Monday 17 June 2013

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

Well, I suppose I am being a bit cheeky calling this "egg" fried rice as there is nothing eggy about it, I've not used the "vegg" or even black salt here - tofu fried rice would be more apt but I have completely based this recipe on the process of egg fried rice so we'll stick with that! 

I used to LOVE egg fried rice back when I was vegetarian, and that's despite not even being a huge fan of eggs! I remember when I was pregnant with my son I had massive cravings for it and made it through huge bowls of the stuff, especially in those last 2 months ;-)

I'm quite particular about it too, and I'm clearly not the only one - the article I've based this recipe on contained a huge list of comments about what people think should or should not be in egg fried rice. For me, it's onions fried until sweet and golden brown, definitely peas, definitely NOT carrot, seasoned simply with soy sauce and a bit of black pepper and spring onion only thrown in at the end.

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

That just leaves the main ingredient - egg. The type I used to make involved making a large flat omelette and dicing it up and adding it to the fried rice. This would have been quite easy to veganize by simply making a thin tofu omelette and dicing it up the same way but I came across this Guardian article on the perfect egg fried rice and decided to try a different way. 

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

The article author tried several different methods of making egg fried rice but settled on Ken Hom's way of pouring over beaten egg and stirring it in vigorously until EACH grain of rice is absorbed  with egg and you have a vibrantly yellow coloured rice with NO noticeable bits of egg in there at all. I loved this idea! Plus, I figured it would be a perfect method of cooking egg fried rice using silken tofu instead of eggs. *whispers* It's also a great way of secretly getting some tofu and thus protein into unsuspecting family members - ssshh!

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

I first made up my "eggs" by blending firm silken tofu with turmeric, salt, pepper and as Mr. Hom adds it to his eggs - toasted sesame oil. This really adds to the end flavour of the dish and is a most welcome addition.

I was too eager to try this rice right away and I didn't have any cold leftover rice to use so I just cooked up some basmati rice fresh. I then fried some onion until golden, added the rice, peas, soy sauce and some of the tofu egg mixture and fried it up. I ended up with what can only be called a congealed mass of rice porridge - sticky and mushy BUT my God it was absolutely delicious!! As Ken Hom insists you use cold leftover rice I cooked up some more rice, cooled it quickly and got it in the fridge to try again the next day.

Second try I used the cold rice and only half of the amount of tofu egg mixture that I used the first time so it wouldn't be as 'stodgy' and the texture was perfect!  It had intact individual grains of rice each coated in the yummy sesame/tofu egg mixture but this time the flavour wasn't as "wow" as the first dish. I realized this was because when I halved the amount of tofu mixture I also halved the amount of flavour going into the dish.

Vegan Egg Fried Rice


The third attempt I made the tofu/egg mixture again but doubled the flavourings of turmeric/salt/pepper and toasted sesame oil to ensure that the flavour in the end fried rice is spot on, and finally.....success! This was just perfect - the flavour in this fried rice is incredible - lusciously rich due to the seasoned tofu (with absolutely NO taste of tofu anywhere) and the texture was spot on - no congealed mass of rice porridge this time! I don't often use the word perfect in my recipe titles but after so many test runs for this one, it feels right :-)

Note - you can also make this with brown basmati rice, it tastes great and best of all you don't have to use cold rice if you are using brown. Just boil, drain and rinse and you can use it right away with no stickiness :-) Personally, I stick with white as it's how I prefer my "egg" fried rice but it's another option for you!

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

Perfect Vegan Egg Fried Rice

Serves 2

• 150g (2/3 cups) dry weight white basmati or jasmine rice - you'll need 350g or 2¾ cups cooked rice.
• 1 Tbsp peanut oil
• 1/2 cup/ 70g/1 small diced white onion
• 1/2 cup/75g frozen peas (I like petite pois here)
• 1 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1/3 cup/22g spring onions, chopped
• 1/2 cup/125ml of the tofu/egg mixture - recipe follows

Tofu Egg Mixture - note: this makes enough for 4 servings of egg fried rice.

• 300g firm silken tofu (UK/IRE readers - I use Clearspring Organic Tofu)
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
• 1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper

First, make the tofu egg mixture by blending all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. You may have to shake the blender a couple of times and stop and scrape down the sides but it will get going. Please note that the mixture will taste too salty and strong at this point but don't fret - it all gets toned down in the final dish! Use right away or transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. 

There are 2 options for the rice - using cold leftover rice for the optimum texture or with a few tricks you can make it fresh with only slight stickiness - a slight compromise for rice straight away :-)

If you have time to plan in advance, then wash the raw rice really well until the water runs clear, this is to remove all the excess starch. Bring a large pot of just lightly salted water to the boil and add the rice. Give it a stir, put the lid on, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes until tender, giving it a stir a couple of times. Note - make sure you don't over salt the water, the rice will absorb too much and the end dish will be too salty - the egg mixture is seasoned enough.

Drain in a fine sieve and rinse well with hot water. Shake off all excess water then spread out on a large plate to cool quickly. Stir the rice a couple times to help it cool down fast and once at room temperature tip the rice into a bowl, cover and pop it in the fridge. Make sure you get it into the fridge within an hour - health and safety and all that!

If you need the egg fried rice today then you also wash the raw rice well, cook as above, drain and rinse with boiling water but then pop it back into the pot and heat, stirring gently on low heat just until all excess water is gone and the rice looks dryer. If you do it this way make sure your stir fry is ready for the rice once the rice is cooked.

To make the fried rice: heat 1/2 Tbsp of the peanut oil in a large wok on high heat and add the onion. Fry until soft and golden brown. Add the other 1/2 Tbsp of oil and let it get hot, now add the rice and fry until the rice is well coated in oil and hot. Spread it out to make sure it all gets cooked, if it starts to stick, turn the heat down a bit. Add the peas, give it a stir then add the 1/2 cup of tofu mixture. Stir gently whilst frying until each grain of rice is coated and the mixture cooks down and looks drier, this takes maybe 5 minutes, you'll know when it's done as each grain of rice won't look so wet. Also, don't worry if the mixture sticks here and there, my wok ends up in a right state after this :-D Stir in the soy sauce and fry for another minute or so then turn off the heat and stir in the spring onion. Split into 2 bowls and serve immediately!

Vegan Egg Fried Rice

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving.

Calories: 439
Protein: 14.2g
Fat: 13.4g
Sat Fat: 1.7g
Carbs: 68.5g
Sugar: 3.7g
Fibre: 3.0g
Sodium: 1087mg

To Accompany this Dish:

Crispy Fried Tofu
Spicy Teriyaki Sauce
Veggie Spring Rolls
Soy Mince Wontons

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Sparkling Cherry Limeade

Sparkling Cherry Limeade

Another cherry recipe! I have very few drink recipes on the blog, something I should really work on....those I do are mostly alcoholic as well :-) Well, this one is alcohol free and healthy to boot! Simply fresh cherries, fresh lime juice, a minimal amount of sweetness and sparkling water. It's really refreshing and very *adult* like - I love that it's not overly sweet, even a bit tart....sigh, coming from someone who grew up drinking the sickly sweet orange/grape and lime Crush, this is a major development!! Plus, the whole recipe is only 86 calories, only 43 a glass :-)

Sparkling Cherry Limeade

Sparkling Cherry Limeade
makes 2 (or 1 large!)

• 3/4 - 1 cup fresh sweet cherries, washed and pitted
• 1 lime, juiced - sieve out bits
• 1 Tbsp syrup sweetener - I use light Sweet Freedom, you can use light agave or maple syrup instead.
• sparkling water

Place the cherries, lime juice and syrup into a blender and blend until smooth. Push through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. Distribute between 2 medium sized glasses and top up with chilled sparkling water, giving it a good stir. It will foam up, just let it die down and top up some more. Taste, and if you would like it sweeter simply add more syrup - a lot of the sweetness will depend on the cherries. Add some ice and if you like a slice of lime and a cherry for decoration :-)

Note - the "concentrate" does not keep well so use it right away!

Sparkling Cherry Limeade

....and a first for the blog - photo's taken OUTSIDE!! In typically comedic fashion I was literally running around trying to take these pictures outside fearing the fleeting Irish sun was going to disappear on me....

Son: "why are you running around???" 
Son: "good luck with that...."

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Wednesday 5 June 2013

Cherry Vinaigrette

Cherry Vinaigrette

It might be hard to believe that cherries are one of my absolute favourite fruits given the almost complete lack of any cherry recipes here. Thing is, I love them so much I just want to eat them - using them in a recipe feels like a waste! 

That being said I bought a little *too* many cherries a while back (yes, even for me!) and looked into some recipes to make with them. As I'm dieting at the moment I didn't want to go down the sweet route and came across this cherry vinaigrette recipe.

Cherry Vinaigrette

I made a few personal changes and came up with this - it's lovely! A really sharp vinaigrette with just a hint of cherry taste, that little bit of sweetness from the cherries a real nice complement. I tend to always stick to my all time favourite balsamic dressing for most things but this will be a welcome summer addition :-)

Cherry Vinaigrette

Cherry Vinaigrette

• 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp syrup - I use light Sweet Freedom, light agave or maple syrup can be used instead
• 60g or 1/3 cup washed, pitted and chopped sweet cherries
• ½ tsp Dijon mustard
• 1/8 tsp salt
• freshly ground black pepper - I used 3 grinds

Add all to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a sieve to remove any bits and that's it! Recipe makes a fairly small amount but it's quite a strong dressing, only a little is needed :-)

Cherry Vinaigrette

Now, I'm only blogging the dressing here as really, I like it just with crisp bright green leaves of romaine but cherries and walnuts go beautifully together! Whatever salad you choose to have this with, I highly recommend adding some toasted walnuts....a crumbling of the baked almond feta wouldn't go amiss either :-)

Mixed Greens, Toasted Walnuts and Cherry Vinaigrette

Nutritional Information: per 100g of dressing.

Calories: 593
Protein: 0.9g
Fat: 60.2g
Sat Fat: 8.6g
Fibre: 1.8g
Carbs: 19.4g
Sugar: 16.6g
Sodium: 501.5mg

Dark Chocolate filled Raspberries

Dark Chocolate filled Raspberries

Just an idea for you today rather than a recipe - these are absolutely delicious, super easy and really quite a healthy sweet!

I saw the idea of filling strawberries with chocolate on Pinterest and as someone who has always loved chocolate covered strawberries I thought this would make an even easier way too eat them. You pare out a hole from the strawberry and fill with dark chocolate. 

Dark Chocolate filled Strawberries

It was good but was a bit fiddly with all the paring out, plus my strawberries were too big to eat in one bite which meant they were just as messy to eat as the chocolate covered type, you know, with chocolate crumbling everywhere!

Enter raspberries - bite sized and no paring necessary! Perfect. I've always loved dark chocolate and raspberry together so this was an easy match.

Dark Chocolate filled Raspberries -

Simply melt some dark vegan chocolate of your choice, I used the microwave to melt and used 50g of chopped chocolate but only used about 20g. Scrape it all into a ziplock baggy, placing this in a mug or glass makes it easier, then snip off the tiniest of corner of the bag. 

To make them easy to fill I placed my raspberries in an empty ice cube tray - 2 fit upright in each cube hole. Then simply pipe the chocolate in. When done place in the fridge to set - mine were set in about an hour.

They work out at about 5 calories each - nice :-)

Monday 3 June 2013

Smoky Potato, Cabbage and Chickpea Skillet

Smoky Potato, Cabbage and Chickpea Skillet

I whipped this up for lunch the other day with some leftover bits I had in the fridge and it was so quick (about 15 minutes), easy and delicious! Recipe is based on and adapted from Heidi Swanson's White bean and cabbage from Super Natural Every Day. If you've been following my blog for any length of time you'll know I love her. Easily my favourite blogger and cookbook author, simply everything I've ever made by her has turned out and been stunning, most have become regular staples in our house.

I made quite a few changes to this one only because I suppose I was in that mood - changing things about a bit, quantity wise and with what I had on hand. Mostly, I have added a smoky aspect here using smoked paprika and smoked sea salt as those flavours go so beautifully with cabbage and potatoes. Further, I used chickpeas as I had some leftover in the fridge but also as I prefer them to white beans in this type of dish. Lastly, I grated some Vegusto mild over top in place of the parmesan and it just finished the dish off perfectly. It has a sharp taste reminiscent of an extra mature cheddar and was gorgeous with this. 

Smoky Potato, Cabbage and Chickpea Skillet

Smoky Potato, Cabbage and Chickpea Skillet
serves 1

• ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 70g baby new potatoes (about 2), scrubbed and diced tiny - leave skins on.
• 1 shallot, halved and sliced thin
• 50g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 100g cabbage, thinly sliced
• ¼ tsp smoked sea salt
• ½ tsp smoked paprika
• freshly ground black pepper
• Vegusto mild or piquant, finely grated - cheezly parm would be nice too.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, skillet or as I used, wok - but make sure you have a lid or something you can fashion as a lid. Add the tiny diced potato, ¼ tsp of the smoked paprika and 1/8 tsp of the smoked sea salt and stir. Pop the lid on and fry gently, removing the lid now and again to give it a stir, until the potato is cooked and getting slightly crispy, about 5 - 7 minutes.

Add the shallots and chickpeas and fry until the shallots are soft and the chickpeas are heated through and getting slightly browned. If it seems a little dry pop the lid on to let things sweat a little.

Add the cabbage, the other 1/8 tsp of smoked sea salt and the other ¼ tsp of smoked paprika and stir well. Add a splash of water - about a tablespoon and fry over medium heat until the cabbage just starts to wilt and any excess liquid is cooked off.

Transfer to a bowl and top with a good grating of Vegusto mild and some freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Smoky Potato, Cabbage and Chickpea Skillet

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 236
Protein: 7g
Fat: 8.7g
Sat Fat: 1.2g
Fibre: 5.8g
Carbs: 30.5g
Sugar: 4.3g
Sodium: 426mg

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