Darn Fine Fast Food: Sesame Noodle Bowl for the Lazy Vegan.

DSC_0398You know when you are back from work a bit late and you haven’t really planned anything for dinner? You then start to pick out ingredients from the seemingly empty cupboards at random. You start adding the stuff together, praying that it will be somewhat tasty although at this stage you do not really care for taste – you just want calories. And then, by some miracle, the dish you have created turns out to be a really tasty one. You are not sure whether it tastes this great merely because you are at this point of starvation, or because there might be a slight chance that you are somewhat of a genius.

Well, there is only one way to find out. This dish here, let us call it a Sesame Noodle Bowl – seeing as that seems to be a word of trend in the culinary world as of now -, is the result of this scenario described above.

I have since had it again and again… The verdict stands as clear as that first hangry Monday evening: This here is some darn fine fast food! And here is how it is done ↓
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SESAME NOODLE BOWL

Tahini Dressing
− 1 heaped tbsp tahini
− 1 tbsp soy sauce (or tahini for GF)
− 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
− 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
− 1 tsp lemon juice
− 1-2 tsp sweetener, like agave or maple syrup
− 1 tsp sesame seeds (opt)
ADJUST TO TASTE

− 1 portion rice noodles
− 1-2 nori sheets
− veggies of choice: I used carrot, avocado, tomato and cucumber.

Start by putting on the kettle.
Meanwhile, stir together the ingredients to the dressing in a mug or such.
Once water has boiled, soak noodles according to package instructions (and use the same bowl as you’ll later eat from – saves dishes!).
Spare a little of the hot water, a table spoon or so, and add to the dressing to dilute. While waiting for the noodles, slice and peel and chop your vegetables of choosing.
Once noodles are done, toss with dressing. Add your veggies on top and dinner is served! Sprinkle with some more sesame seeds and/or fresh coriander if you will.
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More recipes with tahini:

Shakshuka the vegan way
Creamy ZUCCHINI Dip.
Red Curry Lentil Lasagna

Spruce up your Soup | 3 ways to make soup more filling + fun.

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I find it a bit bland to eat soup “just as it is”. Perhaps this is something derived from how a typical Swedish soup meal would involve a boiled egg for topping, or be followed by pancakes for dessert — in other words, a little something to bulk up the soup.

Sometimes it is nice to just serve it with some fancy bread and hummus on the side, but here are 3 ways I like to spruce up my soup with toppings:

∗ Sautéed Potatoes and Tahini Drizzle
∗ Roasted Seeds/Nuts (like sunflower kernels is an inexpensive and tasty staple!) and Balsamic Vinegar
∗Roasted Chickpeas and Fresh Herbs

… Or why not mix and combine as you feel? Do you have any tips and tricks for making a soup more fun?

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Some more soup ideas where this philosophy is practised:

Khao Soi with Crispy Noodles.
Vegan Friendly Phở.
Potato and Leek soup.


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Burmese Chickpea Tofu | and other stories.

To be honest with you, at present I have THREE different drafts for posts in my sidebar all titled something along the lines of Burmese Tofu… I suppose here we finally go!

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The first time I ever tried Burmese Tofu was on set. Me and Heidi riding our bicycles around the big lake of Inle in central Myanmar, passing through countryside schools and, as pictured above, fields with tiny yellow flowers as far as the eye could see. Our aim with said rented bicycles was to reach a place that served this particular tofu.

Now what differs Burmese, or Shan, Tofu from its world-renowned cousin, is that it is made with chickpea flour rather than from soybeans. This makes for a creamier yet delicate texture, not too far from silken tofu; and is also a perfect alternative for those not wishing to get on the soy bandwagon.Furthermore, it is ridiculously easy to make!


For more things burmese have a look at: Mingalaba Yangon!All the temples of Bagan (+briefly on budget)| On and around Inle lake. | Mandalay (or ‘temples that sparkle and garage comedy’)


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BURMESE CHICKPEA TOFU

• 4 dl chickpea flour (also goes under the name garbanzo bean or gram flour)
• 8 dl water, divided
• a pinch of salt
• ½ tsp ground turmeric powder

Start by bringing half the amount of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Meanwhile, combine your flour, salt and turmeric in a seperate bowl and add in the same amount of water as flour. This will look a bit like pancake batter.
Once water is boiling, slowly pour your batter into the pan, whisking as you go along. The mixture should thicken almost instantly, but keep stirring for about 5 minutes before pouring into a prepared parchment paper lined tin.
Let cool down in room temperature, then leave to set in fridge for a couple of hours before cutting.
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You can use chickpea tofu just as you would soy tofu; in salads, stir fry’s, scrambled, top of salads… For this I made a mega bowl of rice, mango, avocado, coriander and carrot; topped with this dressing with added peanut butter + ginger, and finally some cubes of burmese tofu that I quickly marinated with some soy sauce and sesame oil.

This post is my last minute-contribution to Månadens Gröna, hosted through February by Annie/Vegokäk with the theme legumes.


Some of my recipes including tofu to try:

Thai Green Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
Scrambled Tofu.
Khao Soi for the reminiscing Vegan.

Khao Soi for the reminiscing Vegan.

February evenings in Scotland definitely makes reminiscing over bygone days in the East a thing of the ordinariness. But alas, if the mountain will not move to you, you must go to the mountain… of course, in this case, the mountain is a (terrific I know) metaphor for a soup. Spicy, warming, crunchy and DELICOUS – quite the opposite of most mountains – this soup has it all! dsc_0185Khao Soi is a traditional curry-like soup much popular in the northern regions of Thailand and Laos, although it is said to originate from the Burmese cuisine. This dish is, to my great despair, not something you would normally find at your local thai take away in the west along with pad thai and massaman curries. Through my many visits to Chiang Mai, this dish was a definite go-to of my evening street grub.

Now I do not know what genius came up with having 50-50 of regular noodles and deep-fried noodles in the same dish, but it is such a game changer.

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VEGAN KHAO SOI

CURRY PASTE

• 4 red chillies
• 5 small shallots
• 5 cm fresh ginger
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 2 stalks lemongrass
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted + crushed
• a handful coriander stalks
• 1 tsp curry powder, like garam masala or madras)

→ In food processor, or large mortar, combine all ingredients until smooth paste has formed.

CRISPY NOODLES

• a handful of cooked noodles, set a bit more than half aside for the main dish
• vegetable oil

→ In small sauce pan, heat vegetable oil. Once hot, throw in one noodle and once it sizzles, add in more to form a little noodle nest. Using thongs, turn frequently and once golden brown and crispy – set aside on a prepared dish with kitchen roll. Repeat with the rest of your noodles; I find it best to work in small batches here.

TO COMPLETE THE DISH

• 2 cans coconut milk
• 2,5 dl vegetable stock
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp brown sugar

• lime wedges
• noodles
• fresh coriander
• thinly sliced shallots
• pan fried tofu

→ In large skillet over medium heat, fry curry paste until browned, about 8-10 minutes. (Whilst turning your fried noodles for instance.)
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

To serve, add boiled noodles to a bowl, top with tofu and/or vegetables of choice, pour soup over and top off with crispy noodles, fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and thinly sliced shallots.

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… And why not have a look at:

My Week in Silence at Doi Suthep.
Photo diary: Chiang Mai.
Quick vegan Phở-inspired soup.

Vegan Quesadillas.

dsc_0115I am off to spend the weekend in Edinburgh – only THE (yes, italic, bold AND underlined to get my point across!) UK Vegan Capital, so I am beyond excited for all the food we will be having this weekend. (And to be honest, a little stressed – so many great places, so little time!!!) but before I step on the train I wanted to share with you some weekend grub in shape of Vegan Quesadillas!
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VEGAN QUESADILLAS

→ 1 batch vegan queso, like this from brilliant minimialistbaker (+ for no cashews required!!)
6 soft tortillas
→ ½ can black beans + ½ can chickpeas
→ fresh veg such as avocado, tomato, spinach
→ fresh coriander
→ tomato salsa
→ 1 tsp paprika
→ 1 tsp cummin

reddi7Prepare your “cheese” sauce first. Then chop your veggies + coriander into tiny pieces and combine in a large bowl together with the black beans and chickpeas, then sprinkle in the spices.

On a tortilla, cover a half circle with your bean salad (see photo above) then top with salsa and cheese sauce. Fold to cover. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, then place in a heated dry skillet on medium heat. Let cook for a few minutes on each side, flipping once they have caught a nice golden colour.
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Next week is a Pasta themed one on the blog; I will be posting 3 x simple vegan pasta dishes so stay tuned for that! Until then, have a great weekend!

And don’t forget to follow the blog on bloglovin’ as to not miss any posts!

Cauliflower Tacos | with Mango + Ginger Salsa.

PSA – cancel all your plans for this evening. Something way more important has just come up. You need to go home and make Cauliflower Tacos. ASAP!

Take it from the girl who has made this very same dish no more than three times the past week – you are in for a treat! (It is okay, you can thank me later.)

This post also marks the comeback of my infamous Mango + Ginger salsa on the blog!
dsc_0140Cauliflower might not be a common causer of excitement, but this cabbage flower reaches other dimensions once it has been roasted in the oven. The taste really develops after a mere half hour in the oven, giving it an almost buttery flavour (which is probably why it also works so well in say a mac and yeast.)
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CAULIFLOWER TACOS WITH MANGO + GINGER SALSA.

→ 1 cauliflower head, broken into florets
→ 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
→ 6 tortilla wraps of choice
→ 3 tbsp olive oil
→ 1 tsp paprika
→ 1 tsp chilli
→ ½ tsp cumin
→ salt + pepper to taste

→ 1 mango, diced
→ 5 cm fresh ginger
→ 1/2 red onion
→ 3 tbsp fresh coriander
→ juice of ½ lime (or lemon)
→ 3-4 tbsp olive oil
→ a pinch of salt
→ chili, or sriracha, to taste (opt.)

Set oven on 220°C. Toss your cauliflower florets and chickpeas in olive oil and spices, evenly distributing the mixture. Roast in oven for approx. 25-30 minutes, tossing them half way through.

While your cauliflower is roasting, prepare the salsa by dicing the mango and chopping all other ingredients finely. Add in a pinch of salt, olive oil and lime juice, stir to combine.


dsc_0150This is my contribution to January’s Månadens Gröna themed inexpensive meals for the everyday. I know Mango might not spring to mind when you think of the word budget, but hear me out. Here are some ways to make this dish a lot less expensive:

◊ Bulk buying frozen produce.
Not only is it less expensive, but in this particular case will probs save you a bit of prep time. Both cauliflower and mango normally comes ready diced.

◊ Focus on a few ingredients.
and thus skipping the “ordinary” taco fillings; sour cream, tomato, cucumber, cheese, sweet corn, mince substitutes, salsa, etc. It turns into a fairly long list when all added up! Rather let a few powerful ingredients shine through.

◊ Skip the pre-made spice mixes.
These can easily be made at home for a fraction of the price.

In total I spent around 4 pounds for 4 portions worth of cauliflower tacos, however that excludes the spices added + olive oil used, although I count them as staples and doubt the amount used would be higher than a few pennies. Further things to keep into consideration for keeping a tighter food budget ↓

◊ Bulk buy on spices (at your local asian supermarket.)
This one goes hand in hand with the previous one but deserves a bulletpoint of its own. This will save you loads of money compared to buying the small ones found in your local supermarket – AND you will be able to liven up any dull meal. Some I tend to always have at hand are cumin,  paprika, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and garlic powder. Of course not to underestimate the power of good ol’salt and pepper!

◊ Recipes are merely a reference.
Recipes are by no means a holy script just because it is written down. Is some ingredient missing or out of season/budget? Swap it for something else! Just make sure to taste as you go along. Your imagination is the only limit here.

◊  Check kilo prices.
It might sound obvious but can easily be forgotten. Just do a quick scan whilst in the supermarket to see what will give you the most of your moneys worth.

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Some further inspiration for inexpensive vegan grub:

Shakshuka the vegan way.
Carrot + Tarragon soup | Cheap vegan meals.
Creamy Dreamy Avopasta.

Red Curry Lentil Lasagna | with Tahini Dressing.

We have finally gotten settled in our new abode, if one can use the term settled for using the sofa as one’s wardrobe, but this is just a huge relief off my shoulders. PLUS no more shared kitchen space! I will be sure to share some photos once I manage to get hold of some daylight.

On another note, prior to us moving I was on the mission to empty our cupboards best I could; this ended in some rather peculiar food combos (rice dressed in salsa topped with potato crisps and mushrooms was a fine moment) but also, some darn good ones!
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I had this box of lasagna sheets at the very back of the very top shelf of my pantry. You know, that shelf which you have to heave yourself up on the kitchen counter in order to reach. As you may have guessed by its VIP placement in the pantry – lasagna is just not something that I am a massive fan of… But they needed to go, and not to the bin.

So I then thought of this Thaitalian love child: Red Curry Lentil Lasagna. The result was surprisingly good; in fact,  I kept announcing how tasty it was aloud to myself whilst eating. It is particularly suitable for the season – aka warm and comforting!
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RED CURRY LENTIL LASAGNA

→ red lentils
→ red curry paste
→ 1 can coconut milk
→ 1 can chopped tomato
→ ½ broccoli head
→ 1 grated carrot
→ lasagna sheets
→ fresh coriander
→ onion
→ garlic
→ ginger
→ spring onion
→ dairy free cheese for topping (opt.)

I even threw in some leftover rice + scrambled tofu because… why not? Any chance of giving your fridge a cleanse.

1. Saute chopped onions, garlic, ginger, spring onion together in large skillet. Once tender, add grated carrot, broccoli + lentils and stir well.
2. Add a large dollop red curry paste before pouring the coconut milk + chopped tomato into the mix. Let simmer on low to medium heat until lentils are tender. Throw in fresh coriander leaves.
3. Divide your curry mixture between lasagna sheets. Top with grated cheese.
4. Cook covered on 175°C for 50-60 minutes or according to instructions on lasagna package.

I also added a tahini dressing on top which was a few tbsp of tahini, juice of ½ lime and 1 tbsp maple syrup diluted with hot water until desired consistancy.
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For more comfort foods, check out:

× Coconut Curried Lentils.
× Shakshuka the vegan way | with Avocado & Tahini.
× Quick vegan Phở-inspired soup.