Vietnamese Inspired Spicy Vegetables
There was no time to waste. Having learnt to cook fragrant vegan Vietnamese cuisine in Hoi An, I was eager to recreate the flavors in my Korean apartment. Studying the scrappy piece of paper with notes scrawled back and front, I was able to decipher my favourite recipe and blow my friends away with this dish designed to tempt the most committed carnivore.
For some of these ingredients you’ll have to look in the Asian section of your supermarket or failing that, visit your local Asian market where you’ll probably find loads of other treasures too.
Prep Time: 25 mins Total: 50 mins Serves: 2 or 4 side dishes
8-10 large black mushrooms (re-hydrated from dry)
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (I like Shiitake)
2 cups yellow tofu (re-hydrated from dry)
1 sweet capsicum/ bell pepper, sliced
4 cubes of garlic, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons vegan soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 vegetable stock cube
a pinch of black pepper
a tablespoon of oil for frying
1/2 – 1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley
1. Re-hydrate the black mushrooms and yellow tofu (whole) in warm water for 25-45 mins. Until they are entirely soft when you squeeze them between your fingers. If you have fresh black mushrooms that’s even better.
2. Crush the garlic and ginger with a mortar and pestle.
3. Cut the black mushrooms and the fresh mushrooms in half; slice the sweet capsicum/bell peppers into stripes and slice the yellow tofu strips into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium hot frying pan or wok. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic and fry till fragrant, roughly 1 minute. Add the yellow tofu, both types of mushrooms and capsicum/bell pepper to the frying pan for 2-3 minutes longer.
5. Mix in the curry powder, soy sauce, vegetable stock and black pepper. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and toss with the cilantro or parsley. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Beware! I wasn’t kidding when I said this is a spicy dish. Because the capsicum and cilantro are lush and fresh they will help cool your mouth in an otherwise super spicy meal. Be advised you may need a glass of water.