Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food


Kenchinjiru: Shōjin winter vegetable stew.

Kenchinjiru is a traditional winter recipe originating in Zen temples, and there are many variations. The basic recipe adapts well to the sort of winter vegetables that are available in Scotland right now. It’s dead simple, and really warming. The amounts given makes a large bowl suitable for a meal for one. It’ll serve up to four as part of a larger meal. This is more of a formula than a recipe, and it can be made gluten-free by using a proper tamari instead of shōyu.

For the soup:
2 cups dashi
½ tsp frying oil
¼ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp shōyu
1 tsp sake

1 shiitake mushroom, both fresh and reconstituted dried ones are fine. If using dried, include the soaking water in the dashi.

2 large leaves spinach, a similar quantity of any green leafy vegetable, or a few green beans.

½ block (100g) tofu, cubed – either silken or “ordinary” will do

Vegetables: (choose three)
Peel (if needed) and slice them thinly. The first four are traditional:
Half a small carrot
5cm length of daikon from the thin end of the radish
1cm lotus root (quarter, then slice)
5cm burdock root
a quarter or a golden or striped beetroot (the traditional red one will colour the soup)
half a small parsnip
10cm length of salsify
a quarter of a small turnip, more if very small.
a similar amount of whatever root vegetable you happen to have.

Extras (choose one):
½ block konnyaku, any savoury variety, broken into lumps, boiled and drained.
1 sheet aburaage, rinsed and sliced thinly.

Heat the frying oil in a medium saucepan and add the vegetables, mushrooms and konnyaku (if using). Stir fry very briefly, then add the dashi, shōyu and sake. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are nearly cooked through. Add the spinach and tofu, and simmer until the tofu is warmed through and the spinach slightly wilted. Stir in the sesame oil and serve.



Historic veganism

Filed under: Historic — Tags: , , — Feòrag @ 20:13

Another catch-up post, here’s a list of vegan recipes from old cookbooks which I have posted before.

  • Brazil Nut Soup (1913)
  • I’ve also started putting together a link-list to old vegetarian cookbooks and related publications which have appeared online. This will be an ongoing project!


    1892 Fried Beetroot

    Filed under: Historic — Tags: , — Feòrag @ 21:09

    The veg box this week contains quite a lot of beetroot, so I’ve been looking for interesting things to do with it. Rummaging through my old veggie cookbooks for inspiration, I found the following in New Vegetarian Dishes by Mrs. Bowdich, the source of the Curried Beetroot and Cucumber recipe I posted some time back. Here’s the recipe I tried, with notes below.

    Fried Beetroot
    (A Breakfast Dish.)

    1 medium-sized beet.
    2 ounces butter for frying (50g).
    1 teaspoon salt.
    ½ teaspoon pepper.
    2 teaspoons flour.
    2 tablespoons vinegar.
    1 tablespoon water.

    Peel the beetroot (or don’t), and cut into slices about a quarter of an inch (6mm) thick (I did half moons). Dissolve the butter in a frying pan, place in the beetroot and fry for twenty minutes (actually nearer 10 or 15), sprinkling each slice on both sides with the pepper and salt. When done, arrange the slices on a hot dish. Reset the frying pan on the fire, stir in the flour, thoroughly mixing it with the butter, and fry for a couple of minutes, strirring all the time, then pour in the water and vinegar, stir until quite smooth; pour over the beetroot and serve quickly.

    I used a mix of vegan margarine and olive oil to replace the butter, and I think I’d use just oil in future. I did not bother with salt. The flour was wholemeal, because that’s what we have. When frying the flour, turn the heat right down. I used perry vinegar – pick a nice one, because it provides a lot of flavour. The sauce is dark purple and piquante, with the vinegar to the fore. Lemon juice would be nice instead. I served it on toast—for this purpose, the smaller the bits of beetroot the better, with the cooking time reduced accordingly.


    Mrs. Bowdich’s Curried Beetroot and Cucumber

    Filed under: Historic — Tags: , , , , — Feòrag @ 21:47

    Someone expressed an interest in this recipe from New Vegetarian Recipes by Mrs. Bowdich, originally published in 1892, and working its way through Project Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders right now. I should point out that I have not tried this recipe and am posting it as an historic curiosity. Notes on modernising it at the end.

    1 cucumber.
    1 beetroot.
    2 shalots.
    ½ pint water.
    1 teaspoon curry powder.
    2 tablespoons cooked haricot beans.
    2 ounces butter. (replace with marge, oil or, best of all, vegetable ghee)
    1 teaspoon flour.
    1 teaspoon salt.
    ½ teaspoon pepper.

    Slice the cucumber, beetroot and shalots, and fry for ten minutes in the butter; add pepper, salt, curry powder and flour, mix well and add water. Simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently.

    Notes: The choice of vegetables isn’t that surprising – cucumber being as close as you could get to some Indian veg. Remember this is a British book, and the date — when India was part of the Empire, and British people of a certain class were more than familiar with Indian food. Cucumbers back then were also not as watery as they are now, so maybe use courgettes instead, or squash, or tinda. I’d also roast and grind standard curry spices rather than using a pre-made powder, or use a paste and cut down on the oil. The salt is incredibly excessive by modern standards. Mincing the shallots would give a more authentic texture.

    Blog at