We've had to broaden our scope, gastronomically, in order to have enough diversity in our meals. Skywalker's one of those people who can eat the same thing day after day and be fine. I am not. So, we draw from the cuisine of many different cultures in our home. Mostly we love Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian, Greek and Mexican and of course Ethiopian when we're going outside "american."

I've decided, since I stopped posting my "daily vegetarian meals" recipes, that I'll do a whole week's wroth instead. And I'm going to Theme it so that there's a different nationality each day of the week. Here goes.

Day 1: Japanese.

Sushi, miso soup and rice.

Sushi recipe here and here.

Miso soup:

1 bunch green onions, diagonally chopped
1 head of Bok Choy, Chopped in bite-size pieces
6 cups bonita fish broth (can get the bullion cubes or the flakes--which are better because they don't have any artificial flavorers like MSG--at any asian food store.)
Cubed extra-firm tofu, if desired
1 cup red or yellow miso.

Cook the first 4 ingredients together until the white bok-choy stalks are really really soft, almost like noodles. Add the miso after the soup has cooled a bit. Serve over rice. Rice can just be cooked in a rice cooker. Just make sure you rinse it well.

Day 2: Italian.

Bruschetta and steamed veggies

5 ripe tomatoes
5 fat cloves of garlic, pressed or finely diced
1 tb fresh basil, chopped
3 tb quality olive oil
salt to taste
pepper if desired

Put these all together in a tupperware or other covered container and let "marinate" for at least 30 minutes so that a nice red sauce forms in the bottom out of the tomato and olive oil.

baguette or french bread loaf, sliced in 1/2-1/4 inch slices
olive oil

Put olive oil in skillet, let it get hot. Put the baguette slices in and toast a couple minutes on each side, so they're crunchy and golden.

spoon the tomato mixture on individual bread slices--like an appetizer.

My favorite steamed veggies with this are artichokes or asparagus. Good spring/summer meal.

Day 3: Indian

Curry and Basmati rice.

The secret to this dish is to make the rice correctly. You want to find good rice, first of all. The stuff labeled "jasmine" or "basmati" in any big grocery store will work, but even better is the extremely long-grained basmati rice you can find at an asian food store.

Rinse well. Let it sit about 1/2 hour before putting it in the cooker. Put water in it so that it's about 2 parts water to 1 part rice or so... so that the rice comes about halfway up in the water. For white rices, I usually put it so the rice is a little more than halfway up, for brown, a little less than halfway.

Put about a tablespoon of butter or butter-like spread in the cooker on top of the water. Also add caraway or fennel seeds (or both.)

Fluff the rice when your'e done, by taking a spoon, sliding it under the rice kernels, lifting up and letting them fall, kind of aerating them.

Madras curry powder (the best!!)1 tablespoon
Garam masala 1 tsp
vegetable bullion, 1 tsp
Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
diced green chilis, 1 can
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
green peas, fresh or frozen, about 1/2 cup
2 medium potatoes, diced

Fry these together until the veggies are nice and soft. Taste and add more spices if desired.

Add: 1 can coconut milk
1 small can of tomato paste or sauce
stir well, let simmer a bit more.

Serve over rice.

Day 4: Thai Food

Tom Kha Gai soup and Pad Thai noodles

I admit for this one I use mostly packaged stuff.

Tom Kha Gai:

1 pckg Tom Kha paste
2 cans coconut milk
1 can straw mushrooms

All can be obtained at a good Asian foods store. Let these ingredients simmer on low heat for a while. Warning--it's quite a unique taste. But soooo good once you get used to it. If you like being adventurous, this is an easy way to bring adventure to your home. This also tastes good served over white rice.

Pad thai:

1 pckg pad thai noodles (or two... or three, depending on the size of your family)
several tablespoons (to taste) pad thai sauce from the bottle. Find a good kind... not all pad thai sauces are equal. usually the person running the store will tell you which one he/she likes and it will be pretty good.

Veggies for the noodles:

red pepper
green pepper
purple cabbage
cilantro!! (very important)
bean sprouts
slice the veggies very thinly. Steam them, don't fry them. Use them to top your pad thai noodles or as a side... add a little fish sauce if you don't mind being non-fish vegan. Also the pad thai sauce involves fish, so this meal isn't a good one if you object to fish-eating.

Day 5: Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian Stew (Wat) and Injera

This is a little trickier because Ethiopian food is all in the spices and all about injera. Here is a website where you can order Berebere and Shiro (the most important of the spices) as well as injera for relatively little.

Injera is expensive. I need to learn how to make it well. This is very difficult, believe it or not. So for now we buy it or fake it by using tortillas instead (which is an amazing cop-out--tortillas are nothing like injera. but my kids seem to be OK with it anyway.)

Ethiopian Wat:

1 red or yellow onion, finely diced.

Put a couple tablespoons oil in your skillet. Cook the onion until it's soft, but not carmelized. Then add:

vegetable broth (1 cup)

2 cups already-cooked red lentils, (cooked until very soft--about 30 minutes. Don't add any salt or flavoring when cooking them, because they will not soften up if you do).

1-2 tsp berebere depending on how spicy you like things
1 tsp shiro

season with salt or soy sauce to taste.

boil some eggs seperetely, peel them, then add them to the stew, mixing to cover and immerse them in it. Serve on TOP of the injera or tortilla. Use this as your utensil--rip off pieces, fold a bit of wat-and egg in as your bite.

Delicious. Quite addictive, actually. But again... it takes some getting used to.

Day 6: Mexican.

Homemade Salsa and Guacamole go very well with any mexican dish.

Smothered or raw burritos:

Take some dry pinto beans. put them in water (twice the amount as the beans) and let soak overnight. in the morning, put them in the crock pot with some water so that the beans are about 2/3 up in the water. Cook about 8 hours. You can mash the beans when they're getting softer to make it more of a refried-beans soft blended type mixture if you wish. When the beans are softer, you can also season with onion powder/vegetable buillion/liquid smoke/salt to make them more flavorful.

dice some tomatoes, olives, lettuce and avacadoes.

If you want smothered burritoes, also make some rice in the rice cooker, flavored with vegetable broth or butter and lemon pepper.

Put beans/rice on a burrito, cover with a generous layer of mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Fold it up, top with some more cheese and verde taco sauce. Bake until cheese is melted. Serve the veggies as a mixed side-salad, over the top or to the side of your smothered burrito

take the fresh veggies, put in the burrito with the beans. You can add cheese to this or not. This is my favorite comfort food.

tip: uncooked tortillas are way better. You can usually find them in the refrigerated sections of groceries stores, either with the meats or with the frozen breads.

Day 7: Greek (ish).

Falafel tacos.

Falafel, the vegetarian food of the gods ;)

I get the mix from the bulk bins of our local health food store. They also usually have it boxed either in the ethnic section, or the health food section of the grocery store.

Make the mix according to the directions on the box or bin. I usually like to add a little oil to the falafel mix, too. When it's soaked the right amount of time, take a pan and spray with olive oil (or rub, if you don't have a misto sprayer.) form mixture into balls, press flat on pan. spray another layer of olive oil on top of these little falafel cakes. Bake at high heat in the oven (could broil, I suppose) until crispy or at least, cooked through so it's cake-like.

Yogurt-dill sauce:
1 cup soy or normal yogurt
1/2 cup of mayonnaise or vegenese
1/4 tsp dill
1/4 tsp mint flakes
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika

You can either use pita pockets, tortillas or taco shells as your falafel-holders.
Spread the yogurt sauce in whatever it is you're going to use. Smash in a couple of falafel cakes. Top with:

diced lettuce
diced tomatoes
sliced olives
parmesan or other cheese
diced avacadoes

or other veggies of your choice.

All these recipes are kid approved. (of course... some of my kids are from Ethiopia, and therefore like things spicy, so beware if you have kids sensitive to spicy foods. You can reduce the spices in any of these recipes so there's just a hint.)


Putz said...

isn't suchi lind of expensive???????????i have always avoided it for hat reason>>>>so is it or is it not expensive????

Kate DW said...

Cool! I'm excited to try some of these. Thanks!