Category Archives: Asian – Curries

Delicious Vegetarian Pho!

Hey Veg Heads! It seemed very sad to me that I couldn’t eat pho because of its porky broth. Well, guess what? There is a fantastic pho recipe that I made recently. It caught my eye on Vegetarian Times and it’s as good as gold.

Here it is!



6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I used regular veggie broth)
3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce (I used Braggs)
12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise (I doubled this)
5-6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5-6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup
1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
2 cups soybean sprouts
2 cups watercress
4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges


1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.


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Jamie Oliver’s Asian Noodle Soup

Jamie_HealthierHappierYou_JanFeb16_20841_AsianStyleChickenNoodleSoupI made a vegetarian version of Jamie Oliver’s Asian Chicken and Tofu Noodle soup  and it was fantastic. It was easy to make and it is now competing with laksa, my other favourite rice noodle soup.

For those of you interested in the original chicken version here is the recipe.

For a veggie or pescatarian version (I added prawns to the one I made last night) here is the recipe:

I litre organic vegetable broth

2 shallots

1 3/4-inch (2-centimetre) piece of ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

5 star anise

½ bunch fresh coriander

I bunch fresh basil

100 grams (4 ounces) tofu

2 cups spinach

5 large mushrooms (thinly sliced – (I added this to the recipe)

1 lb prawns peeled – to serve 4 people

4 green onions – finely chopped

½ fresh red chili

3/4 cup fine uncooked rice noodles

2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce

Black pepper

1 lime cut in 4

Peel and finely slice the shallot, ginger and garlic.

Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over a medium–low heat, then add the shallot, ginger and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes, or until softened.

Add sesame oil and fry for a few more minutes.

Add star anise and cover with 1 litre of bouillon. Gently bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Add mushroom and prawns. Add a dash of soy sauce to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add spinach to heated broth before you’re ready to serve.

Pick the herb leaves, chop the tofu into ½ inch (1.25-centimetre) cubes. Cook rice noodles.

Place rice noodles in serving bowls, add herbs and tofu and then ladle broth with spinach, prawns and mushrooms and serve.

I gave everyone a small ramekin with hot pepper, a slice of lime and herbs and green onions so they could garnish their soup to taste. A big bottle of sriracha was on the table ready and waiting. Serve and sigh with satisfaction. So easy, so delicious. Thanks Jamie Oliver!


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Carrot Lemongrass Coconut Soup via Shiny Tomato

My friend Bonnie and her sister are the beauty and the brains behind Shiny Tomato recipes. Visiting their web site is almost as good as being in Bonnie’s house which has this fantastic, warm, fuzzy, Mad Men feel to it. So much so you almost never want to leave especially after having one or more of her delicious cocktails:) Last year she hosted a cheese fondue extravaganza – be still my beating heart. Cheese fondue, you say? 

But this post isn’t about cheese fondue. This is about a fabulous Carrot Lemongrass Soup she posted which I tried and which I can now attest to its amaze-a-ball-ness (a word borrowed from Pearlie which I am now going to own). 




Carrot Lemongrass Coconut Soup

  • 8 cups stock
  • 6 lime leaves (fresh, dried or frozen)
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 TBSP coarse salt
  • 3 lemongrass stalks (I have used the stuff you can buy in a tube)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 TBSP Thai red curry paste
  • 1 TBSP coriander seeds, ground
  • 2 lbs carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (or some hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tsp minced lime zest
  • Juice 1 lime
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Plain yogurt (if desired)
  1. Heat the stock while you prepare the soup ingredients. Add the lime leaves & keep warm.
  2. Prepare the lemongrass by cutting the stalk 4” from the root end. Get rid of the top and peel the outer layer from the bottom piece. Using a broad bladed knife, smash the lemongrass. Mince & set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion & 1 tsp salt. Cook onions until translucent.
  4. Add minced garlic, ginger, lemongrass, curry paste & coriander; sauté & stir for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chopped carrots & remaining salt (2 tsps). Sauté for several minutes, then pour in hot stock.
  6. Bring to a boil & simmer until the carrots are soft (about 15 min).
  7. Remove lime leaves & puree with hand blender/food processor until smooth. Whisk in coconut milk, sambal oelek &simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  8. Just before serving, add lime zest, juice & season to taste with salt or more sambal.
  9. Garnish each bowl with freshly chopped cilantro leaves & a spoonful of yogurt.

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Indian Spiced Lentils with Yogurt – Yotam Ottolenghi

My friend Janet posted this recipe so I tested it right away and wow, it was fantastic. The spices come together to give this simple vegetarian dish a complex beautiful taste. If you don’t already stock the usual array of Indian spices it’s worth going out and getting them including the more unusual ones required in this recipe. The original recipe comes from the Guardian web site and was shared by Yotam Ottolenghi. So thanks Yotam! Amazing veggie treat.

Food-Vegetarian Spiced Red Lentils with Cumcumber Yogurt
Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite way to stave off the cold Photograph: Colin Campbell

This chill breaker is the ultimate antidote to any seasonal malady; I could eat mountains of it. Serve as a thick soup, or alongside plain rice or roti. Serves two to four.

200g split red lentils (I used 1.5 cups)
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 small onion, peeled
40g ginger, peeled 
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 mild green chilli
1½ tsp black mustard seeds
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp paprika
10 curry leaves
300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (1.5 cups chopped)
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp fenugreek (optional)
1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
150g Greek yogurt
75g finely diced cucumber
1½ tbsp olive oil
70g unsalted butter
1½ tbsp lime juice

Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.

Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.

Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.

• Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi in London


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Vij’s Mushroom Medley in Potato Curry

Curry lovers, this is delicious. The buttermilk gives it a slightly tangy flavour but if you love mushrooms and if you love curry this is the meal for you.

Serves 6
Prep time 45 minutes + cooking potatoes 45 minutes
11/2 lbs potatoes peeled and boiled
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
3 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp salt
21/2 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp crushed cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
5 cups water
21/2 cups buttermilk
6 oz mushrooms (I used oyster, crimini, shiitake and white)

Boil peeled potatoes and set aside. Roughly break up the potatoes so there are still fairly large pieces…not too big and not too small!

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil on medium high for 45 seconds. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Stir in ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, then add salt, coriander, cayenne and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, stir in potatoes and mix well. Increase the heat to medium high, add water and stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil and reduce to low.

Pour buttermilk into a large bowl. To prevent the buttermilk from separating in the soup, use a ladle to spoon about 11/2 cups of the hot potato curry into the buttermilk. Whisk the mixture until it is well combined. Carefully spoon all of the buttermilk into the pot of curry. using the whisk, mix well and stirring continuously, bring to a boil on low heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat and serve.

Notes: I wanted to make this for 2 people so I used only 3 potatoes and half the water. I also substituted yogurt for buttermilk and it was still delicious. I served this with rice, poached salmon in curry coconut sauce and beet greens sautéed in ginger, lemon and cumin.

This recipe is from Vij’s, At Home, Relax, Honey .This is a great cookbook full of helpful tips as well as vegetarian, meat and seafood recipes.

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Thai Tofu Noodle Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free)

I tried a few new recipes over the holidays and this is definitely one of the keepers. Unlike some Asian food that is a little more complicated this one is truly  easy. It’s bascially lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves in a coconut broth with a mound of greens and tofu over top some gluten-free rice noodles. Yum!!!!!!!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • SERVES 2 as a main entrée
  • 8-10 oz. dried Thai rice noodles, linguini-width
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass (see complete instructions below), OR 4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 4-6 cups vegetable (or faux “chicken”) stock (or regular chicken broth if non-veg.)
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced into matchstick-like pieces
  • 1/2 package medium or soft tofu (packed in water) – drain off the water and slice tofu into cubes
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets including stems
  • 1-2 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped into bite-size pieces (bok choy, baby bok choy or su choy)
  • 1-2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce OR wheat-free soy sauce (or use 3 Tbsp. fish sauce + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce if non-veg.)
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves (available in frozen packets at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large (or substitute fresh coriander/cilantro)
  • PS I threw mushrooms in my version
  • Preparation:

  • First, dunk noodles in a pot of boiling water. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to soften in the hot water while you prepare the soup.
  • Place stock in a soup pot together with lemongrass (include left-over stalk pieces if using fresh), plus galangal (or ginger), whole lime leaves, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer while you chop up and add the remaining vegetables (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the remaining vegetables. Stir and allow to simmer 2 more minutes.
  • Reduce heat to minimum and add the coconut milk, stirring until dissolved. Finally, add the tofu, gently stirring so it doesn’t fall apart.
  • Add the soy sauce. If you prefer your soup spicy, add 1-2 tsp. chili sauce (OR simply serve it on the side for those who like it).
  • Do a taste test, adding more soy sauce if not salty enough. If you find the soup too salty (this depends on how salty your broth was to start with), add 1 to 2 Tbsp. lime juice. If too sour for your taste, add 1 tsp. sugar.
  • Check rice noodles to make sure they have softened enough to eat (they should be ‘al dente’). Drain the noodles and portion them out into bowls.
  • Pour several ladles of soup over each bowl of noodles. Sprinkle fresh basil over each bowl. Serve with a topping of fresh basil, plus some chili sauce on the side, if desired – either store-bought or my own homemade Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce Recipe[/link”> for an extra kick of flavor and spice. ENJOY!

Serve and enjoy. I got this recipe from (they have lots of great stuff there by the way)

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Vij’s Black Chickpea Pakora’s – vegetarian, gluten-free and fabulous

I’ve had pakora’s before but I’ve never had fresh pakora’s and wow, are they ever delicious. I got this recipe from Vij’s At Home, Relax Honey cookbook.

The original recipe calls for 1 cup of dried black chickpeas which you soak in 3 cups of water for 6 to 10 hours. Then add 4 more cups of water, bring to a boil in a medium pot and let simmer for 40 to 50 minutes. I couldn’t find black chick peas so I used one can of regular chickpeas. I’m told that freshly cooked is a thousand times better but anyways…these were still fabulous.

My slightly amended version goes like this:

1 can chickpeas strained and rinsed
1 large cooked and peeled Russet potato
1 cup chickpea flour
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 cups finely chopped cilantro
1 cup cooking oil for deep frying

Place chickpeas in a blender or food processor and grind to a grainy paste. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of water if the mixture is too dry (and it will be so I ended up adding a bit more than that) and grind to a grainy paste. Set aside.

Mash the potato. Do not add any more liquid to mash the potato. In a large bowl, combine ground chickpeas, mashed potato, chickpea flour, onion, ginger, salt, cayenne, coriander, cumin and cilantro until well mixed.

Scoop 1 Tbsp or more of the chickpea batter into your hands and roll it between your palms to make a thin patty 21/2 to 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Whatever you you, don’t make these too big which I did with the first few I tried. They tend to fall apart and become unmanageable. Place on a large baking sheet until you have 50 to 60 fritters.

To deep-fry fritters, pre-heat a deep fryer to high. Using a slotted spoon, drop fritters into the deep fryer, making sure not to crowd them. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until crispy. Using the slotted spoon remove them to the baking sheet.

To pan-fry heat 4 t 6 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed pan on high for one minute. Add fritters and cook on one side for 2 minutes, turn and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place on cookie sheet. Let cool and dig in! I ate these with Cilantro Chutney and a Tomato and Onion chutney. Fabulous. They’re great cold the next day too.


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