Category Archives: Mains

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

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I love Thai food, especially the coconut curries.  I find myself making Thai red curry once every other week.  Unfortunately, last night when I went to make a batch, I discovered I was all out of coconut milk.  So, in the interest of satisfying my curry craving and maintaining a level of creativity my weekly menus often lack, I tried to combine fried rice with the red curry ingredients I had on hand.  The results, I must say, were surprisingly delicious.

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

1 tsp salt
1 small eggplant, diced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ – ½ large red onion, chopped
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
3 kaffir lime leaves (substitute 2 bay leaves if you don’t have kaffir leaves)
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 cups cold rice
2 eggs
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
¼ cup chopped green onions or Thai basil leaves
Juice of ½ lime or lemon

Begin by placing eggplant in a bowl and dust with salt. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a large wok.  Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent (about 4 minutes).

Add red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves.  Fry the paste until it begins to separate from the oil and becomes fragrant (1-2 minutes).

Rinse and drain the eggplant.  Add the eggplant and the chopped garlic to the wok.  Heat until the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 minutes).

Add the bell pepper, pineapple, and tomatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes, still over medium to medium-high heat.

Add rice and stir well to coat.  Heat the rice through (about 3 minutes).

In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the pepper and soy sauce.  In the wok, push the rice to the sides creating a “volcano crater” with the metal as the bottom.  Add the egg mixture to this hole.  Allow it to cook until the tops of the eggs begin to set.  Then, stir the egg pieces into the rice.

Add oyster sauce and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 more minutes.  During the last 30 seconds of the cooking process, stir in your choice of green onions or basil (or both if you want to get wild) as well as your lemon or lime juice.  Enjoy!

(Makes 2-3 servings)

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Chickpea Tacos

Chickpea Tacos

Tex Mex is certainly one of my all-time favorite foods. Since becoming vegetarian, real meaty tacos are about the only non-rabbit food dish that I crave. For a while, I substituted TVP for meat, but I found the substance unreliable. Plus, who knows what’s in that stuff?

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this Instructable for chickpea tacos. Chickpeas are the perfect substitute for taco meat. I think I even prefer chickpea tacos to real meat tacos. As an added bonus, this dish is super quick and easy to prepare.
So, here is my version of chickpea tacos. I hope you give it a try for your next taco night.

Chickpea Tacos

1 Tbsp oil
1 14.5 oz or 433 g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 Tbsp water
1 lime
tortilla shells
salsa and cilantro for garnish

Cut onion into thin slices and mince garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chickpeas and onion. Cook, stirring often, until chickpeas begin to brown. Add garlic and taco seasoning. Allow this to cook, stirring very frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, deglaze the pan with the juice from half the lime and the tablespoon of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get off any seasoning stuck there. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes, and then turn off the heat. Serve this delicious mixture in heated tortilla shells. Top with salsa and fresh cilantro.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Feel free to comment with any variations or suggestions you may have.

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October 29, 2013 · 12:22 am

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning is one of those things that is difficult to find in Taiwan. True, it’s not impossible, but it is difficult.

For a while, I had my mother ship my favorite seasoning from the States. But, one day I was really craving tacos. Naturally, I was out of taco seasoning. That’s when I learned just how easy it is to make your own taco seasoning from common spice rack ingredients.

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I prefer the following combination of spices, but I have also seen recipes including onion powder, oregano, or cayenne pepper. So, experiment with different ingredients to find your favorite combination.

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp paprika
½ Tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic pepper (You can substitute garlic powder and a little pepper.)
½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp dried pepper (You can substitute cayenne pepper or red chili flakes here)

Combine all ingredients and store in an old spice container or baby food jar. Use 1/8 cup of taco seasoning to spice one pound of meat.

Of course, you can also use this taco seasoning with my chickpea tacos recipe.

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October 28, 2013 · 10:12 am

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles

One of the best things about living in Taiwan is the availability of cheap, fresh ingredients. We have a little fresh market around the corner from our apartment. It sells a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as freshly made noodles.

Occasionally, we stop after work to pick up a package of chopped stir-fry vegetables. These packs also include some seasoning like garlic, ginger, or cilantro and a form of protein like tofu or chicken. Today, we bought a package full of bell peppers, tofu, and garlic. I added some basil, snap peas, and fresh rice noodles to make my version of Thai Drunken Noodles for less than $4 US. The recipe is as follows:

3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 package pressed tofu
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 chili pepper (I used a green chili)
1 package rice noodles
1 cup Thai basil
1/4 cup additional oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bell peppers
1 cup snap peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 green onions
(Or any vegetables you have on hand)

Begin by whisking together vinegar, oyster sauce, pepper, white sugar, and chili. Marinate the tofu in the mixture while preparing the remainder of the vegetables. Soak the package of rice noodles in warm water for about five minutes. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add chopped garlic. Cook until softened. Add tofu and its marinade. Heat until the sauce begins to thicken (about 4 minutes). Add in the noodles, additional oyster sauce, soy sauce, and any vegetables you are using. Cook for an additional five minutes. Enjoy!

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May 8, 2013 · 1:21 pm