Monday, 29 August 2011

Slightly oriental lentil and rice bake

Genuine experiment this one... Basically it's an attempt at a Asian inspired lentil and rice bake. Worked pretty well. Lovely texture. The coconut didn't come through as strong as I expected but the lemon zest lifts the whole thing. Next time might get some lemongrass in there too. Worth doing again.


One onion, finely chopped
Tbsp vegetable oil
One carrot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
One cup finely chopped pointy cabbage
Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Tsp chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp agave syrup or sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Tsp sesame oil
1 cup dried red lentils
200 ml vegetable stock
400 ml coconut milk
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp corn meal
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Salt and some extra fresh coriander, to hurl in at the last moment!


Fry the onion in a large frying pan or wok until it starts to go translucent and is about to brown, around 5-10 minutes. Then add the carrot, garlic and cabbage and cook for a further ten minutes. Keep stirring by the way! Then add the dry lentils, and then the herbs, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and oil. Stir through, let the vinegar cook off a little, and then add the vegetable stock and coconut milk. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender after 20 minutes or so. Stir through the margarine, then sprinkle over the corn meal and stir in, then cook for a further 5 minutes.

Now mix in the cooked rice. Stir through. At this point I added a little salt and some fistfuls of extra fresh herbs to add extra flavour. Press the mixture into a well greased loaf tin and cook, covered with foil, for 25 minutes.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Vegan chinese-style dumplings

Apologies for the slight absence on the food blog - I've not stopped cooking or eating, just struggled to find the time to take snaps of things as they were made. Will attempt to improve my behaviour from here on in.

Anyway today's recipe is born out of necessity. We couldn't find any dim sum/vegetable dumplings in our local chinese supermarket that didn't have MSG in them, so I decided to have a bash myself. Turns out it's pretty easy. You can prepare a load of dumplings and set them aside for later or even freeze them for a day or so. All pretty easy.


Tbsp veg oil
Half an onion, finely chopped
Two medium carrots, finely chopped
150g shredded green cabbage
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
150g dry weight fine noodles (rice or wheat)
Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1tsp mirin (or sugar)
2 tsp sesame oil

350g dumpling flour
200 ml cold water


Gently fry the onion, carrot,cabbage, mushrooms and garlic in the vegetable oil until softened a little. Just five minutes or so should do it. Then added the coriander and chives and cook for a further five minutes. Cook the noodles as per instructions (mine took just two minutes) and then add these to the pan, too. Stir through gently. Next add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and mirin and stir through. That's the filling sorted, which you can set to one side,

Mix the dumpling flour and water into a bread-style dough and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Separate into quarters and, a quarter at at time, roll out into a thin sheet. Now use a large round cutter to cut out 15cm diameter circles (don't worry if they're a bit bigger or smaller, get as close as you can). Now you're ready to make the dumplings. Add a tablespoon of your dumpling mixture to the middle of the round, then wet one edge with cold water, fold over and seal to create a semi-circular dumpling. Repeat to prepare all your dumplings.

Now you have two choices - you can either steam or fry the dumplings. I was naughty and fried these today, but steaming works just as well. Serve up with a little soy sauce in bowl, or another dipping sauce such as sweet chilli or plum if you have it to hand.

Variations: you could pretty much introduce any finely minced veg into the dumpling filling, or small cubes of tofu or fried TVP, and you don't have to use the noodles. Have a play and make some  dumplings!