Though i would like to pretend i eat various cuisines when i eat out....in reality i am a wimp..yep! i said it. I am worried half the time..if there is meat or a meat derivative in a dish. Maybe there is chicken stock...beef stock..anchovies...fish sauce..the list is endless. I do ask the wait staff...but i am not convinced. The other thing with me is i have a very strong sense of smell. I usually can smell meat in grilled veggies...at times i smell something different in the pasta i eat..so long story short..i try to cook internationally at home...but eating out..i stick to indian...middle-eastern...and all sandwich and noodle/sushi spots..that have a vegetarian menu in place. Again...i do not eat in sandwich shop like Subway and Jimmy John's...coz they touch the meat and veggies with the same gloved hand right in front of your face...they may do the same in other restaurants too...but i can't see that...yep! i am boring...so what!! :D. This fear has actually reduced my eating out tremendously...and that is a great thing for me..as i have the tendency to pack on the pounds really quick....i personally would like to attribute it to my slow metabolism (years of yo-yo dieting)...but...i think portion control plays a role too ;)
I really love soups and esp. watery and broth based soups..where you have veggies and protein swimming in lots of liquid....but i dare not order it when i go out...coz i am pretty sure...it is made with chicken stock. So when i saw this soup in the VEG NEWS magazine last month..i jumped up and made it....it is actually a street food in Singapore...not sure if they sell the vegan version there...seriously doubt it!...but this one was yummers.
Lovely Laksa (source: veg new magazine) (note...the name was given in the magazine..not something i made up)
8 oz dried rice noodles (i used tofu noodles)
1 cup shallots chopped (i used red-onions)
1 stalk lemon-grass, white part only-crushed (i used a zest of a lime)
2 tsp. Sambaal Oelek
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. curry powder (did not use)
1 tsp. paprika (used 2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne ( used red-chilly powder instead)
1 tbls. canola oil (used coconut oil)
31/2 cups vegetable stock (used a water+ veggie bullion)
1 tbls sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 14oz can of coconut milk (i used lite coconut milk)
8 oz extra firm tofu - cubed
1 cup bean sprouts, blanched (omitted by me)
3 scallions (omitted by me)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro (none at home! )
1 cup pineapple (no way!!)
Lime wedges to serve
I also used 2 cups of assorted frozen veggies.
1. Cook noodles as per directions.
2. Make a paste of shallots,lemongrass,sambal oelek and ginger. Add to it coriander,curry powder,turmeric,paprika and cayenne pepper and make a smooth paste.
3. In a large pot...medium heat..add the oil..then add the shallot mixture from above and cook it for about 3 minutes, stirring well...adding a little stock to it..to make sure it does not burn. Then add the frozen veggies (if using)....stir it well...and add the rest of the stock.
4. Reduce the heat...add the sugar,salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes...then add the coconut milk and heat it through without letting it boil. Add the noodles and the tofu (i toasted the tofu in a pan lightly- can omit this step) and simmer for 5-7
5. To serve...add the cucumber, scallions (if using) in a bowl. Pour the laksa over it and garnish with cilantro..pineapple (if using). Plop a lime wedge or half on the side too!!
The ingredient list is long..but it is something majority of us have it at home. The process to make this is super simple...it is delicious...personally for me..i will make it without the noodles however..or use the rice noodles mentioned in the recipe.