#4 Brazil: Vegetarian feijoada

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brazilThe next port of call in this vegetarian odyssey is Brazil (which in my mind is Braaaa-ziiiil accompanied by whistles, whoops and cheers). Let’s make this one a real culinary carnival! First thing’s first: before you start any of the cooking, get some Brazilian music playing in your kitchen. Now you’re ready! I might do the musical accompaniment thing for all subsequent dishes, as it adds to the whole experience!

I have chosen a vegetarian feijoada. Feijoada is a stew of beans, beef and pork, traditional in Portugal, variations of which have also become traditional in its former colonies, including Brazil. Although a meat and bean-based dish, it can be made as a vegetarian stew too. All of the ingredients are readily available in UK supermarkets, although I did have to hunt around a bit for the chipotle chillies. Chipotles are jalapeno chillies that have been smoke-dried. Full of flavour, but also very hot; “Firey” according to the label on the pack I bought, so handle with care!

This is a cracking dish; easy to make, filling and with great flavours. I took a chance by using 2 of the chipotles and it was fine, not too fiery. I am sure that this stew is great nutritionally: it feels like it could give you the energy to samba all night long!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 x 380g packs of black beans in water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 – 2 chipotle chillies, chopped (up to you how hot you want to go!)
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Cooked rice (white or brown)

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and chipotle chillies for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the black beans (including liquid), chopped sweet potatoes, and thyme and cook for a further 25 to 30 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the parsley and salt and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.
  4. Spoon the rice into bowls and ladle the feijoada over the top.

Acknowledgement: This recipe was adapted from one I found on Food.com.

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#3 Morocco: Lemon and mint aubergine tagine with almond couscous

morocco taginemorocco-flagThis ‘Moroccan-inspired’ tagine is as delicious as it is easy to make and has become an instant favourite with me. It has a great mix of flavours and textures and I would definitely recommend it as a great dish to impress dinner guests. For a more authentic taste, go stronger on the lemon (an option is to add lemon zest). The vegetarian tagines I tried in Marrakesh a few years ago were distinctive for their strong citrus flavour, which was not entirely to my taste, but this dish works perfectly well with more subtle lemon flavouring.  The simple combination of natural yogurt, crushed garlic and chopped mint is so refreshing and really compliments the overall taste and appearance.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 350g aubergines (1 large or 1 1/2 medium-sized aubergines)
  • Lemon juice (a couple of good squeezes or add lemon zest for stronger flavour)
  • 390g tin butter beans
  • 175g couscous
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • 150g natural yogurt, mixed with ½ crushed garlic clove and 2 tbsp chopped mint

Method

  1. Chop the onion and garlic and fry in a large non-stick pan for 5 minutes. Stir in the harissa paste, cumin and cinnamon, and cook briefly, before adding the stock and tomatoes.
  2. Chop the aubergine into chunks and add to the pan, together with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Cover the pan and cook gently for 15-20 mins until the aubergines are tender. Add the butter beans and warm through for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the couscous following pack instructions, then stir in the almonds. Serve the aubergine tagine on the couscous, topped with the yogurt and garnished with mint leaves.

Acknowledgement: This recipe was based on a recipe I found on BBC Good Food.

#2 Hungary: Főzelék (creamed vegetables)

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Eastern Europe was a topic of conversation in the pub last night, and for that reason I have decided to go to Hungary for my next recipe.  It was a toss-up between this Főzelék and a Lecsó (green pepper and tomato stew) which also looks very nice.  In both cases it appears that there is a lot of variation, and you can put pretty much what you want into either.  That’s just as well, because I was unable to source one of the suggested ingredients for this – kohlrabi – which was a bit disappointing because I was looking forward to trying a vegetable I’ve never eaten before!  To my surprise Morrisons does actually sell kohlrabi, but had sold out of it when I rocked up looking for some, so I have substituted turnips instead in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes (quartered)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 200g diced carrots (2 large ones)
  • 200g diced turnips (3 small ones)
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tblsp chopped parsley

Method

  1. Put the quartered potatoes in a saucepan in 400ml of water with the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5  minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, turnips, frozen peas, chopped parsley and milk and cook for a further 15 minutes or so.
  3. Scoop out the potato pieces and mash in a bowl before returning to the saucepan.
  4. Stir in the mashed potato and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes or more until the vegetables are all fully cooked through and the flavours have combined in the creamy sauce.
  5. Serve with fried eggs and a sprinkling of paprika.

Acknowledgement: This recipe was based on a recipe posted on visitbudapest.travel.

#1 Thailand: Thai green vegetable curry

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thailandSo I’ve decided to start this vegetarian food blog in Thailand with this simple yet delicious Thai green curry recipe.   I am a normal person with a busy life, not a hardcore foodie, so these recipes may include some shop-bought/pre-made ingredients.  In this case I bought the Thai green curry paste from the Asian food stall on my local market, rather than something from the supermarket.  It is well worth seeking out the real thing – I used Mae Ploy which is made in Thailand – as the strong authentic flavours in the paste are what make the curry so good (and give it a real kick too!).  The curry is equally good served with rice or rice noodles and is especially tasty with curried (Singapore) noodles.  This recipe also works well with Quorn pieces instead of the mushrooms.

A nice optional extra – which I forgot this time – is to add some roasted cashew nuts on top to serve.  Dry roast a handful in a frying pan as the very first thing you do, then put to one side until you need them at the end.

Ingredients

  • Baby corn
  • Mange tout
  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 2 tbsp Green Thai curry paste
  • 2 400 ml tins Coconut milk
  • Rice noodles
  • Unsalted cashew nuts (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes in a little oil.
  2. Add the green Thai curry paste and continue to stir fry for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring well to make sure the paste has fully mixed in.
  4. Gently simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Whilst the curry is simmering, heat through the noodles, and then serve together. Top with roasted cashew nuts.

Acknowledgement: I adapted this recipe from one I found on realfood.tesco.com