Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"Geez Vegan Ronin," you may be thinking, "you've been quiet for a month and now a flood of delicious recipes! I may have a mind explosion trying to figure out which one to make first!"

I may have been quiet faithful readers, but I was not dormant. I am returning to the States in a few days and want to make sure this will tide you over for a week!

I have plenty of things lined up for you! But tonight I must continue to prepare for my vegetarian cooking demo for some Japanese housewives! Maybe you'll learn a thing or two from it later =)

Enjoy the many recipes!!!

Shoujin ryouri

"Shoujin ryouri (精進料理) is a type of vegan cuisine that was developed by Japanese Buddhist monks. It is based on a foundation of vegetables and rice, and various vegetable proteins."

It is also amazing and amazingly hard to find on average in Japan, because the Japanese love to make the EXACT SAME FOOD but put fish stock in it (stocks, sauces, soups, dips, EVERYTHING).

So if you are in Japan, head up to Koya-san in Wakayama Prefecture which is littered with vegan monks and shoujin ryouri abound!

Before we get to cooking, lets take a look at some real traditional shoujin ryouri (top left, clockwise):

Dinner:Gomatofu (sesame seed block), green konyakku, rice noodles, fruit, mustard dipping sauce, beer, wakame soup with tofu skin and gluten balls, oily soup (in center) with tofu skin and veggies, hot green tea, pickled vegetables, rice

Dinner:Soba (buckwheat noodles) with mushrooms, pears, vegetable tempura, stuffed tofu, koyadofu (dried tofu), konbu seaweed

Breakfast: tofu burger, wrapped seaweed, stick potatoes with plum sauce ("eggs"), soy jerky, miso soup with gluten chunks, hot green tea, rice, pickled veggies, cold greens (center)

Lunch: gomatofu, veggie & fruit tempura, tempura dipping sauce, hot soba soup, cold veggies: koyadofu, konbu, veggies, tofu burger & soy jerky, rice, pickled vegetables, and cold greens (center)

After eating all this amazing food, I wanted to make my own version of shoujin ryouri... so I did!

Black goma tofu, dengaku eggplant with extra sauce, tandoori veggies, rice with beans and grains, soba noodle soup with gluten balls (fu), tempura & curry salt, tempeh bacon, stir fry rice noodles

Tempura: sweet potato, kabocha pumpkin, broccoli, mushrooms with mix of curry powder & salt to dip them in, tempeh bacon, rice noodles stir fry (soy sauce & sesame oil)

Tandoori veggie kebabs: Mix of tandoori paste and oil which I marinated tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and tofu, then grilled.

Dengaku Eggplant: Dengaku- sweet miso sauce is a mix of miso, sugar, mirin and stock. Placed on eggplant then grilled with sesame seeds on top.

Goma tofu: Actually, there's no tofu in it! It is sesame seeds crushed an pressed together to look like a block of tofu. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi. It is one of my favorite foods.

Let this bring inspiration to make your own mini-feast!!! The only thing that's holding you back are how many plates you have =)

British Scones

British scones are different than American scones. They're not flaky and are more like a soft, slightly sweet biscuit. Eat them warm with jam! British omni-monkey approved.

Vegan Scones by Charlotte O'Leary

8oz self-raising flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1½oz soya margarine, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp caster sugar
150ml/4¼fl oz soya milk, plus extra for glazing
To serve
strawberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and rub in the soya margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the sugar and mix together thoroughly.
4. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and slowly pour in the soya milk, stirring with a metal spoon. Bring the mixture together until it forms a dough.
5. Generously flour a large board and knead the dough for five minutes. Roll it out to a thickness of about 2.5cm/1in and, using a fluted 9cm/3in cutter, cut rounds from the dough.
6. Place the rounds on a greased and floured non-stick baking tray, and glaze the top using the extra soya milk.
7. Cook in the top of the oven for about 15 minutes, until a deep golden brown colour.
8. Leave to cool.
9. Serve with strawberry jam.

This recipe is from the BBC vegetarian recipe site.

*Make your own self-rising flour, Mix:
1 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pot stickers

a.k.a. gyoza or Chinese dumplings

This recipe is pretty organic, working with what you have! I think mushrooms make a pretty good filling (in lieu of fake meat), I added some tofu just to bulk it up.

Mushrooms (pack), diced
Onions (1/2), diced
Tofu (1/2 block), drained & crumbled
carrot (1/2 stick),
sesame oil*
small bowl of water

Pack of pot sticker wrappers**
oil for frying

*Sesame oil really makes this meal, so try to use it!
**Big grocery stores don't really carry vegan wrappers, but little Asian stores do.

1. Stir fry all the veggies and tofu together with a little sesame oil until all the vegetables are soft and the liquid is gone. Remove from heat.

2. Place about a small tablespoon size scoop of filling in the middle of a wrapper.

3. Dab your finger in the bowl of water and rub along half of the edge of the wrapper, making a semi circle. This will keep it together.

4. Bring edges together and pinch together while trying to make sure the air is pressed out. (There are also pot sticker presser which makes it a little easier!).

5. When you are finished, heat a frying pan on medium heat. Place pot stickers in pan and cover with a lid to steam the top (you will not flip them).

6. When the bottom is nice and brown, flip them out onto a plate!

Serve with a soy dipping sauce!

Maple smoked tempeh bacon

Just a nice little snack!

1 pack of tempeh
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce (or liquid smoke)
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cut tempeh into strips

2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, Tabasco sauce, and salt in a shallow bowl or container.

3. Place tempeh strips in mixture to soak.

4. Marinate for one hour, turning at least once.

5. In an oiled frying pan on med-low heat, fry tempeh strips for about 5 minutes each side until crispy!
Place in toaster over and toast til crispy!

Eat by themselves, in a sandwich with lettuce & tomato, in a salad, etc!

Tofu Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu, a fried pork cutlet, is a very popular dish in Japan. Imagine my surprise when I opened up The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh and saw its fatty fried vegan twin staring back at me! You use freeze dried tofu (called "koyadofu") which gives it a nice texture when rehydrated. It even passed omni-monkey's taste test. It's a little work, but SO worth it!

This is the exact recipe from The Asian Vegan Kitchen and you NEED to go buy this AWESOME book RIGHT NOW!!

"8 cakes koyadofu, about 6 ounces (170g) in total
All-purpose flour for dusting
1 C (125g) all-purpose flour
1/2 C (120 ml) water
1 C (100g) breadcrumbs (panko)
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Shredded white cabbage, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Tonkatsu sauce

2 C (480 ml) dashi stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon mirin
1/2 inch (1 cm) cube fresh giner, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic

I used 5 large blocks that was about 6oz/170g

1. Soak the koyadofu cakes in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain.

2. In a saucepan use a large pan!!, combine the simmering sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Put in the drained koyadofu and simmer for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until all the liquid is absorbed.

3. Dab the koyadofu in the dusting flour. Mix 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup of water to make a thick paste. Dip the floured koyadofu in the flour-and-water paste, then roll each cake int he bread crumbs. Set aside.

4. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 350F (180C). Slide the breaded tofu pieces into the oil in batches and deep-fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and tonkatsu sauce."