Deliciously quick & easy vegetarian/vegan recipes
Mushroom seasoning is used widely in a lot of Asian cuisine, to enhance the flavor of the vegetable dishes. I discovered this seasoning when my neighbor and dear friend back in Singapore, Yew Hong, introduced me to this store selling all kinds of products for vegetarian cooking. It resembles light brown granules and it is mainly made of dried mushroom and used in place of MSG without its side effects...It comes in convenient sachets, containers and packets of various sizes and is available in many Asian stores around the world.
I use it quite a bit in a lot of my Chinese or Thai cooking...it is a life saver for vegetarians because it gives a natural flavorful taste to many dishes. And it has a lot less sodium than other seasonings. Because it comes in concentrated dry granules, use it SPARINGLY! You can always add in more later per your taste preference....
Sambal Oelek is of Malaysian and Indonesian origin. Oelek means to grind and Sambal means chilli. So it basically means ground chilli.
The one I use for most of my dishes is the type I get in the Giant grocery stores here in Bluebell, Pennsylvania. (See picture) It is ground chilli with little preservatives added. Use this Sambal Oelek when you want to add heat to your dishes without impacting the overall taste.
Or if you have a lot of time in your hands or don't want the preservatives in your food, you can make your own Sambal Oelek. Please note that this homemade version is quite spicy so use sparingly. Use a glove when handling the ground Oelek.
200 gm small red chillies
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp oil
Place the chillies in water in a small pot and simmer for 15 mins. Drain and cool.
Transfer to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process.
Place in a sealed container and refrigerate after opening.
I always used to buy this milk cheese (Paneer) from Indian groceries in Singapore. It didn't help that it came with its own preservatives and just tasted so frozen. We, Indians, use Paneer in a variety of dishes eg Paneer Tikka Masala, Palak (spinach) Paneer. and lots more.
Last weekend, I attempted to make my own cheese here in America to add to Vegetable Briyani which I made for lunch. Well well well - I was pleasantly surprised that I could make Paneer at home in less than an hour!!. You will too once you have attempted to make it. I vouch that you won't go near any frozen Paneer hence.
Since I hardly step out. because of the freezing weather and zilch social life, my blog is kind of a blessing, I guess. It keeps my mind constantly busy thinking about those dishes that I have hardly given a second thought to. As the saying goes 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop'!!
So I scrolled thru a few sites to see the best way to make cheese at home. Suggestions to curdle the milk included either lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt. Lemon juice worked well for me. Though I didn't have a choice as to the type of milk I could use( skim milk will not give the same results), it is a consolation that at least homemade cheese doesn't come with the added preservatives.
Ingredients ( yields a small 200gm block)
1 litre whole milk
6 tsps lemon juice
Warm up the milk, stirring continuously to avoid cream forming on top. When heated up enough, you will start seeing steam and the milk will rise.
Immediately, lower the fire and start adding in the lemon juice. Two tsps, stir, another 2 more tsps, stir and lastly the final 2 tsps. By this time, the milk would hv curdled and the remaining whey would look translucent.
Transfer to a cheese cloth and squeeze out the whey as much as possible.
Fold the cheesecloth and place a heavy mortar over it for 30-40 mins.
Unwrap, and you will have homemade paneer! Use it in any way you like. The remaining whey water can be used to dilute veg curries, to soften chapathis or in place of water when making rice. It is highly nutritious- don't discard.
Making Vegetable Stock is easy as ABC. I cannot emphasize how easy it is.
Throw whatever vegetables which are growing old in your refrigerator into a stock pot and add 2 litres of water, rosemary leaves ( 1 sprig fresh or 1 tsp dried), bay leaves (2) and salt. These three vegs are essential though - tomatoes, onions and ginger. I usually put in cubed bell peppers, broccoli stems, celery stalks, cabbage or lettuce leaves. Let it boil and then simmer for an hour or so. Drain. I have not given actual quantity because I don't usually measure the amount of vegetables. But because I am putting in 2 litres of water, I must ensure that I do add in a substantial amount of vegetables. Otherwise, the stock will not have any flavor. Usually 2 litres of water with vegetables yields around 1 litre of stock after simmering for an hour.
Voila ! You now have the perfect base for flavoring rice, soups and many more delicious recipes...You can add lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves if your stock is particularly for chinese dishes. The flavor is indescribable. Nothing beats a homemade stock. Keeps for a month in the refrigerator if stored in a dry container.
The picture below shows the stock I made last weekend. It looks more like a clear soup.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.