Category Archives: Asian

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and Vegan Red Lobster Biscuits

soup and biscuit

This soup from the Post Punk Kitchen is an old favorite and easily one of my favorite soups of all time. I’ve posted it here before, but it’s been a long time so I thought I would revisit. I’ve also changed my instructions slightly to cut out a couple of steps, making the prep time about 10 minutes.

biscuitsBut first. BUT FIRST. Let’s get to these biscuits. It’s been probably close to two decades since I’ve been to a Red Lobster. Something recently made me think of those biscuits they give you — salty, cheesy, flaky, bottomless baskets of delicious cheddar bay biscuits. PROBABLY not the healthiest thing on the planet, but making them at home helps. I found this recipe on the blog Amazeballs Eats.

claire biscuits Our resident tween, a self-appointed cheddar bay biscuit connoisseur, even said, “If you gave me a Red Lobster biscuit and gave me one of these biscuits, I wouldn’t know the difference. They are soooooo good.”

She always seems to like things she helped make more, but I can’t disagree. She was a great sous chef.

Do cheddar biscuits go with Thai flavors? I don’t know. But they were both good and nobody complained. Good enough for me.

Even the toddler ate some of the soup, which does have a bit of a kick in the background. She would eat a spoonful, say “hot,” push it away, then ask for more.

I’ve tried to add different vegetables over the years — it’s perfect as is. Sometimes I have to learn the hard way just to leave it alone. Also, don’t skip the cilantro and sesame oil garnish on this one. You might think it wouldn’t make that big of a difference, but you would be wrong. It completes the soup and is so much better than without. Now to the recipes!

Vegan Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Biscuit Ingredients
• 2 c. all-purpose flour — I’ve been using spelt flour a lot lately for a little extra health 🙂
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 3/4 tsp. salt (I put less in the biscuits and added to the buttery glaze that goes on top)
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
• 1 c. cheddar style shreds (I use and recommend Daiya)
• 1 c. plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I went with almond)
• 1/2 c. vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), melted

Butter Topping Ingredients
• 2 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. dried parsley (I used 1 tsp. fresh, minced parsley)

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar style shreds; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk and melted vegan butter until the butter forms small clumps. (Ours never formed clumps, so we just went for it. It was fine. They were flaky and wonderful!)
  4. Add the almond milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula just until a dough forms and no dry ingredients remain. Use a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little more than an inch between biscuits.
  5. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes. While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter, garlic powder and parsley. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

• 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
• 1/2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1-2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or more for extra spice! I probably added closer to 2)
• 1 15 oz. coconut milk unsweetened
• 3 cup(s) vegetable broth
• 3 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon(s) sea salt
• 1 tablespoon(s) sesame oil
• 1/2 cup(s) cilantro, fresh

1. In a stock pot, saute onion and ginger in oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add curry paste and cook for another minute or so.

2. Add sweet potato, diced small, and stir for about a minute.

3. Add coconut milk and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.

4. Add lemon juice and salt. You’re ready to serve!

5. Once in bowls, drizzle with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (as much as you like).


Peanutty Red Curry Sauce


Doing some Googling while trying to come up with some new ideas for a Thai-loving client, I came across this quick curry sauce from Pinch of Yum. Ho. Ly. Crap. So good. So easy. And you could put it on anything  — not just the obvious stir-fries, but any type of veggies (ooh, like the cauliflower cakes I have yet to post), even some kind of breakfast Benedict. It would be great on chicken and mild fish too, for the meat-eaters of the world.

I made some brown rice and topped it with sautéed tofu and veggies — a little bit of whatever I had in the fridge. In this case, mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, button mushrooms, kale and the leftover zucchini noodles from my daughter’s dinner (which you saw earlier tonight if you follow VegOut on Instagram).

It’s like a perfect marriage between peanut sauce and a classic red curry. I like to eat things pretty saucy, and I would say this recipe made about 4 servings. I’m not a person who likes a lot of repeats with my food, so it’s kind of a big deal for me to say: I feel like I could eat this every day. This one will definitely be going in the rotation. I may just have to keep a jar of it in the refrigerator so I can whip up quick stir-fries throughout the week. The baby loved it too!

OK, here it is. I have to go finish stuffing my face now.

• 1 15 oz. can coconut milk (Original recipe calls for light, but I only had regular at home and it was great).
• 2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I’m sure you could sub almond butter if you need to)
• 2 Tbsp. red curry paste (I did rounded Tbsp. for sure. I can’t leave well enough alone).
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (In the interest of vegetarianism. Original recipe calls for fish sauce).
• 2 Tbsp. lime juice
• 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• water or broth to taste, optional
• 1/3 c. crushed peanuts, plus more for serving if you like
• green onion, sliced, for serving, optional

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan over high heat. When it reaches a gentle simmer, add peanut butter, curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and garlic. Whisk and keep on high heat for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit.

Add the peanuts and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon you can add a bit of water or broth (I added about 1/2 c.) to adjust consistency depending on how thick you like it. I went ahead and made mine pretty thin since I knew I would ultimately be sopping it up with some rice. If I were serving it as more of a sauce on a piece of tofu or aforementioned cauliflower cake, I would let it reduce a bit and get a little thicker.

If the sauce separates, never fear. Give it a good whisk before serving. Enjoy!

Simple Stir Fry Sauce

It seems I never get sick of Asian food (of any kind) so when I either A) have no plan for dinnertime and/or B) need to clear out a lot of veggies that will soon turn, stir-fry it is. I always have brown rice in the cupboard  — tonight I used up a little white basmati I had leftover from a recent job.

As I was pulling veggies out of the fridge, I remembered recently seeing a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables in the freezer. Frozen vegetables, especially when I go to Trader Joe’s, are my weakness. I always think they’re going to come in handy in a pinch, but then I never use them. I always have fresh. I thought tonight was the night! I cooked them as I was throwing my fresh vegetables in the pan…turns out I had plenty. Once they were cooked it was a pathetic little pile of vegetables, so I added them anyway — you can’t have too many vegetables in stir-fry.

This is a really basic stir-fry sauce you could doctor up — add red pepper flakes, more ginger or garlic, more sesame oil, more or less sweetness. It’s a starting point. Or you can use it exactly. This makes a lot — about 3 cups — so you can store it for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and it will be ready when you need dinner in a pinch again.

• 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1/2 c. soy sauce, low sodium
• 2 c. vegetable broth (or substitute any or all of it with water)
• 1/4 c. cider or red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
• 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (or can use 1 Tbsp. powdered ginger)

1. Whisk sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. Sautee vegetables, tofu, meat if that’s your thing, etc. to your desired doneness. I did this in coconut oil and a little sesame oil.

3. Whisk sauce and add desired amount of sauce and cook/boil for about 1 min. I recommend about 1/2 c. per serving. It will thicken slightly upon cooking so keep that in mind.

4. Serve over brown or white rice or quinoa and enjoy.

Quick Asian Mushroom Noodle Soup

I made this for a client today and, as I often do, decided to whip some up for myself when I got home. I had almost all of the requested ingredients on hand, so I got to it and it was ready to eat in less than 30 minutes — pretty good, especially for a hearty soup! I didn’t have any udon noodles and didn’t feel like boiling up any others, so I went without. I think I prefer it this way and won’t add noodles next time.

The version for my clients included chicken instead of tofu and spinach for the greens. I knew my box was arriving any time from Door to Door Organics, so I let it simmer until that arrived and added in kale. This could really be a kitchen sink soup though — I think just about any vegetable or even beans would be really good in here.  Also, because there’s no butter or oil involved, it’s really low fat (if not no fat) and if you used Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce, it would be salt-free too. It’s extremely flavorful and was so, so easy. Enjoy!

• 4 c. vegetable broth
• 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, low sodium or Bragg’s liquid aminos
•  2 tsp. grated ginger (I took about a 2-3 inch piece and minced it)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2-3 c. mushrooms — any combo of white, cremini, shiitake, oyster, baby bellas
•  2-3 c. shredded cabbage, white or napa
• 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 pkg. baked tofu, cut into small pieces (I use Panda brand, made in Royal Oak — you can find it at the farmer’s market, Holiday Market, natural food stores, etc.)
• 2 oz. cooked udon noodles (optional!)
• 1-2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
• 2 c. greens — spinach, kale, chard, etc.
• pepper to taste
• 1 Tbsp. Mirin (optional)

1. Cook noodles separately if you are using.

2. In a large pot, combine broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and tofu. Cover and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to a simmer until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add in noodles (if using), green onions and greens. Simmer until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Vegan Tofu and Peanut Stir-Fry

One of my “resolutions’ this year was to make use of my overabundance of food-related magazines. It only took me about 10 weeks to get to it! I cracked open my newest Food Network Magazine where, unfortunately, there are sometimes very few vegetarian recipes.  So, I decided to jump on it when there was a tofu stir-fry recipe. I was doing too many things at once, so I let the peanuts burn a bit, but it was still great! Very similar to my kung-pao that I make, due to the peanuts and the chilies, but my squeeze and I both loved it. I served it with steamed mantou (pictured). Mantou is a steamed Chinese bun you can find in the freezer section at Asian markets. I buy them every once in a while at Kai Sun Discount Oriental Market in Troy, where I also got the vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce I use in this recipe. You keep them in the freezer, then just take out however many you want, sprinkle them with water and nuke them for about 3 minutes. Not something we eat often, but a nice addition every once in a while!

Back to the recipe — it was a pretty simple one and was great over brown rice. I used a mixture of the dried red chilies and one large jalapeno, sliced into fourths, all of which we removed before eating. It gave just enough heat without making your nose run! We’ll definitely be repeating this one.

• 6 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
• 3 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
• 1/3 c. vegetarian oyster sauce
• 1 firm block of tofu, drained
• 1 c. unsalted peanuts (preferably raw)
• 1/4 c. peanut (or vegetable) oil
• 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• 8 whole dried chilies or 2 jalapenos, sliced horizontally
• salt
• 12 oz shiitake mushrooms (I used 2 3.5 oz pkgs, which was just fine)
• 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced in half (I eyeballed this – no clue how much I had since they were in bulk).

1. Whisk 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with the oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. water and rice wine in a good-sized bowl or dish.

2. Cut the tofu in half horizontally, forming 2 large rectangles, then cut each rectangle into 4 squares. I cut my slices into 8 squares, but wish I had done as advised. Add to the marinade and turn to coat.

3. Cook the peanuts in the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about four or five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

4. Remove the tofu from marinade, but save the marinade for later. Sprinkle both sides of tofu with the remaining 4 Tbsp. of cornstarch. I did this by sprinkling one side of the tofu, then placing it cornstarch side down in the pan, then sprinkled the other side.  Cook each side for about four minutes, until golden, then remove to a plate.

5. Add the ginger, garlic, chilies and/or peppers, 1 tsp. salt (I used less — just a turn or two of the grinder). Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and snap peas; stir-fry until tender crisp (or until the mushrooms look cooked to your liking).

6. Whisk 1 1/2 c. water into the reserved marinade and add to the pan. Stir until thick, 3-5 minutes.

7. Add the tofu and peanuts and heat through. Remove the dried chilies (I chose to also remove the jalapenos I was using). Enjoy!

Simple Vegan Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is one of those things that I love to make because it can change all the time. Other than a couple of things (like this salad) I’m rarely a creature of habit when it comes to food. My squeeze can eat the same thing every single day and be happy with it. I’m… not that way. With stir-fry, there are all kinds of different sauces, veggies and proteins you can put in it to change it up. This is a good basic recipe because I always have the items for the sauce on hand and you can make it only if you have a couple of veggies on hand too. Just when you think you don’t have anything to eat for dinner — voila!

• 1 to 2 Tbsp. oil (I usually use a combo of whatever’s handy — sesame, ginger, safflower, olive, whatever)
• 4 tsp. cornstarch
• 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 c. water
• 1+ tsp. ginger powder (or fresh ginger, see below)
• Any veggies you like!
• Red pepper flakes
• 1-2 cloves minced garlic (optional)

I first heat about 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan. I try to start small because we rarely need as much oil as it seems we will! For a little kick, I’ll sometimes sprinkle in some red pepper flakes and let them fry in the oil for bout 15 to 30 seconds.

If you are using a protein — whether it’s drained tofu, tempeh, chicken, etc., I’d do that first, remove it from the pan, add another tablespoon of oil and proceed as follows. Last night, I went for it with just veggies.

After the oil is heated (and pepper flakes in there, if using) I add minced garlic and saute quickly. Have your veggies chopped up and ready to go in! Last night when I made this, I couldn’t find my ginger powder that normally goes in the sauce mixture for the life of me, so I minced up about 1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger and added it at this time too.

Next add your veggies. I try to add the ones that take a little longer to cook first — carrots, broccoli, green beans. Then add the others: onion (either chopped white or, as I had last night, green onions), mushrooms and softer vegetables. One thing I love about my market I normally go to is the items they have in bulk. I was able to buy one large carrot, a small handful of green beans, a small handful of snowpeas — that way you can have a little bit of everything.

Cook all your veggies until they seem tender crisp, but not quite done yet (not rocket science here — you can always cook as long as you need in the end). Whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch, water and ginger powder (if using) and add to pan. Cook, stirring often until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. I usually find about 5 minutes is sufficient.

And that’s it! Once you have the veggies chopped, it takes about 15 minutes to make — coincidentally the exact same amount of time it takes to make a nice fluffy pot of quinoa to serve it over, so you don’t have to wait around 45 minutes for rice.

Vegan Inside Out Tempeh Asian Dumplings and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

One good thing about waiting in a doctor’s waiting room is the time to catch up on some of my magazines. This week that made for two delicious meals — this one and a trio of Indian dishes (that’s next up).

First up, the snap pea side dish. I snagged this out of a magazine at the office, and only had time to quickly jot down the ingredients as they called my name. SO, I have no idea if there is some order or technique I’m supposed to follow or how many it’s supposed to serve or anything. I just tossed everything in a container and stirred it up, then put on the lid and shook it up (and of course I can’t leave well enough alone, so I had to doctor it up a bit…)

• Sugar Snap Peas (not to be confused with flat snow peas) — I just grabbed some out of the bulk section at my local market. I’m not sure how many the recipe calls for!
• 1 Tbsp. lime juice (I ended up using the juice of one lime, about 2 Tbsp.)
• 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced/grated through a microplane
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil (I did half olive oil, half sesame oil)
• red onion (I thinly sliced about 1/2 a small red onion)
• salt and pepper to taste
• sesame seeds
(Though it didn’t call for it, I think I included a splash or two of rice vinegar too)

This side dish/salad ended was really good! Very light and flavorful. It seems like the type of thing that would help it feel like summer, even on Christmas.

Next up, the “inside out” dumplings — much easier than meticulously stuffing wontons! I got this recipe out of my Whole Living magazine, in a feature of 6 “DIY Takeout” recipes (where one of my Indian dishes came from too). It’s supposed to be pork, but I swapped that out for crumbled tempeh and — voila! — a delicious asian vegan dish.

Of course, I doctored this up a bit too. It turned out really well! (I believe my not-hungry squeeze, while getting a third small helping, said something like, “I could eat this everyday and I would kill the leftovers at lunch. You should just make a giant pot of this next time.” I’m not sure you get a better endorsement than that.

• 3-4 Tbsp. oil — the recipe calls for olive oil, I did a mixture of olive, sesame and ginger oils (you may need more, since there’s no fat from the meat!)
• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I actually forgot they were in there…I’ll probably do more next time)
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
• 2 scallions, whites and greens separated (I used 5-6, keeping some pieces big and slicing the rest), thinly cut on the bias
• 1 pkg. of tempeh (I went with flax tempeh tonight)
• 1 lb. baby bok choy, leaves separated and rinsed, with large stems sliced in half length-wise
• 1 carrot, grated
• 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (maybe I could have gone with rice wine vinegar here? Maybe next time…)
• kosher salt to taste
• 6 oz. fresh wonton wrappers

1. Heat oil and pepper flakes over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and scallion whites. Cook, stirring until scallions are tender, about one minute. (*Note: now’s a good time to get a small pot of water boiling — you’ll cook your wontons in it at the end!)

2. Add tempeh, crumbling with hands as you add it. Cook for 3 minutes.

3. Add bok choy, cover and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. (Add more oil here so it doesn’t burn, if you need to)

4. Remove from heat and add grated carrot. Add vinegar and salt. Set aside.

5. When water is boiling, add wontons one at a time to the water and cook until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and add to pot.

Serve with scallion greens on top.  It also seems like this dish would be good with crushed peanuts too, but I’ll have to try that next time! I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow! Yum.