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Attempts in Kitschen: Vegetarian Larb

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I love larb. The first one I tried was fish larb made with tilapia in a Minnesotan Hmong restaurant. Since that we found some recipes for fish larb, and we usually use this one.

I had made a vegetarian version a few times before. Some recipes I had found use some wheat based stuff, but I prefer TVP. Wheatless and glutenfree.
Here’s the rough recipe;

1 cup (dry) TVP (aka textured soy protein)
1.4 cups water
Thai fish sauce, to taste (salty – start with 1 tbsp, and taste, add more, test…)
Lime juice
Red pepper (fresh Thai stuff, or dry will work too)
Herbs: cilantro, basil, mint, vietnamese coriander, chives, garlic, oregano etc
Lime juice

Measure TVP in a heat proof container. Boil the water. Add the boiling water to TVP, mix. Let cool covered while you mince the herbs (scissors, knife, blender – as you like). Add the herbs (see a few examples of larb to see how it needs to look like, so add some, stir, add more etc until it looks and tastes right). Add on the same way the fish sauce (if anyone finds a really good vegan replacement for fish sauce, let me know), and last the lime juice to adjust the flavor. All the time make sure the ingredients are well stirred together.

Enjoy with sticky rice, or as a side with veggies or other foods. Or even on crackers.
The TVP version is much faster to make than the fish version, and it’s still packed with protein. I recommend using enough herbs, especially mint and basil, to make it taste extra fresh.
Having a glutenfree version is awesome – also if you need a quick vegetarian dish for a potluck etc that works.

TVP works great for taco filling too, instead of meat; usually a TVP/water ratio of 1:1.5 since the spice mixes will absorb water too. Mix the dry TVP and taco spice, add boiling water, stir, let cool covered. Actually I did fancy some tacos today. But no taco shells, so it would have been perilla leaves and the TVP taco mix in it. No taco mix… therefore vegetarian larb for lunch.

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Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #2: Sweet Potato Greens

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Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #2: Sweet Potato Greens

I don’t seem to have good karma editing multiple pictures in one post today, hence #2 for the actual greens… or leaves. So more sweet potato greens goodness!

After preparing the sweet potato stems, I used nearly the same method for doing the leaves.

Ingredients (It’ll probably be less annoying if I’ll start to list them separately…):

  • Olive oil (or sesame oil)
  • garlic cloves and leeks
  • thai peppers + crushed red pepper
  • thai fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • sesame seeds
  • fresh herbs (chives, basil, vietnamese coriander, mint, or any you prefer)

So after you’ve prepared the stems, and have the blanched sweet potato greens, cut them to smaller pieces, 1/2″ or so. Heat the oil hot on your favorite pan and add a crushed garlic clove and fresh thai peppers and/or crushed red pepper and let those get some flavor going. Once they are hot and smell delicious, add the sweet potato leaves, and keep them moving. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and sesame seeds to taste, and let them cook until your desired consistency, and depending on the heat, from a few minutes to maybe ten minutes. Add fresh, minced herbs and done. A second side made from an ingredient that looked too pretty to cook with… :)

Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #1: Sweet Potato Greens & Stems

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Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #1: Sweet Potato Greens & Stems

I’m painfully aware that I haven’t made a blog entry for ages. Too many things going on, other stuff to write, and even the classic what I want to finally write (like a guide for touristing in Ireland) are still on shelf.

So time to try something new. Oh yay, I’m jumping on the ah so 2008 bandwagon of food blogging… I guess. Someone told I should document my experiments with food, so here goes. As Friday is often the day I end up getting some new ingredients (at least if I order from Greenling), here goes #1.

Fried Sweet Potato Stems

Wait, what? I’ve had some sweet potato greens in some neat ways in our favorite Korean restaurant, but this week’s batch contained hon tsai tsai, aka sweet potato greens. There was a recipe for a curry with them, but time to experiment. Greens separately, stems separately.

I rinsed the greens, then separated the leaves from the stems, and blached the leaves for 10 seconds, the stems (chopped to 1″ pieces) for a minute.

Then, for the stems… heat some olive oil, and fresh smashed garlic and home grown thai peppers, crushed red pepper, and get the flavor out of them. Add the stems, and keep them moving. After a few minutes add some thai fish sauce (I was out of soy sauce but fish sauce worked just fine), and adjust the flavor with some lime juice. Fry until a bit more tender or up to taste, maybe 10 min or so. Finish with fresh chives, parsley, vietnamese coriander and other herbs of choice, and enjoy. Or let cool and then enjoy. Makes a neat side dish. Then prepare the leaves