Day 72 – Recipe: Tanzanian Green Banana and Yam Stew (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

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While flipping through a vegetarian cookbook at a restaurant, I came across this recipe for Banana and Yam Stew and instantly was intrigued. At first I thought it sounded really gross but the more I read I became extremely curious. I must’ve read the recipe over at least 4 times, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Bananas in a stew? I decided I had to make it, even though it is not stew weather at all right now, it sounded so interesting – and I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Thankfully it turned out really good. And it took less time than I expected, which is always a bonus. My boyfriend wasn’t as crazy about it as I was – he doesn’t really like cloves (which I didn’t know beforehand), and truthfully the cloves were a bit overpowering. When I make this again I will adjust the spices (this is reflected in the recipe below). I can definitely see eating it when it’s cooler outside, it’s a great winter stew, very hearty, warming, and slightly sweet. The recipe makes enough for about 12 people, I ended up freezing half of it because there was so much. I won’t make my boyfriend eat it again though, Mom and Dad I hope you like cloves!

Green Banana and Yam Stew
Adapted From Linda McCartney on Tour

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 1 large tomato, chopped roughly

  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 green bananas, sliced

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the yams or sweet potatoes and cook until slightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl. In the same pot, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, tomato, carrot, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the arrowroot mixture. Add the bananas and yams/sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve alone or with quinoa or couscous. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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Not the most appetizing color, I promise it tastes better than it looks here.

 

 

 

Day 60 – Recipe: Jackfruit Thai Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews (vegan, gluten-free, corn-free)

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The first (and only time) I’ve ever had Jackfruit was at a little vegan restaurant in Los Angeles called Pure Luck. I read on Yelp that it is now closed, which is unfortunate because that place was such a find. Their entire menu was built around jackfruit, they didn’t have any soy or fake meats, just jackfruit (Just Jack! fruit LOL). I think I had some kind of BBQ jackfruit sandwich… I don’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was delicious.

I started looking for Jackfruit recipes online last week because I’d remembered seeing cans of it at the Asian market. The first recipe to catch my eye came up on about.com, Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers, Cashews and Lime Leaf, by Darlene Schmidt. Even though I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers I decided to go for it. I’ve made a few of Darlene’s recipes before and they were all amazing, I figured this one would be too.

So I went to Lee Lee’s Market looking for cans of “jackfuit in water or brine” (which I really thought I’d seen there) and all I could find was “jackfruit in syrup”, which wasn’t the right kind. So I went to the frozen section and after 10 minutes of looking I finally found frozen jackfruit (why is it so difficult to find anything at Asian markets?!). But I found both green jackfuit and ripe jackfruit, and unfortunately had a brain fart and couldn’t remember which one I was supposed to buy so I grabbed the ripe jackfruit. Wrong one. This is why I ended up at the store again the next day, to return the ripe jackfruit and get the correct one. This is what I finally ended up with:

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Completely frozen solid. I put it in hot water to defrost and it was fine after 30 minutes. I ended up using 2 packages because it didn’t seem like there was much fruit in one package. So here is the recipe I followed, it is slightly different from Darlene’s only because I couldn’t find vegetarian fish sauce, but nevertheless it turned out absolutely delicious. I will definitely make this again. I don’t know if it was the brand of jackfuit I used or what but it was different than I’d remembered. This time the texture was more like a canned artichoke heart or hearts of palm, and kind of tasted like that too… but it was still really good.

Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews

  • 2 packages frozen jackfruit, preferably unripe/green, OR 2 cans prepared jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup), drained

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 12 wedges

  • 1 large green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 5 dried black mushrooms, soaked in water for 2 hours to rehydrate then drained, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry roasted (unsalted) cashews

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • generous handful of fresh basil for garnish

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil for stir-frying

  • white wine (or white cooking wine) for stir-frying

PASTE:

  • 3 large green onions (or 6 small), sliced thin

  • 2 fresh red chilies (or more if you want it ultra spicy), sliced thin

  • 8 whole lime leaves, fresh or frozen, snipped into tiny strips

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1 Tbsp dulse, snipped into flakes

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 4 Tbsp tamari sauce

  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

PREPARATION

  1. First, prepare the curry paste. Place all paste ingredients together in a food processor or mini-chopper and process well. Lime Leaf Tip: Prepare the lime leaves using kitchen scissors to cut out (and discard) the hard central stem. If lime leaves are frozen, you can quickly thaw them by running under some hot water. Set paste aside.

  2. Cut jackfruit into desired bite size pieces, either in strips or cubes/chunks (as you would with chicken). Set aside.

  3. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add a little of the wine (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time) instead of more oil whenever wok/pan becomes dry.

  4. Add the bell peppers. Continue stir-frying another 3 minutes, or until peppers have softened and turned bright in color. Again, add a little wine when wok/pan becomes dry to keep ingredients frying nicely.

  5. Add the green jackfuit and black mushrooms. Stir-fry another 3 minutes and add wine for stir-frying if needed.

  6. Add the paste you made earlier, plus the coconut milk. Stir well to combine.

  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, allowing curry to gently simmer 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are nicely cooked, but not overcooked. Tip: Try not to overcook this curry, or you will lose the fragrance and taste of the paste.

  8. Just before serving, add the cashews, gently stirring them in. Now do a taste-test, looking for a balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy. If not salty enough, add more tamari, or a little salt. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime/lemon juice. If not spicy enough, add more fresh chili. If too spicy, add a little more coconut milk. Add a little more sugar if too sour.

  9. To serve, either portion out in bowls or on plates, or ladle the curry into a serving dish. Sprinkle with generous amounts of fresh basil, and serve with brown rice or quinoa. ENJOY!

Serves 4 – 6, depending on how much they like curry!

 

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Day 17 – Vegan Thai Green Curry, with fresh curry paste

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A couple months ago I was looking for a Thai Curry recipe that included an authentic paste from scratch. I found this recipe by Darlene Schmidt at About.com, here ,  it took quite a bit of time but it was fantastic. I doubled the recipe and we ate it for a week.

I decided to make it again because I finally came across some fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves at the Asian market. Last time I went to 3 different stores, driving myself crazy cause I couldn’t find them anywhere, fresh or frozen. It was a little ridiculous. I ended up using fresh lime juice instead and it worked just as well.

Last time I made it with fish sauce, but this time I wanted to make it vegan so I used a mix of Coconut Aminos and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. It didn’t turn out as sweet, but it was still really good. I put 3 chilis in it too so it was reeeeeaaaaaalllly spicy, next time I will probably only use 2.

These are the changes I made, I don’t take any credit for this recipe though. I also changed the prep and cook times, cause it literally took me 2 hours to make this (I might be a slow chopper, who knows). I also found that it takes much longer to cook the yams than she says:

Vegetarian Thai Green Curry (Vegan/Gluten-free)

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: SERVES 3-4

Ingredients:

  • GREEN CURRY PASTE:
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, sliced finely and minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3.5 T Coconut Aminos
  • 2 – 3 tsp. coconut sugar (to taste)
  • 1 – 3 green chilies, minced (to taste, 1=mild, 2=medium, 3=spicy)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen), snipped into thin strips with scissors, OR substitute 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 loose cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

OTHER:

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, OR substitute 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can unsalted garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 small yam or sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 10 baby carrots, each cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • large handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 T coconut oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. To make the green curry paste, place all paste ingredients in a food processor. Process well.

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  1. Place coconut oil in wok or deep frying pan. Turn heat on medium-high and add paste. Stir-fry until fragrant (about 1 minute), then add the coconut milk. Add Garbanzo Beans and stir to combine.
  2. Add lime leaves then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add yam/sweet potato and carrots. Add up to vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 25 min, or until yam is soft enough to pierce with a fork.
  4. Add Broccoli. Cover again and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Add Spinach, stir and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
  6. Do a taste test for salt and spice. If not salty enough, add up to 2 Tbsp. more Bragg’s, soy sauce, or sea salt. If too salty, add a little fresh lime or lemon juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk until desired taste is reached.
  7. To serve, transfer to a large serving bowl or plate up individual portions. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil. Accompany your curry with Brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

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I know the numbers got kind of messed up but I couldn’t fix it once I put the photo in. Ah well. Above I threw in 1/2 of a red bell pepper and 1/2 of a green bell pepper, just cause I had them laying around and didn’t want them to go bad. There ended up being so many vegetables in it that I didn’t have room to put in the spinach, but I included the spinach in the recipe cause I made it with spinach last time and really liked it. You can change up the vegetables to whatever you like too, this is just what we like. You also don’t have to throw in the vegetable broth, but I like lots of sauce so that’s why I used it. I ate mine with quinoa but I also made brown rice for my boyfriend, as pictured – just making more work for myself, as usual.

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Note: Woops just realized I used coconut sugar, not brown sugar. If you haven’t tried coconut sugar, it’s granulated and just as rich as brown sugar, but way better for you!