As you have known from my blog, I don’t follow vegan/vegetarian diet. However, I have several vegan/vegetarian friends who I absolutely adore so occasionally I created some vegan/vegetarian recipes to treat them. Around this time last year, my friend’s sister was in danger, and to pray for her safety, I made a promise to “someone up there” that I would have vegan/vegetarian meals continuously in one week. My wish was granted, her sister was safe, and as promised, I did practice one week of vegan/vegetarian diets.
(Side note: my friend never knows that, and her sister was in safety shortly after I made my promise. It was coincidentally magical and I was truthfully grateful for that. I was glad that I could, at least, do something for her.)
For a person who don’t practice vegan/vegetarian diet, that is quite a challenge. Reminded me of when my mom had to follow vegetarian diet for two weeks, but the only food she had at that time was fried tofu with soy sauce. The lack of diversity in her vegetarian meals has made her sick of tofu after that. So, to avoid that, I put my “creativity”brain cells” to create new vegan & vegetarian recipes that I wanted to try and prepare for my friends. It made my experience with vegan and vegetarian diet interesting, delicious and not daunting at all. And I’m happy to share these recipes here. More recipes will be coming in 2023!
A big help from mushrooms!
To replace the meat in my usual recipes, I used variety of mushrooms, depending on recipes. King oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are rich in proteins, have a meat-like texture, chewy, and can be applied in any of recipes. Portobello, baby bella and white mushrooms are a bit trickier, as they tend to turn dark when exposing to heat for long time. With these mushrooms, I prefer to use them for fried spring rolls or quick soup. Enoki mushrooms and white fungus, on the other hand, have a high-water content, only suitable for soup recipes. The long, fibrous texture of enoki mushrooms could be used to create “pattern” for the soup.
Tofu is another “best friend”!
Aside from mushrooms, tofu is another source of protein. With tofu, I was able to create a lot of delicious recipes. For examples, with firm tofu, I made some crunchy appetizers, snacks and shareables (instead of chicken nuggets). With soft tofu, they made amazing soups (and baked recipes). With silken tofu, it made great vegan dessert with ginger syrup and coconut milk, one of the famous street desserts in Vietnam that I have just realized recently. Recipes will be on-air soon!
Sticky rice to keep me full!
Growing up from Vietnam, a country famous for rice (and coffee), we have many different sticky rice recipes, including my family’s Vietnamese mung bean sticky rice. Sweet rice (or sticky rice, glutenous rice), compare to regular white rice, is richer in fibers and proteins but overall calories are lower. I also “observed” that it kept me full longer than white rice, which was great when I practiced a vegetarian and vegan week. I have just discovered recently that I could create a vegan version for the street food breakfast sticky rice in Vietnam (Xôi mặn), and it was absolutely amazing!
(Oh no… I’m craving for it again while writing these lines…)
For desserts, shout out to fruits, the starch, agar agar and jelly powder!
I made a wonderful caramel flan cake previously, and I’ve been wanting to make a vegan or vegetarian version for it, so my friends can enjoy it with me. Shout out to corn starch, tapioca starch, agar agar and jelly powder, together with plant-based milk, for my “success” in creating amazing vegan and vegetarian desserts, with texture similar to regular recipes, including my favorite caramel flan cake!
And lastly, many many thanks to vegetables and herbs!
You’ve added colors and flavors to my dishes! Thank you!
My journey with vegan and vegetarian recipes will be continued! In my humble opinion, I think these recipes are great for those who want to slowly transition from meat diet to vegetarian and vegan diet. But that doesn’t stop you from trying them, does it? I hope you will like them.
And don’t forget to like/share/subscribe for more recipes in the future!