Archive for March, 2013

Asparagus-tofu-onions with sweet soy sauce

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Yup, this is another example of my work.

A few times recently, we’ve ended up with more tofu than we could consume in one sitting, so I stuck the leftovers in the freezer. This does interesting things to its texture, making it spongy (in a good way) when thawed. You can squeeze the water left from the ice right out without breaking the tofu. Then you can then cut it into cubes for use in stews or stir fries to soak up other flavours, or crumble it up for a stir fry or casserole. Tofu can be bought in dehydrated form (kouya dofu) to be used in these ways, but it’s fun to do it yourself.

Just Hungry and No Recipes have more interesting info and ideas for frozen tofu.

For my little dish here, I began by sauteing sliced red onions with lots of garlic and ginger.

I then added pieces of asparagus.

When it started to turn bright green, I added the aforementioned frozen-then-defrosted tofu, crumbled into a fine texture.

I also dumped in perhaps a teaspoon or two each of sake and rice vinegar.

As the tofu started to warm up, I added sweet soy sauce and sea salt.

Ketjap (or kecap) manis—sweet soy sauce—is something new to us here in Perth. It’s Indonesian in origin, and seems to be quite popular in Asian and general stores alike here. It’s more syrupy than Japanese soy sauce in consistency and is sweetened with palm sugar. Just a drizzle, then, was nice to flavour this dish.

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Moroccan street food

One of the many delights of summer in Perth is street food. It seems that it’s possible to stumble across a little grouping of stalls in any open space in the city, offering a goodly array of international deliciousness.

Last week, after taking a St. Patrick’s Day hike, we passed by a market near Perth station. I had food ready for my brekkie at home, so I just stuck with samples of gluten-free vegan energy bars, while Yusuke was drawn to the Moroccan food stand.

He selected shakshuka (also transliterated as shavfka), which was prepared in one of the those gigantic outdoor cooking pans. It was a mass of simmering tomatoes, eggs, onions, and lots of spices. I had a bite, and there was definitely a good kick. I don’t know if this is typical, but there was also a little tub of a hummus-like substance to pour over the mixture. A giant piece of baguette balanced on the edge of the plate.

Super hot, and evidently, super good.

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Govinda’s

Takeout satisfaction

I’ve mentioned in a few different venues that food (among other things) is shockingly expensive in WA compared with North America. I often just want to give up grocery shopping, since it feels like it’s cheaper to eat out with the array of cheap-in-a-good-way Asian restaurants near us.

Govinda’s confirms that notion. Located near the main city busport and train station, Govinda’s has a prominent storefront on a busy strip. But it’s definitely out of the ordinary. It’s run by a Hare Krishna group (Iskcon Perth) and offers a low cost vegetarian Indian meals.

They offer an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for I think maybe $10? When I visited, there were a couple of curries on offer, plus rice, salad, pakoras, lassi, and maybe a couple of other things (a dessert?).

I opted for takeaway, though, to nourish Yusuke after his Friday afternoon class.

I got us each a tub filled with rice, the curries, and some sort of a cauliflower pakora with spicy sauce. One curry had chickpeas and tended toward salty, while the other had carrots, broccoli, and potatoes and was sweeter.

The price? $10. For BOTH. That’s $5 each. It was plenty of food, though I added some fresh spinach at home and we cleaned up some leftover miso soup as well to make it a big feast.

Like Annalakshmi, this meal was vegetarian, with a good spirit, for a good cause (feeding everyone who comes in). Govinda’s will be added to my frequent visit list.

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Stone stew

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I finally remembered to snap a pic of our dinner.

This is sort of stone stew—that is, I dumped in everything that was left in our fridge because I didn’t have enough to make more than one dish that would go well with the others.

I began by cooking lentils and later added quinoa in a veggie stock broth. I also added some garlic for good measure.

After the grain alternatives began to soften, I added sliced white onions, green beans, and chopped potatoes.

I sprinkled in additional seasoning around this point as well: dried parsley, sea salt, and black pepper.

After everything was pretty well cooked, I added the final delicate ingredients: fresh tomatoes and avocados (both chopped into decent-sized chunks).

Yes, avocado is kind of a wacky addition, but it was getting really soft; I had to use it up! It actually was quite tasty in the stew and added nice texture. Plus it contributed some protein and good fat to our one-pot meal.

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