03 Oct 2012
Vegan MoFo 2012 – Fried rice and boozy bok choy
1,000 vegan recipes… and about 978 to go!
Day three and back to making previously unmade recipes. This time I’m cooking with sherry…Another first.
Another candidate on my bookshelf that hasn’t had much attention lately is 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen it, but it’s a mighty tome of a cookbook: a hardback, 612 pages long, that can almost double as a yoga block or small step (um, not that I’ve tried or anything). It’s extremely comprehensive – almost overwhelmingly so.
When I bought 1,000 Vegan Recipes, I had grand ambitions of working my way through many of the chapters, but in truth I probably only attempted 1% of recipes. Of the dishes I made from Robin’s book, I remember the mayo being a revelation, loved the tamarind tofu and the array of tempeh recipes.
Then one day, I made the Tempeh Satay and I got a bit stuck on it. I made it over and over, mixing up the spices and increasing the heat. Basically ever since, 1,000 Vegan Recipes may as well have been renamed “That Big Book with the Tempeh Satay”.
Speaking spices, I have to say I’m a bit of a chilli fiend. I will more often than not choose recipes with a fiery bite, particularly those with Thai flavours. So as I reacquainted myself with everything except page 40 of 1,000 Vegan Recipes, I decided to pick recipes l that were asian-inspired, but not spicy in any way.
Vegetable fried rice
I chose vegetable fried rice simply because it would be one of the last things I’d usually cook. It’s not that I don’t like rice dishes, I do. But fried rice can tend to be greasy and sometimes a bit bland.
The other reason why I don’t make fried rice is because recipes always say to use “leftover rice”. Who are these people who have loads (like 4 cups), of leftover rice in their fridge? Certainly not us!
Anyway, after committing to the recipe, I got up early in the morning, made some rice then left it to cool for the day. Not so hard really.
The interesting this about this version of fried rice is that it calls for a long-grain such as basmati. This means that that the rice stays more separate than a medium grain such like jasmine, which can sometimes become gluggy.
After finely chopping the onion, carrots and zucchini, the recipe was very quick to throw together. The only substitute I made was to use coconut oil in place of the canola.
I really liked the addition of the toasted sesame oil at the end. The flavour of this fried rice was subtle and would complement a bolder side dish.
Sherry-braised baby bok choy
I wanted some greens with the fried rice and when I came across sherry-braised baby bok choy, I was intrigued. I’ve only known my Nan to cook with sherry and I think all she used it in was trifle.
I had no idea what sherry would be like in a savoury meal but was willing to experiment. So off to the bottle shop I went to pick some up, however as I was scanning the labels of each brand, I couldn’t find one that was vegan-suitable.
I told the storeperson that I was looking for sherry, or similar, that did not contain animal products and he recommended a bottle of Pedro Ximénez that clearly stated it was unfiltered and unfined. Although this style was probably a much sweeter sherry, it was as good as I was going to get.
The recipe was simple enough to prepare, containing only a handful of ingredients.
The bok choy is basically halved, and then simmered in a sherry-soy mixture for around 15-20 minutes. Again, I used coconut oil in place of canola.
I must say that when I lifted the lid of the wok I was a bit concerned at the colour of my greens, they were very much done!
The flavour of the bok choy and braising liquid was quite impressive – you’d never know I’d been cooking with the plonk! And if I used the wrong type of sherry, it was still delicious and I’d definitely make this again.