Sunday, August 8, 2010

Papa a la Huancaina

Coming from a Peruvian background, I am going to venture into veganizing a few quintessential Peruvian dishes, like this one.  It's creamy, savoury and so satisfying.  Paired with a tangy, dark flavour like Grilled Smoked Tofu - you are looking at one delicious meal.

"Papa a la Huancaina" means "Huancayo styled potatoes" with Huancayo being a region in Peru.

A curious bit of info, as Peru is "birthplace" of the potato, the word "potato" comes from the Quechua (language of the Inca) word for potato, "papa", and also is where the Spanish word "papa" comes from, like papas fritas.

Papa a la Huancaina (with caramelized smoked tofu)

Time:  45 minutes (plus 24 hour chill)      |      Servings: 4      |      Difficulty:  Low

2 containers Tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese"
5 bell peppers, either red or yellow, or a combo, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon preferred vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic/onion powder
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast

1 lb potatoes, favourite kind, boiled whole and sliced

2 packages smoked tofu, cut into strips
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon preferred vegetable oil

Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Chopped tomato, for garnish (optional)

Begin by heating oil in a frying pan on medium-high. Add bell peppers and onion, and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes longer.

In a blender, add bell pepper mixture, cream cheese, non-dairy milk, and spices.  Blend until a smooth consistency is reached. Add more non-dairy milk if a thinner consistency is desired.

Place in a bowl, tupperwear, etc, and allow to chill overnight in the refrigerator.

When sauce is ready, place potatoes in a pot of  salted cold water, and bring up to boil.  Boil until tender with a fork, about 45 minutes for medium sized potatoes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, coat strips of smoked tofu with soy sauce, syrup and sriracha.  Allow to marinade for 15-30 minutes.  Sautee in a pan with oil on medium-high heat, using marinade liquid to deglaze while becoming caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to burn.

Slice potatoes and drizzle with Huancaina sauce, serve with caramelized smoked tofu. Garnish with chopped tomato and cilantro, if desired.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not-Chicken Salad

This salad is best with home-made seitan, and is unbelievably delicious!  Eat it as is, or throw it in a sandwich.  You definitely don't have to use seitan  - tempeh, tofu, and even faux chicken will work great too.  However, if you do use tofu, I recommend using fried tofu for a heartier texture.  This recipe is SSS for any lazy night!  Enjoy!

Not-Chicken Salad

Time:  15 Minutes      |      Servings:  4      |      Difficulty:     Low

1 recipe prepared seitan,  cubed (about 3 cups)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 bunch green onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup non-dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Combine all ingredients in bowl.  Serve.

Suggestion:  Even better if chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

Easy 4 Step Seitan

Personally, there is no greater protein in the veggie world than seitan!  Why you ask?  Well, because it's high in protein, low in fat and just plain yummy.  For more information on it, check out my previous post about seitan.

Nothing beats homemade seitan.  But, I'll be honest - when the thought first occurred to me to make it, I was pretty intimated.  It sounded like something that would be long and tedious to make.  Would it even really be worth it?  All the other prepared seitan I bought at stores were well, pretty gross.  Needless to say, I was totally WRONG.  Homemade seitan is leaps and bounds better than store bought seitan.

I make triple to quadruple batches on the weekend, place 4 cutlets in 1 Ziploc bag, pour some cooking liquid in the bag and freeze it.  I use it throughout the week in all my recipes.  It's just wonderful.  There's not much else I can say other than I truly recommend you give homemade seitan a go!

Easy 4 Step Seitan

Time:  1.5 Hr      |      Servings:  8       |      Difficulty:  Low


1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/4 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon Marmite or Vegemite
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)

10 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce


Okay - making seitan is as easy as 1-2-3-4.

1.  In a large bowl, mix together gluten flour and nutritional yeast.

2.  In a separate bowl, mix together veg broth, soy sauce, marmite, poultry seasoning, garlic, lemon zest and tomato paste, if using.

3.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, very elastic dough is formed.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

4.  Roll out seitan and cut into 4 pieces.  This may be difficult - but using a sharp knife will be helpful!  Add to a pot with water, soy sauce and bouillon cubes.  Bring everything to a boil and turn down to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 1 hour , turning occasionally.

That's it!  Enjoy in any recipe!

- Seitan is lacking the amino acid lysine - to make your protein complete, eat with pulses (ie, beans, legumes)