Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ndole (Cameroonian Bitterleaf Soup)

Other than my mom's famous low-fat veggie soup, this is Daniel's new favourite soup.  SO easy too.

A very peculiar but delicious combination you will find in African cooking, especially Western, is tomato and peanut.  It may sound odd, but together these two foods create a flavour that is unique and tasty.  Actually, the combination is even difficult to imagine, as they change each other's flavour so substantially - so what you imagine it tastes like, may not be even close to what it does taste like.  All the more reason to give it a try.

Bitterleaf is a special leafy green that is found in Africa, unfortunately I have not found any here.  Kale is the next best thing, so it is used in this recipe.


Time:  45 min     |     Servings:  6      |      Difficulty:  Low


2 bunches kale, deveined and chopped into small pieces
1 lb preferred protein, such as beans, tempeh, seitan - pulsed if applicable
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, organic recommended as they cook best
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, including leaves, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 can pickled jalapenos, finely diced
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons oil


Heat oil in stock pot (or deep pot) and add onions and celery.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add protein, garlic and jalapenos, cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients, except peanut butter.

Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until kale is tender.  Stir in peanut butter.

Serve and enjoy.

Recommendations:  Eat with Fufu!

Mesir Wat and Injera (aka Ethiopian Lentils and Flatbread)

Last month was "African" month... trying recipes from all over the continent - mainly from Western Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco).  SO delicious!

Here is a recipe for Mesir Wat, Ethiopian Lentils - sweet, spicy and delicious, served with injera, the staple flat bread.  African food is simply a revelation.

Technically speaking, injera should be used as a utensil and served with the lentils on top - eat it with your hands!  But of course, Daniel and I tried this once and then decided to use utensils.  :)

The lentils are great on plain rice, or even with naan, etc - if you'd rather buy some bread than make it.

A last note - most Ethiopian (or Eritrean) food uses a special spiced-infused-butter called Niter Kibbeh - I have made it before and it is excellent - however, to avoid the work of making it (you need to simmer whole spices in the butter for an hour) I have made a short cut - using ground spices and gently simmering them in butter for a couple minutes. 


Time: 45 min      |      Servings:  4      |      Difficulty: Low


2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground fenegreek
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt, to taste

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Teff flour
1.5 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
Oil for frying


In a pot, heat Earth Balance over medium heat - add all ground spices.  Stir continuously until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add onions and continue cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Bring heat to high, add lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil and turn down head to low to simmer.  Cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until lentils are fully cooking.  You don't need to stir.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan on medium and drizzle oil (make sure the pan is well oiled; nonstick is ideal).  In a bowl, mix flours, baking powder, oil and water.  Mix until just combined - the consistency should be thinner than pancake mix so add more water if needed.

Pour a 1/2 cup into pan.  It will bubble.  You do not need to flip injera.  When the sides pop up and the top looks cooked, place aside.  Continue preparing the rest of batter this way.  Watch the heat; make sure it on medium or lower, as the bottom may burn if you don't watch.

Serve cooked lentils on top of injera and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grilled Smoky Tofu

Goes with everything, and IN everything! :)  Feel free to bake or fry, if a grill is not available.  This will create a caramelized glaze - wonderful!  Just be careful of burning the sauce.


Time: 30 min      |       Servings: 4      |      Difficulty:  Low


2 packages smoked tofu, sliced or cut into strips
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 tablespoon preferred vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.
Grill on BBQ, using marinade as basting sauce - until all sides are slightly charred; about 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Peruvian Series - Tallarines Verdes

Tallarines Verdes, which means "Green Noodles" in Spanish, is a Peruvian pesto dish.  It is actually an ideal family meal as it is super healthy; the sauce in Tallarines Verdes is a Basil/Spinach/Walnut mix.

Even though the ingredients are simple, my first attempt was one of my worst culinary failures in a LONG, long time! :)  That just made me want to develop a vegan version of this recipe even more.

So here it is!  Full of vitamins and antioxidants.


Time:  30 min      |      Servings: 4      |      Difficulty: Low


1 lb flat pasta, such as fettuccine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches of fresh spinach
2 bunches of fresh basil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegetable broth
Salt, to taste


Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to instructions.

Meanwhile, heat oil on medium-high.  Add onions and garlic and saute until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Add spinach and basil, cook until wilted.

In a blender spinach/basil mixture and all remaining ingredients - blend until a uniform, creamy green colour is reached.  Add more broth if too thick.  Salt to taste.

Combine cooked noodles with sauce and serve.

-  Serve Tallarines with a flavourful protein, like grilled seitan or Smoky Grilled Tofu.

Shepherd's Pie

This is a recipe for Shepherd's Pie.  Shepherd's pie is easy to make, but it is a little bit long.  The end result is well worth it, however!  Enjoy!


Time: 1 Hour 30 min     |      Servings: 6     |      Difficulty: Low

2 lb potatoes, preferred kind (quartered if large)
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, more if needed
1/2 tablespoon Horseradish (optional)

1 lb favourite protein (I recommend seitan or tempeh), pulsed/ground
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 onions, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen vegetable mix, preffered kind
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon marmite
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water
2-3 tablespoons oil

PreparationPreheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Begin with placing cut potatoes in pot of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in an dutch oven (or oven-friendly pot) heat oil on medium-high and add mushrooms and saute until they shrink and release their juices, about 10 minutes.  Add all vegetables and fry until translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add protein and continue cooking until juices begin to evaporate, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Increase heat to high, and add wine to deglaze pan, if using.  Add broth, marmite, spices and tomato paste and stir to combine.  Once boiling, add cornstarch mixture and stir.  When thick and bubble turn off heat and place aside.

Potatoes should be done.  Drain and mash with Earth Balance, chives, horseradish and milk - adding salt if necessary.

Spread potatoes on top of filling, and bake in oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.