Plant some veggies into your planned diet

More and more people are being drawn into vegetarianism these days.Geet's Kitchen- Masthead Web

Some do it for religious reasons, health reasons, to preserve the Earth’s natural resources, while others purely for ethical reasons as they are opposed to killing and eating animals. One thing for sure is that there is an abundance of research today on the benefits of a plant diet.

Many of the widely common health issues are linked to intake of meat, especially processed meat. With my family, I try and sneak in vegetarian meals to try and cut down on the intake of meat.

Apart from a repertoire of Indian vegetarian recipes, which is well received if it is not a daily affair, the family also enjoys a variety of Malaysian vegetarian food.

For this issue, I have three Malaysian vegetarian recipes which are easy and yet spicy and delicious which you ought to try out for a change.

Mee Hoon is a noodle made from rice which closely resembles rice vermicelli. Use whatever vegetables you fancy with this noodle and you can easily whip up a nutritious, one-dish meal.

Sambal is a piquant sauce which is a staple side dish just like pickles and chutneys in Indian meals. Omit the use of the ingredient called ‘belachan,’ which is fermented shrimp paste and it can be turned into a delicious vegetarian sauce. So, try making Tofu Sambal tossed in this tasty spicy sauce.

Lastly, Mushroom Rendang – a popular dry aromatic curry usually made with chicken or beef and eaten with coconut rice called ‘Nasi Lemak’.

Vegetarian Fried Mee Hoon

Fried Mee Hoon Web

1 packet thin rice noodles (Mee Hoon) – soak in hot water for five minutes until soft and then drain
1 cup of shredded carrot
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of sliced Choy Sum or Bak Choy (Chinese mustard greens)
1 cup of sliced pan fried tofu
1 cup of chopped spring onions (or coriander leaves)
1 large onion – sliced
2 -3 cloves of garlic – chopped fine
1-2 tbsp of chilli paste (dried chilli soaked and ground to a paste)
2 to 3 tbsp of light soya sauce
2 to 3 tbsp of cooking oil
Salt to taste
Dash of  Chinese Sesame Oil

Method

  1. Heat a wok with some vegetable oil
  2. Saute the sliced onions until brown
  3. Add in the garlic and saute for a minute before adding the chilli paste
  4. Fry until the oil separates from the mixture
  5. Add in the sliced carrots and mushrooms and stir for a minute or two as it doesn’t take long to cook trough
  6. Add in the softened noodles and mix well
  7. Add soy sauce and continue to mix well
  8. Add the sliced greens such as Choy Sum and mix for another minute until the greens wilt
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed
  10. Add a dash of sesame oil and toss the noodles before adding the sliced tofu, sprouts and spring onions and mix well
  11. Take it off the flame at once as the sprouts, tofu and spring onions do not need to cook
  12. Serve warm

Tofu Sambal

Tofu Sambal Web

500g tofu (hard type) – cube and pan fry until golden
1 large onion – chopped into a fine paste
3 or 4 cloves garlic – chopped into a fine paste
3 or 4 tbsp of chilli paste – dried chillies soaked and ground to a paste
1 stalk of lemon grass – bruised
2 kaffir lime leaves – sliced
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 or 3 tbsp of tamarind juice
1 tbsp of gula melaka (palm sugar)
1 tsp of salt
Oil

Method

  1. Heat some oil in a wok and fry the onion and garlic paste until brown and the oil separates from the mixture
  2. Add in the chilli paste, turmeric powder and lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.
  3. Fry until the oil separates from the mixture
  4. Add the salt, tamarind juice and sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking
  5. Add in the pan fried tofu and mix well in thick sauce
  6. Serve as an accompaniment to rice or noodles

*Instead of tofu, you could use pan-fried/grilled eggplant or hard boiled eggs in the sambal sauce

Mushroom Rendang

Mushroom Rendang Web

500g of fresh mushrooms – gently wiped and halved
1 large onion – peeled
6 cloves of garlic – peeled
1 two-inch piece ginger or galangal – peeled
1 stalk of lemon grass – bruised and sliced
3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves – sliced
6 fresh red chillies – sliced
1 one-inch piece of fresh yellow turmeric – peeled
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp fennel powder
½ cup of dry roasted dessicated coconut – pounded or ground fine
1 cup of thick coconut milk
1 tbsp of gula melaka (palm sugar)
Salt to taste
Oil
To garnish — kaffir lime leaves and sliced fresh red chillies

Method

Blend the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric and chillies into a fine dry paste.

Heat a wok with some oil and fry the blended paste.

Wait until the oil separates from the mixture before adding the coriander powder, cumin powder and fennel powder.

Mix well and fry until the oil separates from the mixture again.

Add in the mushrooms and stir well before adding the coconut milk.

Simmer until the gravy is thick. The mushrooms don’t take long to cook.

Add salt to taste and the palm sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Add the roasted dessicated coconut and mix well.

It should by now be a thick dry curry.

Remove from flame, garnish with kaffir lime leaves and sliced red chillies and serve with plain or coconut rice.

Disclaimers: Geetha Nair and Indian Newslink absolve themselves of any responsibility relating to the ingredients, cooking methods and other matters relating to ‘Geet’s Kitchen’ column. Some ingredients may not be available and may cause allergy in some people. Caution must therefore be exercised and Geetha Nair and Indian Newslink will not be responsible to any health issues in this connection. Please consult your General Practitioner, Nutritionist or such others you may be consulting in connection with your dietary requirements.

Notes and Legends: 1. Quantities of sugar and salt are recommendations; please add or reduce to suit individual requirements 2. Tsp: Teaspoon Tbsp: Tablespoon

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