Posted in Asian Food, Bowls, Curry, Grains, Indian, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Soya Biryani with Crispy Onions

Simple food can be good food. There is a time and a place for complicated dishes that take plenty of time, but only when┬áand if you feel like it. Biryani seems like a dish that could be complicated if you let it, especially if you decide to take forty-five minutes to get those onions properly crispy. Luckily for me, this was a night my husband cooked and the only thing I had to do was come up with what I wanted to eat for dinner this night. ­čÖé

I chose Biryani because it is a simple but flavorful dish that feels like it takes hours and hours in the kitchen, but an efficient vegan home cook could get it done in under an hour.

The best thing, aside from taste, about this recipe is that the ingredient list is simple.

TVP (I use inedit, but use whatever textured protein you can find)
Basmati rice
Onion
Veggiegurt
Ginger
Garlic
Red bell pepper
Peanut oil
Herbs & Spices

I know, it seems impossible that a dish so simple could produce such a flavor explosion on your tongue but…it’s true.

If you’ve never had a vegan Biryani, I recommend you do a little research so you understand the basics, but basically this is a dry dish compared to a curry, for example. The key here is the fried onions because they add SO MUCH FLAVOR!

While you re-hydrate the soya, get those onions going in oil or vegan butter, cooking them low and slow until they start to turn golden and sweet-ish. Once the soya is ready, let it cool and then toss in veggiegurt and Indian spices. My hubs couldn’t wait to make use of our new air fryer, so that’s how he cooked the soya!

While the soya got nice & crispy, he cooked the Basmati rice in salted water with a teaspoon (or two) of turmeric thrown in for the health benefits and that gorgeous yellow color.

When the onions are close to ready, add the red bell pepper, garlic and ginger to the skillet and you’re good to go. Now toss in the soya and top it on a bed of rice.

You can always substitute one protein for another, using chickpeas, tofu or any other kinds of beans. If you use seitan or tempeh, I’d love to know about it!

I truly enjoyed this dish and I’ll probably add it to the rotation, but I’d love to see your take on a vegan biryani dish.

Posted in Asian Food, Bowls, Curry, Grains, Indian, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

30-Minute Vegan Potato Curry

Since it’s Friday and the week has flown by (edits are done!) I decided to keep today’s recipe quick and easy. Two of my favorite things when it comes to a good healthy vegan meal because as much as I love to cook, some days you just want to sit down.

And some days your Tokyo Diner idea seems daunting and you say something like, “Just make me a curry. Spicy and with potatoes.” That was the directive I gave to the Hubs and this easy potato curry was his brain child. And bonus points on this recipe because if you felt so inclined, you could pop all the ingredients into a slow cooker on low for 5 to 7 hours. Cook the rice separately but more on that later.

Get your cutting board and your favorite knife because there’s plenty of chopping to be done!

This recipe really is simple, especially if you’ve ever whipped up a curry at home. Grab your favorite pre-made curry spice blend or mix your own and set it aside. Chop up: onion, ginger, bell pepper, garlic, potatoes, cauliflower & tomatoes. My husband prefers fresh tomatoes always so he did that but you can use canned tomatoes. When I use canned, I prefer stewed tomatoes. They’re juicier and the flavor is better in my opinion.

Add some oil to a deep skillet or water if you’re going oil-free and toss in everything but the cauliflower and garlic since they have very short cook times and will burn (garlic) or turn soggy (cauliflower) quickly.

I like to let the veggies cook a bit before I add anything other than salt & pepper, stirring frequently.

Once the veggies start to soften, add the rest and cook uncovered 3 to 5 minutes giving everything a regular stir. Then place the cover on the skillet and let it cook–undisturbed–for a few minutes. Do this until your vegetables reach desired done-ness and don’t be afraid to give the potatoes or cauliflower a fork-test if necessary. It’s your kitchen, do what you want!

The tomatoes go in last and you’ll want to cook them until the juice has been absorbed, leaving a nice thick sauce. Since he insisted on using fresh tomatoes there wasn’t much sauce, so adjust your cooking time to account for that if you do.

Pair it with rice or Naan. Most of the time I prefer naan bread because I love it and I miss it, but I miss it because it is pretty difficult to find vegan naan bread here in Romania and even in Germany too. For some┬áodd┬áreason there’s milk powder in most store bought naan bread, so if you know if any good vegan brands please give me names and links!

Since it was a light day with a salad for lunch and this calorie friendly dinner, I enjoyed a nice Harmin with it…to cool down the extra jalapeno peppers I put on mine!

Posted in Asian Food, Grains, Indian, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Quick & Easy Vegan Mujaddara

When friends and family tell me how “easy” it’s been for me to go vegan because I love to cook, sometimes I just have to roll my eyes at the naivete of that statement. Yes, I do enjoy cooking and learning about new types of cuisines. Mostly it’s because I’m curious but it’s also because restaurant food is suspect and I’m not wealthy enough to go to the places where the food is always good all the time, and when you factor being vegan into the whole thing, well just finding a place to eat can turn into an ordeal in itself.

So I cook and experiment. And vegan-ize as much as I can or as much as I want.

But the reason I love cooking is because I find plenty of ways to make meals that are delicious and healthy┬áand quick. Every single day can’t be a two hours in the kitchen kind of day, but it can taste like it and that’s where this vegan mujaddara comes in very handy.

Before we go further, I do know that Mujaddara┬áis vegan and that to say so is redundant but many westerners have added meat and/or dairy to this dish so people looking for those recipes, probably won’t click on me.

Now, let’s move on!

This dish is pretty simple as it only contains a few main ingredients: brown lentils, brown rice, caramelized onions & spices.

The only thing I added was a few chopped crimini mushrooms and I used baharat, ras el hanout, cardamom, black pepper and cumin to season everything.

When it comes to a dish like this, you want to flavor the waters as much as you can. The people who know about these things recommend you don’t salt or season water for cooking lentils, but I added salt and baharat during the last 10 minutes and it made a difference. Do the same for your rice water, add some seasoning so that everything has flavor before you blend it all.

Since this dish was so healthy and easy, I used a plant butter-oil hybrid to get the onions crispy and caramel-y and delicious. It was worth the time and effort because the onions are where you can really add depth to mujaddara.

This dish was light and healthy and satisfying that we ate the rest the next day for lunch…with a beer!

This is an easy vegan meal with lots of flavor that you can cook in 30 minutes.

Enjoy!