More Asian Food…

As yet my attempts to make my own natto have been rather unsuccessful.

Hard to believe, but it’s almost impossible to get soybeans in a city of over a million (at least if you refuse to withdraw further than 500 meters from your home due to two-digit sub-zero temperatures).

Therefore, my first natto-experiments contained not soybeans, but pinto beans, chick peas and white beans.
I am not sure what to make of the outcome though.
The natto bacillus definitely spread and grew and the beans and chick peas were soon covered with soft, slimy goo. Also, I survived eating that stuff, and it didn’t taste too bad either. But I’m afraid it was not much like real natto at all.

But when it was thawing yesterday, I finally dared leaving the house again, and I went shopping at another asian supermarket. It was much tinier than the other one, but the biggest difference was definitely the smell. They sold a lot of very exotic stuff there, including all kinds of seafood, and I think that may have been the source of this very strong smell, that was hard getting used to (and impossible to ignore).

Aside of that, they had a very interesting range of products, including so many different convenience foods, also all kinds of noodles, soy sauces, rice, fresh, frozen and canned goods, sweets and also non edible stuff like pots and tableware.

Among other things I bought different types of rice flour, rice vinegar, canned seitan und some weird mock meat stuff, black beans and soybeans. The best thing though: as this supermarket is much further from the city center than the other one, it was also far cheaper. I’m pretty sure I will be a regular costumer there.

The first thing I tried was the mock duck, made of soy and wheat protein, served with noodles and veggies. I am not quite sure what to make of it though – I don’t really like the idea of eating something that tastes like an animal. If I wanted to eat an animal (or even eat something that tastes like an animal), what would be the point of being vegan?

As I have never eaten a duck, I can’t really say if it tasted anything like it at all. Actually I think it just tasted like wheat protein with soy sauce on it (which is ok, I like that).

Also, I soaked the soy beans yesterday, and today, after cooking them, they finally were ready for my natto experiment.

Right now they are in the joghurt maker, hopefully fermenting and turning into natto. If I follow the recipe, I will have to wait for about three days until I know the outcome.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

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Asian Food

I am a big fan of tofu,soy sauce and soybeans in general – also of rice, since I have a rice cooker that makes really perfect rice – so I was really excited this week to go for the first time shopping at an asian supermarket.

The products there were amazing, so many different kinds of noodles, nori, cans and condiments…It was quit a cultural shock though, seeing so many products and not knowing what they were, as I couldn’t read the characters of the brand names. Some of the foods are really foreign to me and I still haven’t found out what everything is (I really hope I didn’t spread shoe polisher on my bread – but if so, it was at least spicy).

Asian Food

One of the things I always wanted to try out was natto (fermented soybeans), and I finally got the chance to do so.It was a very tiny serving with miniature packages of mustard and soy sauce. It was slimy at first and got foamy when stirred and the smell reminded me of malt – very weird stuff.
I really liked it though and I decided to try to grow my own natto in my joghurt maker, as soon as I get hold of soybeans.

NattoNatto

I also liked the canned seitan chunks and I decided to try to preserve my own seitan as well – my freezer just isn’t big enough for storing large amounts of seitan, so that would be a perfect, energy-saving solution.

I think some asian influenced recipes might be coming up soon…

Porcini Soup and Onion Soup in Bread

After enjoying the fondue in bread so much, I decided to try a soup in bread this time.

Picking the right soup seemed tricky though, as tastes quite differ in my household. As there’s one onion lover/mushroom disliker and one onion disliker/mushroom lover, I simply decided to make two different soups and breads.

Soup in BreadOnion Soup in Onion Bread and Porcini Soup in Porcini Bread

The bread is actually the same recipe as in the Creamy Tofu Fondue in Bread, just a smaller amount of dough and additionally some onions/porcini powder:

Ingredients:

bread:

  • 400g white flour
  • 1 level tablespoon of dry yeast
  • 1 level tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ca 350ml lukewarm water
  • for the onion bread additionally roasted onion cubes from 1/2 onion
  • for the porcini bread additionally 1- 2 teaspoons of powdered porcini

porcini soup:

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 80g fresh or frozen porcini
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 50g soy cream
  • 1 soup cube
  • 500ml water

onion soup:

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1,5 onions (200-250g)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 50g soy cream
  • 1 soup cube
  • 500ml water

Preparations:

  • cube onions
  • defreeze porcini or wash and cube if fresh
  • dissolve soup cubes in boiling water

Cooking:

bread:

  • mix the dry ingredients
  • add water and knead dough thoroughly until it’s smooth
  • let rise on a warm place for about an hour
  • divide dough in two even pieces
  • add roasted onions to one dough, porcini powder to the other
  • knead again, eventually you will have to add more flour or water, if the new ingredients change the texture of the dough too much
  • form two round loaves and put them on a greased baking tray or on a baking sheet

Soup in Breadleft: porcini bread, right: onion bread

  • preheat oven to 180°C/350°F while you let the loaves rise for another 10-15 minutes
  • put loaves in oven and bake for ca 30 minutes until they are done

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  • while the bread is in the oven, cook the soups
  • when bread is done, take it out of the oven, brush surface with water and let cool off for a couple of minutes
  • cut a round hole in the top and remove the lid

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  • hollow out the loaves and fill with the soups, which should now be done as well
  • optionally season onion soup with pepper, porcini soup with thyme
  • put the lid back on top
  • brush each top of loaf with some soy milk, wrap bottom half of loaves in tin foil and put in the oven for about 5-10 minutes at 180°C/350°F to make the top crispy

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  • serve immediately

porcini soup:

  • heat oil in pot
  • add porcini and roast until they are tender and juicy
  • add 1 tablespoon of flour, roast a little more
  • add 500ml soup, let simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • add soy cream, let simmer for a couple of minutes more
  • when soup is done, it can be filled in the loaves right away
  • if you want the soup to be more creamy,put half of it in a blender and puree it, then mix together with the rest again

Soup in Bread
Porcini Soup in Porcini Bread

onion soup:

  • heat oil in pot
  • add onion cubes and roast until they are tender and brown
  • add 1 tablespoon of flour, roast a little more
  • add 500ml soup, let simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • add soy cream, let simmer for a couple of minutes more
  • when soup is done, filled in the loaves right away
  • if you want the soup to be more creamy, put half of it in a blender and puree it, then mix together with the rest again

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Onion Soup in Onion Bread

Of course you can skip the whole bread thing and eat the soups from a plate, or put any other soup you like into the bread.

Tomato Cabbage

One of my favourites: simple, healthy, low-calorie and very tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 package tomato purée (500g)
  • 350g cabbage
  • salt, pepper, ground caraway

Preparations:

  • cut, slice or grate cabbage

Cooking:

  • heat oil in a large pot
  • add cabbage and brown lightly for a couple of minutes while stirring
  • add tomato purée, stir thoroughly
  • reduce temperature and put lid on pot
  • let simmer for about 30 minutes until cabbage is done, stir every now and then
  • season to taste

Tomate Cabbage

Goes well with bread.

This really large pot of tomato cabbage doesn’t only taste great, it also has just about 300 kcals!

Creamy Tofu Fondue in Bread

Oh dear… what a feast. On days like these you can feel that digesting is really hard work for the body.

There’s one good thing about those decadent silvester meals though: any danger of underweight is definitely banned for another two weeks.

Yesterday I made, as I mentioned in the previous post, our traditional silvester meal: a creamy tofu fondue in a loaf of bread.

tofu fondue in bread

Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as perfect as I hoped it would: the bread was bigger as usually (I used more dough), so the amount of tofu sauce didn’t suffice to fill it up completely. Nevertheless it tasted great, as it always does.

Here’s how it’s done:

Ingredients:

bread:

  • 600g white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ca 500ml lukewarm water

(or alternatively buy a loaf of soft white bread)

tofu sauce:

  • 350g soft tofu (silk tofu or any other that can be blended into a smooth tofu cream)
  • 250ml soy cream (or soy milk, if you don’t have cream)
  • eventually up to 200ml more soy milk, if you want the fondue to be more liquid
  • 1 bag of jelly powder (12g) or alternatively corn starch or carob gum
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pulp elephant garlic or 3-4 garlic cloves (grated or crushed)
  • some salt and pepper
  • optionally some more garlic powder

also optionally some veggis for dipping:

  • carots
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • … or whatever you like

Cooking:

bread:

  • mix the dry ingredients
  • add water and knead dough thoroughly until it’s smooth
  • let rise on a warm place for about an hour
  • knead again, then form a round loaf and put it on a greased baking tray or on a baking sheet
    tofu fondue in bread
  • preheat oven to 180°C/350°F while you let the bread rise for another 10-15 minutes
  • put bread in oven and bake for ca 30 minutes until it’s done
  • take bread out of the oven and let cool, eventually brush surface with water, as it’s easier to cut when it’s soft
    tofu fondue in bread
  • cut a round hole in the top and remove the lid
    tofu fondue in bread
  • now hollow out the loaf, but don’t remove too much of the soft stuff – you don’t want the loaf to get leakyOtofu fondue in bread
  • cut or rip the removed soft bread from the inside into little pieces, put them aside and cover with plastic wrap, so they won’t dry out – you’ll need them later for dipping

tofu sauce:

  • break tofu into smaller chunks or crush with a fork
  • then put tofu in blender and blend until it’s smooth and creamy
  • add soy cream/soy milk and blend again
  • add jelly powder, spices and elephant garlic, blend again
    tofu fondue in bread
  • put tofu sauce into a pot and boil up for a couple of minutes, while stirring continuouslytofu fondue in bread
  • pour tofu sauce in the hollow loaf of bread and cover with bread lid
  • wrap loaf into tin foil – if you don’t it will burn!
  • put wrapped loaf on a baking tray and bake at 180°C/350°F for about 30 minutes
  • you can unwrap the top of the loaf towards the end of the baking time if you prefer your bread to be more crispy

Once the baking time is over, unwrap your loaf and serve it with the bread you removed from the inside and, optionally, some veggis  or whatever else you like to dip.

tofu fondue in bread