mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Posts tagged ‘vegan’

simple broccoli slaw

Most cole slaw is made of milky dressing that is watery. I don’t hate it, but I like my version better. Much better.

I buy a bag of “broccoli slaw” (mix of julienned broccoli, carrots, plus red cabbage and/or cauliflower). I transfer it to a bowl, wrap tightly and slit a hole with a knife and microwave. For one bag, I microwave for 4-5 minutes. It is harder than you might imagine.

After all the extra water is drained, I add equal amounts of two ingredients: 

  • roasted sesame seed oil 
  • Aji-pon“-soy sauce plus citrus vinegar. I don’t bother making it from scratch. It’s available at Asian food section of most supermarket or Asian grocery store. Even if “aji-pon” is not there, there usually is “pon-zu” just a bottle of citrus-vinegar mix. You can mix 1:1 with soy sauce.

For a bag of this broccoli, about 12 oz, I think I used about 1.5 tbsp each. But honestly I didn’t measure. I drizzled each and when I felt right, I stopped and tossed.


That’s it. This is as tasty as any namul, and as easy as bean sprout namul. This goes well in bento box. The only trick is to drain water really well before adding aji pon and oil.

I guarantee it. It’s better than regular slaw dressing!



Bean sprout namul

I love bean sprouts. I occasionally grow own but it produces only small volume. But yesterday I found a big bag of bean sprouts at Asian grocery store so I decided to make namul, Koream style salad. I believe as long as the vegetable is cooked and roasted sesame seed is used, the dish should qualify as namul, but I’m no expert on Korean cuisine, so no guarantee.

I doubled the recipe found–again–on Cookpad. It just has endless supplies of great recipes! It had the English version.

I used a little less salt and no water. I plan to use in packed lunch for tomorrow so I didn’t want to make it go stale faster. Otherwise, it may help the soup powder (I would use Not Chicken for vegan version).

I microwaved the sprouts for 5 minutes. I layer a colander and matching bowl so the water is dripped out. I guess it was about 1.5 lb. While in Japan, a bag usually means 150 g to 200 g. So I should have tripled or quadrupled the recipe, but I didn’t. I don’t like too salty stuff.

 Then after shaking off excess water, I just added:

3 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp chicken stock granules

1/3 cup roasted sesame seeds

And toss it well until no granule is visible. Adding water should help dissolve.

And voila! Yummy, my favorite salad is ready!

Other variation I often make is replace about one third of sprouts with shredded carrots and add about 2-3 tbsp of vinegar.


The best way to eat avocado.

Many people love avocado and of course we know how versatile it is. I love guacamole, avocado salad, California roll…the list goes on.

But whenever I have avocado at home most of the time I eat avocado in a very simple way – just slice and pour soy sauce.  In weekend, this could be our only supper.  Too easy and too tasty to cook other avocado dishes. Even my 11- years old daughter can do it.

I highly recommend eating avocado this way.  It is the best.

Sliced avocado with soy sauce. My daughter made it for family.


Korean style teriyaki tofu

I recently learned that English version of Cookpad is available. I highly recommend this site!

I love tofu in teriyaki sauce plus ginger and garlic. I used marinate squeezed tofu for a whole day then baked, but it will take two days and too cumbersome. This version is so quick and taste is just as good.

The original recipe is here. Since the tofu I use is 19 oz. package, I doubled the amount of sauce, and instead of garlic, I used 1 tbsp garlic/ginger paste (available at Asian/Indian grocery store). Also, it’s so hard to get white long leek like onion (called ‘negi’), in the USA, so I used one green onion instead.

First I cut the tofu lengthwise, then sliced to about 3/8″ thick and spread on tea towel to remove excess water.

Tofu on tea towel to remove water


Then I mixed the modified sauce.

It’s important to grill the tofu well to brown.  Otherwise, the tofu will become watery later.

After tofu was browned, I added the sauce and flipped to make sure both sides were coated. Turned up the heat to evaporate all fluid and it’s done. Just about in 10 minutes!

This time, side was steamed (no, microwaved) green beans with a little bit of bonito flakes (note: vegetarian can omit this). Since the tofu has a strong flavor, I didn’t need soy sauce or anything on the bean. 

This is really healthy near-vegan menu. It does very well in packed bento lunch.  The only problem is I have to cook in two batches to have enough tofu for three people for both dinner and lunch.




Recipe – Nibitashi – veggies lightly simmered in soup

This is traditional Japanese quick side dish, though I usually make in large quantities and eat as mains. You can use most leafy green vegetables (I’ve try baby bok choy like this, spinach, and napa cabbage). Additional ingredients could be anything, really. Here I used enoki mushroom just because I found it in the fridge, but most commonly used one is Abura-age, fried thin tofu. Rinse with hot water to remove excess oil and slice.


Baby bok choy -about 1 lb
Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
Enoki mushroom – one package
Dashi (Japanese traditional bonito stock – see below) – 1.5 cup
Soy sauce – 4 tsp
Mirin (Japanese sweet sake, found in most well stocked grocery store, even at Walmart!) – 2 tsp


  1. Chop bok choy so that leafy area and thick meaty stem are apart.  Since the dirt tends to accumulate in between stems (see photo), wash each stem with finger to make sure all the dirt are removed.

    Baby bok choy end with dirt

    Baby bok choy end with dirt

  2. Cut off the end of enoki. Cut in half and divide the bottom part in bite size.
  3. Heat oil in a deep skillet. Stir fry the stems of baby bok choy. Once the stem looks somewhat translucent and cooked, add leaves, cook until the leaves are wilted.

    Cook thick stems first

    Cook thick stems first

  4. Add dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. Add enoki. Bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy! This is very mild flavored. If you prefer, you may add extra soy sauce, mirin or even a bit of salt and sugar.

Note about dashi. I’m a pescatarian, so I don’t mind using fish based bonito dashi. I don’t even mind if the dashi is MSG loaded cheap one. I’m a pescatarian solely because I feel sick when I eat meat.  Real bonito dashi is too expensive for everyday meal, at least for me. But if you are a vegetarian, you may use instead Kombu dashi or dried shiitake dashi instead. I think soaked dried shiitake sliced into strip will be a great ingredient for this dish and use the water for soaking as dashi.

I ate with soft tofu with ground fresh ginger plus a little bit of soy sauce (called “hiya-yakko” in Japanese) and Haiga-Mai (rice retaining its germ). Yum!

My favorite way to eat tofu: with ground ginger!

My favorite way to eat tofu: with ground ginger!

Saag Tofu recipe

I like Spinach. And Indian cuisine.  I recently embarked on making Indian dish on my own and this is the start.

I used this recipe from Food Network but I modified it too much and now it’s more like its own recipe.


  • For flavored tofu (use in place of paneer):

1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Canola)
1 (16-19 oz.) pack of extra firm tofu, cubed to about 1/2″

  • For Saag:

2 (12 oz. package) frozen chopped spinach
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste (available at Asian grocery store)
1/3 halapeno pepper, very finely chopped (this is very small amount.  I don’t like it too spicy.  But original recipe called 1 large serrano chile! I can’t do that)
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • For turmeric flavored rice:

2 cups brown Basmati rice
boiling water (maybe 3-4 quarts)
1 teaspoon turmeric



  1. Cut tofu into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes.  Extra firm tofu can be spread out on tea towel to remove water.  If you use regular firm tofu, cube and then microwave for 2 minutes to remove excess water.
  2. Whisk turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and oil together and coat the tofu cubes with mixture.  Leave until ready to cook.  I usually start Saag and when my hands are free, I start frying tofu.
  3. Heat frying pan in medium-high heat, add marinated tofu.  Make sure at least three surfaces of tofu are golden brown. Set aside.

Saag Tofu:

  1. Thaw the spinach overnight in the fridge.  In a hurry, you may microwave for 5-8 min in a large bowl, mixing every 2 minutes.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan.  (optional: if you hate crying with onions, microwave onion separately for about 4 minutes, then cook together.) Add onions, garlic-ginger paste, halapeno pepper.  First saute in high heat then after onion becomes cooked, lower the heat and cook until caramelized but not scorched.  It takes a long time.  You don’t have to stir all the time.  I usually stir about every minutes.
  3. Add other spices and stir further. If needed, add one to two tablespoons of water to prevent scorching.  Saute until spices’ fragrant gives off.
  4. Add spinach and stir well.  If raw spinach is used, add water, but with frozen spinach, it’s not really needed. Cook for about 5 min
  5. At the low heat, add yogurt and stir.  Add fried tofu cubes and cook until tofu cubes are warmed.  Serve with turmeric rice (or naan or whatever you like!).

Turmeric flavored rice:

  1. Boil a lot of water, at least 5 times the volume of rice.
  2. Wash rice in colander.
  3. Add turmeric and rice.  Keep at low boil for 20-30 minutes.  Fresher rice cooks faster.

Note: this is VERY MILD recipe.  I don’t like spicy and so does my daughter.  Original recipe called for ONE SERRANO CHILE!  I can’t take that for sure 😮



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