Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchijeon)

It looks like I’m going to have a couple more kimchi-related posts until I can use up all the kimchi that I made!  Tonight’s supper was kimchi pancakes.

I found a couple of different recipes, one with a stiffer flour and water batter and one with added egg, one with just kimchi and one with shredded potatoes added. I didn’t have a potato in my pantry, but I did have a sweet potato. So I decided to use that instead, and it turned out to be a good combination – with the sweet of the potato balancing out the hot and sour kimchi. Here’s the hybrid recipe;

Kimchi and Sweet Potato Pancakes
4 oz. kimchi, chopped
1 cup shredded sweet potato
1 egg
2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. water
vegetable oil for frying

Shred sweet potatoes, and finely chop the kimchi.



Whisk together the egg, water and flour until you have a smooth, thin batter.


Stir in the kimchi and potatoes.


Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, then spread the pancake batter about 1/4-inch thin. Fry until golden brown on both sides, slowly to allow the sweet potato to cook within the pancake. Continue to cook the remaining batter, adding more vegetable oil as needed.  Makes about three pancakes, 6 inches in diameter.


I ate the pancakes with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce, very tasty!


Braised Tofu


browned tofu

Start with 1 lb. firm tofu. Slice into quarters and press with paper towel to remove extra liquid. Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Slice tofu into smaller pieces and fry in the skillet until well-browned.

braising tofu

Add 6 Tbsp. Soy Scallion Dipping Sauce (recipe below), and continue to simmer until liquid is absorbed/evaporated. The result is a crispy and flavorful tofu. This method of tofu preparation was so easy, I’m already thinking of other sauces or marinades that I could use!

Braised Tofu

Soy Scallion Dipping Sauce
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. Korean red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. roasted sesame seeds, crushed
1/4 c. chopped green onions

Whisk together all ingredients until well-blended. Use this sauce for the braised tofu recipe above. Use the leftover sauce as a dipping sauce for dumplings, or salad dressing.

Recipe adapted from: The Korean Table, by Chung and Samuels

Kidney bean soup

I don’t typically cook with kidney beans, other than to include a can in my crockpot chili recipe. I think maybe they were too common in some of my childhood meals, and I haven’t had much of a taste for them as an adult. Thankfully though, in continuing to cook some Georgian dishes this week, one of the things I decided to try was a kidney bean soup.

This soup started with dried kidney beans, a very cheap protein! Unless you grow your own herbs (parsley is all I have growing right now), the herbs for this dish may be the most expensive ingredient. But the combination of herbs and leeks, plus that little bit of vinegar at the end, is what gives this soup a fresh spring flavor that is just delicious. I’ve had a lot of trouble with other dried beans, being able to cook them and get them completely soft – but that was not a problem with this recipe. Especially with reheating, the beans start to break up and dissolve a bit into the soup, thickening it. Soup lovers – it’s highly recommended that you give this one a try!

Kidney Bean Soup (Lobios Chorba)
1 1/2 c. dried kidney beans
2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, (white and light green parts) thinly sliced
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper, or 1/2 jalapeno
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. celery leaf, minced
fresh parsley, cilantro, dill (about 6 sprigs each)
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Place the beans, water, salt and bay leaf in a stockppot. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid slightly ajar for about 1.5 hours, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure the water doesn’t run out as the beans absorb it.

Saute the onions, carrot, and leek in the butter in a nonstick skillet until soft, 15 to 20 minutes over medium-low heat. When the beans are softened, add the vegetables to the soup, plus the garlic, hot pepper and black pepper to taste. Stir well and continue to simmer another 15 minutes. Just before serving, check the levels of salt and pepper, adjusting as needed. Then stir in the celery leaf, herbs and vinegar, and serve.

Adapted from : The Georgian Feast, by Darra Goldstein

Georgia on my Mind

During a quick browse through the library’s cookbook section a couple of days ago, I ran across a book called The Georgian Feast, by Darra Goldstein. Immediately intrigued at how Georgian food might be distinguished from other (formerly) Russian cuisines (which overall I know embarassingly little about…) I started skimming the recipes. I’ve recently been thinking about getting back into Persian cuisine, and these recipes use similar ingredients and spices – and even similar names for some of the dishes, while also drawing heavily from Turkish influence. So I decided to give it a try!

Here’s a description of my first Georgian meal of yogurt soup, broiled salmon with a pickled onion relish, and sauteed cauliflower with egg.

The salmon dish (Uraguli Dzmarshi) was fairly simple – salmon was rubbed with black pepper and crushed bay leaves and left to sit and ‘marinate’ for a few minutes. It was supposed to be grilled, but since it was already dark outside and I haven’t fired up the grill yet this spring, I decided to cook it under a low broiler. Meanwhile, raw chopped onion was simmered for 15 minutes in a mixture of vinegar, water and salt. The fish was cooked briefly in the vinegar after it had reduced and then served with the sour onion relish.

The yogurt soup (Matsvnis Shechamandi) was an easy, vegetarian dish – with very little fat when prepared as I did with nonfat plain yogurt.

Yogurt Soup
2 c. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. flour
pinch of salt
1 c. water
2 Tbsp. butter or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. mint, minced
1/3 c. cooked rice

Stir together the yogurt, flour and salt until mostly blended. Add the water and whisk briefly to remove any lumps and fully incorporate water.  Saute the onion in butter or oil over medium heat until translucent but not browned. Add the yogurt mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Carefully whisk some of the hot yogurt mixture into the eggs, and then whisk the egg mixture into the soup. Simmer just a few more minutes, as you can see in the photo this thickens the soup. Immediately before serving, stir in the rice and herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To round out the meal – and this was my favorite dish of the three – I prepared a cauliflower Chirbuli. Chirbuli is described as often involving a variety of vegetables mixed together, with beaten eggs stirred in at the last minute. Goldstein states a preference for focusing on one vegetable at a time, so I decided to try the cauliflower first. It was delicious, especially with the slow caramelization of the onion and cauliflower. I think this technique would be easy to do with any leftover steamed vegetables that don’t already have much flavor added. The original recipe called for a whole stick of butter, but I substituted canola oil for half to keep it just a bit more healthy. The butter taste still shone through nicely.

Cauliflower with Egg
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 onions, chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1/4 c. Italian parsley, minced
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the cauliflower until starting to get tender, but still crunchy (I did this in the microwave about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, slowly saute onions over medium heat in half the canola oil and butter (2 Tbsp. each), until they are starting to brown nicely. Stir in the steamed cauliflower and remaining butter and oil. Continue slowly cooking and stirring regularly, until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Just at the end of cooking, stir in eggs and herbs and continually toss the cauliflower while the eggs cook and coat the vegetables. Don’t overcook or the eggs will get tough. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Tofu Keema

I ran across this recipe as I was searching the other day – preparing to teach a small class of folks from my church about different ways to cook with tofu. Since I was looking for unique tofu cooking methods, this one for tofu keema caught my attention from allrecipes.com 

Prior to preparing the dish, the block of tofu is frozen, thawed and then crumbled (the recipe says “minced” – but it looks basically crumbled in the photo so that’s what I did). Prepared this way, it tastes and acts a lot like scrambled eggs.

After the advance preparation of the tofu, this is an easy-to-prepare vegetarian dish, and very tasty. I’d recommend squeezing the tofu block after it is thawed to remove some of the liquid. I’d also recommend using a non-stick pot or deep pan to cook this dish, the tofu started sticking to my saute pan (again like scrambled eggs!) towards the end of cooking. The amount of jalapeno pepper can be varied depending on how hot you like your meal, and I added that pepper along with the tomatoes rather than at the end since I preferred to have it fully cooked and blended into the dish. Eating it with a bit of yogurt or raita will help temper the spice as well.

Most of all, make sure you use a good curry powder with a blend of spices that smells really good to you. Most Indian cooks don’t even have “curry powder” in their kitchens, but add portions of each individual spice according to the requirements of the dish and their own tastes. Curry powders that you buy in the store are blends of those spices and can vary greatly in their content and taste.

Lentil Coconut Dhal

We have a finger food potluck tomorrow at my church, so I picked up some sesame pita from the new N. Raleigh Neomonde (so happy to have a Neomonde location close to my house!!).  I had seen a recipe for a lemon and coconut-flavored lentil dhal that I wanted to try, and I think this will make a nice pita dip.

Spicy Lentil Coconut Dhal
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

Saute all of the above together in about 2 Tbsp. canola oil over medium heat until onion is translucent but not browned.

1 1/3 c. red lentils
2 c. water
1 Tbsp. red curry paste (cut back on this for a less spicy dish)
1 c. coconut cream

Add lentils, water and curry paste. Stir well, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Lentils should be just tender. Add coconut cream and stir, continue to simmer another 15 minutes until mixture is thick.

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, cilantro and almonds. Reserve a few almonds and pieces of cilantro for garnish. You can also garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream. Serve as a dip or spread with bread or pita, or as a side dish. Serve warm or at room temp.

Ethiopian meal

My good friend Amy just returned from 4 months in Ethiopia, so we got together with another friend Lois, who had also lived there and together we made a great Ethiopian meal for some friends!  Ethiopian cuisine is very unique and makes for entertaining dinner parties, plus if you’re cooking Ethiopian you end up with a LOT of food that needs to be shared. And it also gave us the chance to see some of Amy’s wonderful photos from her trip.

We purchased the bread, injera, at Jerusalem Bakery and Grocery here in Raleigh. This bread is the foundation of an Ethiopian meal, literally.

Injera is a flat and spongy bread traditionally made from teff flour (teff being a grain native to that region of Africa). Teff has apparently become very expensive in the past few years, so our injera was made from a mixture of teff, barley and wheat. The various stew-y dishes are served on top of the bread on a large flat dish, like this;

Additional injera is given to each dinner guest, who tears off pieces to use as utensils to grab the food – eating with your fingers. During the meal the piece of injera on the bottom of the plate soaks up all the yummy sauces and gets kind of soggy. Which sounds unappetizing, but that is actually one of the best parts. You do have to be very careful not to over-eat though, because as that spongy bread sits in your stomach it seems to expand and make you even more full. I seem to forget that every time…

Let me describe the various dishes on the plate above. In the center is doro wat, a spicy chicken stew with hardboiled eggs added at the end. At the top is gomen, greens (I mixed collards and kale) cooked simply with onion, garlic and ginger. To the left is my favorite dish, misir wat, a spicy lentil dish. On the right is a dish called shiro wat made from powder that Amy brought back from Ethiopia. The dried powder is made from beans and peas mixed with hot pepper and other spices – she just added water, spices, tomatoes and onion, and ended up with a delicious and complex sauce, which one guest described as having a BBQ flavor. And at the bottom, an Ethiopian vegetable stew called alicha. (spellings vary on all of these)  Oh, and the white stuff is cottage cheese that we added to help cool our tongues since some of these dishes were very spicy.

Ethiopians don’t typically have dessert, except for fresh fruit and coffee, so we served a fresh fruit salad with a dollop of yogurt on top. The crew seemed to really enjoy the food, and there’s nothing like eating with your hands (plus some home brew by Hans) to build community spirit!

Here’s a recipe for alicha, adapted from the Mennonite Central Committee cookbook titled Extending the Table – a cookbook highly recommended for anyone who wants to cook and eat simply, but globally.

1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
salt, to taste
5 c. chopped cabbage
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and quartered

Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in oil or clarified butter. When softened but not browned, add the spices (turmeric, pepper and ginger) and stir to cook for another minute. Add 1/2 c. water, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the potatoes and carrots. Cook and stir uncovered until the potatoes and carrots begin to soften (adding water as needed).

Add cabbage, another 1/2 c. water, 1/4 tsp. additional salt, and the jalapeno pieces. Stir well and let simmer over medium-low heat until all vegetables are tender. Remove jalapeno pieces before serving, and taste to adjust salt. Even if you don’t have injera, it can be served with rice or just eaten by itself as a stew.

Note: this is a very common dish in Ethiopia, Lois said that when she was there one day they would have ‘potatoes, cabbage and carrots’ and the next they would have ‘cabbage, carrots and potatoes’, followed by ‘carrots, potatoes and cabbage’…..