Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I often order this dish in a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant near my house. The dish is low fat but full of flavor (from the lemon grass and five spice powder). I usually pour all the sweet and sour dressings over the noodles and mix them all together. This is a cold noodle dish and can be eaten at a room temperature which is perfect as a picnic or travelling dish. What makes the BBQ TVP slices taste savory is the dry roasted rice powder which is a common use in Vietnamese cuisine.

Servings: 6

2 1/2 cups dry vegetarian protein meat slices (TVP) or Soy Curls TM
16 oz Rice noodles (same one use in Vietnamese Pho noodle) or zaru soba
2 carrots, cut into thin strips
1 cup mint leaves, shred into individual leaves
1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 cup beansprouts or shredded lettuce leaves
3 Tbsp roasted rice powder (see tip)
2 tsp canola oil
3 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

Seasonings for marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce or 2 1/2 Tbsp salty dark mushroom soy sauce mixed with 2 1/2 Tbsp water
3 tsp sugar or 1 1/2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 tsp onion or or 'chicken' or mushroom broth powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp good quality 5 spice powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1 stalk fresh lemon grass, chopped

Sweet and Sour Salad dressing:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 Tbsp vegetarian fish sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino
3 Tbsp Agave Nectar or 3 tsp sugar, or to taste
Notes: my husband don't like the sauce too sweet like in the restaurants so I made this sauce more in the sour taste.
1 tsp chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek or Korean red pepper powder, or less for less spicy

  1. If using dry TVP slices, simmer the dried veg protein in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, squeeze all the water out. Or, an alternative method which I like is to pressure cook the dry TVP slices in 3 or 4 cups water on high for 2 minutes. Then, use the quick release method. The TVP slices will be very soft. Let it cool and then squeeze the water out.
  2. If using soy curls, reconstitute them with 2 1/4 cups of hot water for 10 minutes. Then, squeeze the water out.
  3. Combine seasonings for marinade in a blender including the chopped fresh lemon grass stalk. Blend the sauce until well blended and the lemon grass is pulverized into very small bits.
  4. Mix the seasoning sauce with the veg protein (reconstituted tvp or soy cutlets) to marinade for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles in a hot boiling water for 1 minute (or soba for 4 minutes). Take it off heat and soak for a few more minutes. Test if the noodle is soft. When the noodles are soft, drain it over a colander and rinse it with cold tap water so it will stop the cooking process.
  6. Heat your indoor bbq grill or a heavy skillet like a cast iron, high heat.
  7. Saute the marinated veg protein slices. Drizzle canola oil to prevent sticking. Cook until they are brown and looked like they have been barbequed. I use an indoor BBQ grill with less oil.
  8. Remove from heat. Add 3 Tbsp of roasted rice powder and mix well. Serve in a bowl on top of the drained rice noodle or soba and vegetables with Sweet and Sour dressing on the side. Sprinkle the roasted chopped peanuts on top

    Nutrition Facts
    Nutrition (per serving): 460.1 calories; 11% calories from fat; 5.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 1499.5mg sodium; 475.2mg potassium; 84.3g carbohydrates; 2.3g fiber; 13.9g sugar; 82.0g net carbs; 25.4g protein; 9.2 points.

    Cooking Tips:
    Roasted Rice Powder: Dry fry rice on cast iron pan in medium heat until rice became opaque and light brown, about 5 minutes. Let it cool. Grind in a mini blender or a spice grinder until it becomes a powder.
    Soy Curls can be ordered from


This young jackfruit salad is served at a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant near my house. I love it so much and was able to copy it at home. It is sour and spicy like Thai Somtum (young papaya salad). It is served on top of Vietnamese sesame chips that are available in Vietnamese markets but it can be substituted with Indian pappadums. Originally, it is made with fish sauce but I am able to substitute is with vegetarian fish sauce. Bragg's Liquid Amino tastes similar to vegetarian fish sauce and can be used for this dish. With drizzles of Sriracha hot sauce, roasted peanuts, squeezed lime wedges, and chopped cilantro, this dish is crunchy, delicious, and refreshing.

Servings: 6

2 cans young jackfruit in brine (each can is 8 oz drained weight, total = 1lb.), drained,rinse in water, squeeze out the water and cut into strips (vertically according to its grain)
2 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup shallots or green onions, chopped
1 cup Thai/Vietnamese basil, loosely packed, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs vegan sugar
2 1/2 Tbs Vegetarian Fish Sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino
1 to 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dulse granules

Serve with:
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Thai/Vietnamese basil, chopped, optional
Fresh lime wedges
Sriracha hot sauce
Vietnamese sesame chips or Indian Pappadum
  1. Preheat wok. When the wok is hot, add oil, garlic, and onion. Stir fry until fragrant. Add young jackfruit strips, salt, sugar, black pepper, and vegetarian fish sauce or liquid amino. Mix and stir-fry in high heat for 10 minutes until spices are absorbed to the jackfruit. Add water to the wok to prevent sticking.
  2. Add 1tsp dulse granules, mix well. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add lemon juice and Thai/Vietnamese basil. Mix well for 1 minute.
  4. Turn off heat. Set aside jackfruit in a bowl and let it cool.
  5. Serve the salad room temperature on a plate with chopped roasted peanut and chopped cilantro/basil sprinkled on top.
  6. Dot it with Sriracha hot sauce on top and all over the salad. Each person can use the sesame crackers/pappadum to scoop the salad, dot with fresh squeezed lime juice and more vegetarian fish sauce.

    Nutrition Facts (without sesame crackers)
    Nutrition (per serving): 157.3 calories; 26% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 484.9mg sodium; 424.8mg potassium; 28.3g carbohydrates; 2.6g fiber; 2.8g sugar; 25.7g net carbs; 4.0g protein; 3.0 points.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


These potato patties are adaptation of Dutch Frikadels. The original recipe uses eggs but I managed to use chickpea flour to glue the potatoes and other ingredients together. Some people make these patties spicy, Javanese style, and use full flavor spices like chillies, coriander and cumin. These spices can be omitted to resemble the original recipe. It is a matter of taste.

I also pan fry the patties instead of deep frying to maintain my lower fat diet. The picture above is the result of pan frying. Of course, these patties are better deep fried. This is another recipe (in Indonesian) in the Internet and a picture of the deep fried ones: Deep Fried Perkedel

Servings: 8
1 lb Russet potatoes
2 clove garlic
6 clove shallots
1/2 cup dry ground TVP
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 tbsp Kecap Manis
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar or palm sugar (gula jawa)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chickpea flour (garbanzo flour)
oil for deep frying or oven frying

Javanese Style (optional):
2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground cumin seed
3 dried red chillies or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek

  1. Soak the 3/4 cup dry ground TVP in a 3/4 cup hot water to reconstitute it. Soak the dry red chillies, if using, in hot water. Let both sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Steam the potatoes (unpeeled) until tender (about 40 minutes in a steamer) or steam it in a microwave (follow the time table from manufacturer's instructions). I used my pressure cooker for 7 minutes on high and then quickly release the pressure. Carefully, remove the peel from the hot steamed potatoes. The peel should come off very easily. Let it cool slightly but make sure that they are still somewhat warm when they are mashed.
  3. While the potato is steaming, using a mortar and pestle or a mini food processer, pound the peeled garlic and shallots until it become a paste (process in the food processor for a minute). For Javanes style, add red chillies or sambal oelek and continue pounding or mixing it to a paste.
  4. Stir fry the paste in 2 tsp. oil in a wok or non-stick frying pan for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  5. In a large bowl, mash the potato with a potato masher or pestle until smooth like making mashed potato. Add the reconstituted ground TVP, the garlic, shallots, and chili paste, ground nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Add the chopped celery. Combine the lemon juice and kecap manis, then, add it to the bowl. For Javanese style, add the ground coriander and cumin seeds also.
  6. With your clean hand, mix everything thoroughly making sure there is no more potato chunks.
  7. Add the chickpea flour to the bowl, mix to form a dough. The mixture will start to firm up and will stick to your hand. You can put a little oil on your hand so the dough will not stick. Form a ball the size of a golf ball and then flatten it between your hands. The recipe makes about 24 flattened balls.
  8. Heat oil about 1-inch deep in a deep frying pan until it reaches 350 F. Deep fry the patties until golden brown. Alternative method for low fat: Pan fry patties on a non-stick frying pan sprayed with oil.

    Nutrition Facts (pan fried):Nutrition (per serving): 113.0 calories; 8% calories from fat; 1.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 394.1mg sodium; 433.1mg potassium; 21.3g carbohydrates; 2.4g fiber; 3.7g sugar; 18.9g net carbs; 5.6g protein; 1.9 points.
Tips: For a short cuts, I sometimes use store bought Indonesian fried onions (brambang goreng) instead of shallots but this will add the fat content too.


Servings: 4

3 Tbsp 'chicken' broth powder
8 cups warm water
2 cups soy curls
6 clove garlic
4-5 clove shallots
3-5 kemiri or candlenuts, optional
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp canola oil
2 Tbsp vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce
2 slices ginger
2 slices galanga or 1/4 tsp galanga powder
1 stalk lemon grass or 1/2 tsp dry lemon grass powder
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/8 tsp ground white pepper

Vegetables:3 small potatoes, steamed
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts, steamed
1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded, steamed
4 oz bean thread noodles, optional

Kecap Manis
Chili Garlic Sauce
Celery or cilantro or parsley, chopped
Lime wedges
Store bought brambang goreng or Indonesian fried shallots

  1. Combine 'chicken' broth powder and 6 cups warm water. Combine soy curls and 2 cups warm water. Set aside.
  2. Using a mini processor, grind garlic, shallots, and candlenut (kemiri), if using. Alternatively, use a mortar or pestle, pound the garlic, shallots, and candlenuts, if using, into a paste mixture. Add 1/8 tsp ground turmeric and combine.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a heavy pot or soup pot. Add the garlic, shallots, and candlenuts paste. Saute the paste mixture for 5 minutes. Add some broth to prevent sticking. Add sliced ginger and galanga, saute for another 2 minutes. Add broth, soy curls, vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce, and lemon grass. Simmer for 30 minutes. Alternatively, use a pressure cooker, cook on high for 8 minutes, quick release the pressure.
  4. While the soup is cooking, steam potatoes (with peeling), bean sprouts, and cabbage. Soak bean thread noodles (if using) in hot water until soft, then drain.

Serving the soup:Take out the ginger, lemon grass, and galanga slices from the soup. The soup should be boiling hot. The steamed vegetables and noodles are arranged in a bowl, then, laddle in the hot soup to include the soy curls. Serve the condiments on the side. Each person, if necessary, adds kecap manis, chili garlic sauce, chopped celery or cilantro, fried shallots , emping, and squeezed lime juice into the soup while eating.

Nutrition Facts (without candlenuts):Nutrition (per serving): 459.7 calories; 5% calories from fat; 2.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 778.6mg sodium; 2173.2mg potassium; 101.1g carbohydrates; 4.9g fiber; 4.0g sugar; 96.2g net carbs; 15.4g protein; 8.6 points.

Cooking Tips
I use Bill's Best Chicknish broth powder for the broth. It's delicious!

Monday, April 03, 2006


Val, my awsome Malaysian vegan friend, brought a dish she called sambal to our house one day. We really liked it. It has a spicy 'sea' taste that I love. This dish remind me of sambal udang or shrimp chili paste that I used to eat before I became a vegan. Growing up near the sea, I used to eat seafood all the time. I can't help trying to make a recipe based on Val's dish. It is really good. Adding dulse granules and nori flakes gave the dish the 'seafood' flavor. I used dry ground TVP instead of fake shrimps since I don't really like texture the fake shrimps unless they are cut into small pieces. Any green vegetables can be added to this dish, if you like. This dish is great with steamed rice and to accompany other non-spicy Indonesian dishes.

Servings: 8

2 cups dry ground TVP
1 tbsp low-salt 'chicken' broth powder or seasonings
1 tbsp dulse granules
2 tsp canola oil
1 large Nori sheet, cut into small pieces or flakes
2 tsp brown sugar or sugar
3 tbsp Tamarind water
1 tsp Salt or 1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt or to taste, optional

Sambal Ingredients:6 cloves garlic
6 cloves shallots/ 1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
3 dry red chilies, stemmed, seeded
1 large dry California or New Mexico Chili, stemmed, seeded
Tips: the use of California or New Mexico chili reduces the heat/spicyness of the dish. If you don't like hot and spicy food, you can replace the 3 dry red chilies with a New Mexico chili. The dish will be red and looks hot but it won't be.

  1. Soak the ground TVP in a 1 3/4 cup warm water to reconstitute it. Add 1 tbsp. dulse granules and 'chicken' broth powder, mix it well. Set aside for at least 20 minutes while you are preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Soak dry chilies in warm water for 10-15 minutes. Use a mini food processor, grind garlic, shallots, ginger, and chilies(sambal ingredients) into a paste. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients into a paste.
  3. Preheat wok into a high heat. Lower heat to medium, add canola oil. Stir fry sambal paste in oil for 5 minutes.

  4. Add soaked TVP ground mixture. Mix well for 1 minute. Add nori flakes, brown sugar or sugar, tamarind water or lemon juice, and vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce. Mix well for 5 minutes. Taste for saltiness and add salt if necessary.

    Nutrition Facts:Nutrition (per serving): 283.9 calories; 6% calories from fat; 2.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 352.1mg sodium; 1070.1mg potassium; 57.2g carbohydrates; 0.3g fiber; 2.6g sugar; 56.9g net carbs; 14.7g protein; 5.8 points.


Tempeh which is originated from Indonesia is usually deep fried before mixed with spices and sauces. I changed the method to baked in a oven until it is brown and crispy to cut the fat. It works well. This dish is a bit sweet and a bit sour with a touch of galanga and tamarind flavor. It is also spicy because of the green chili but it can be omitted or reduced and still tastes good.

Servings: 8

2 large pieces tempeh, cut in cubes, about 12 - 14 oz.
1/2 cup edamame
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shallots, sliced thin
1 slice laos or ginger
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin
3 red/green serano chilies, seeded, sliced thin
2 tsp canola oil

2/3 cup Tamarind water (I used a walnut size of tamarind pulp soaked in a 2/3 cup warm water)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
3 tbsp Kecap Manis or Substitution
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F while you are preparing the rest of ingredients. Spray a non-stick baking pan with oil and baked tempeh pieces for 15 minutes. The tempeh will become dry and brown. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok. Stir fry garlic and shallots for 2 minutes in medium high heat.
  3. Add laos/ginger, green or red bell pepper and green chillies for 3 minutes. Add fried tofu or tempeh, kecap manis, and 1/3 cup water, stir fry for 3 minutes. Add salt, sugar, and tamarind water and mix well. Continue to cook for 15 minutes until the sauce soaked to the tofu or tempeh. Add more water if necessary but not too much. The dish shoud be moist but not watery. Finally add the edamame and mix well for 3 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition (per serving): 139.6 calories; 39% calories from fat; 6.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 551.6mg sodium; 396.6mg potassium; 12.5g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 3.0g sugar; 11.3g net carbs; 10.6g protein; 3.1 points.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Serve 8

Broth:2 large onions
6 cloves shallots
4 oz whole ginger (about 2 large)
16 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
8 whole star anise
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 medium parsnips (about 1.5 lb total)
4 cubes vegetarian bouillon (beefy or mushroom style)
4 oz TVP slices, beefy style (1 pkg)
1 oz dried tremella mushroom or 4 oz oyster mushrooms, optional
1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce or Bragg Liquid Amino or soy sauce
12 cups water

Noodles:1 lb rice noodles for pho (1/4 inch wide)
1/2 medium onions
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves

Chili Garlic sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
Vegetarian Hoisin sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Lime wedges from 1 lime

Charring the vegetables:
  1. Peel the outer layer of the onions but not all the way, leave the last layer of the onion skin. Then, cut them in halves. Take each half and stud it with 4 whole cloves. You end up with 4 halves studded with 16 whole cloves.
  2. Pound the whole ginger (unpeeled) with something heavy like a pestle or the back of a cleaver, two or three times. Leave the skins on the shallots but rub them with paper towels to clean the outer parts.
  3. I use my oven broiler on high to broil the onion halves studded with cloves, smashed ginger roots, whole shallots on oily baking pan. Turn them over after 10 minutes. Keep turning until most of the surface are charred. This process takes about 30 minutes depending on how hot your oven is. They don't have to be all blackened and charred but the onions and shallots should become soft. Let them cool and set aside. At this point, they can be refridgerated in a container.

Making the broth:
  1. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 12 cups hot water in a large soup pot or a 7-quarts pressure cooker pot.
  2. Take out some of the blackened skins of the onions, ginger, and shallots. Put them into the prepared broth.
  3. Wrap the star anise, cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns in a cheese cloth and then tie it tight with a string. Put this spice bag in the broth pot too.
  4. Peel the parsnips and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Put them into the broth pot. Boil this mixture for at least 1 hour. The faster method is to pressure cook them on high pressure for 30 minutes (this is what I did). Then use the quick release method when it is done.
  5. While the broth is cooking, reconstitute the TVP slices in warm water. Soak the rice noodles in warm water. If using dry tremella, tear them apart in pieces, and soak them in warm water. If using oyster mushrooms, wash them and tear them apart in large pieces. Slice the 1/2 medium onion very thin and soak them in water (to remove their strong juices).
  6. Get another large pot ready and strain the ingredients that were boiled in the broth by using a colander or cloth. I throw away all the parsnips, onions, ginger, shallots, and the spices (maybe someone has an idea for the use of them?).
  7. Drain the TVPs and tremellas. Put them in the hot broth and simmer until they are soft, about 20-30 minutes. If using oyster mushrooms, put them in the last 5 minutes since they cook quickly. I use my pressure cooker to cook them in high pressure for 2 minutes, then, use the quick release method.
  8. At this time, you can add the 1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce or Bragg Liquid Amino or soy sauce. I found that I didn't have to add salt since the bouillon cubes were salty enough. You can add more soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce too but usually I serve the noodles with it on the table.

Preparing the raw vegetables and herbs:
  1. Wash the beansprouts thoroughly and then drain them in colander. Wash the mint and basil leaves thorougly and then drain in a colander. Cut the mint and bail leaves from the stalks. Serve them raw on top of a serving plate (see picture above).
Assembling the noodle bowl:
  1. Boil 8 cups of water and throw in the soaked rice noodles and let it boil again, then drain quickly. Do not overcook the rice noodles which is done quickly in 2 to 3 minutes. It is not like pasta.
  2. Divide the drained noodles among large bowls. Drain the thinly sliced onions and divide them and put them on top of the noodles.
  3. Laddle the hot and boiling soup with the TVP slices and mushrooms on top of the noodles and serve them immediately with cilantro sprigs on top and the raw vegetables and condiments on the side. Tips: the broth needs to be boiling hot before you laddle it on the noodles.
Notes:About the base broth, it is important to use a good tasting 'beefy' or 'mushroomy' bouillon cubes. I use this brand of bouillon cubes: Porcini Bouillon cubes It was recommended byBryanna.
Dried tremella can be found in Chinese markets.

Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 649.2 calories; 3% calories from fat; 2.7g total fat; 0.3mg cholesterol; 536.0mg sodium; 1800.0mg potassium; 141.8g carbohydrates; 11.1g fiber; 11.1g sugar; 130.7g net carbs; 22.0g protein; 12.4 points