Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food


Fried Asparagus and Braised Shiitake.

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 16:25

A Japanese lunchTwo Japanese style dishes which formed part of my lunch today. The recipes below each make an individual portion when served as part of a Japanese meal

Fried Asparagus
6 spears green asparagus
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¾ tsp sake
¾ tsp dashi

Cut the asparagus into 5cm (2″) lengths, discarding the tough ends. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok, add the asparagus and stir-fry quickly. Drain off any excess oil. Add the sake and dashi to the pan. When the stock thickens, the dish is ready. Serve sprinkled with sesame seed.

Braised Shiitake
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
sesame oil for frying
1 tsp sake
1 tsp shōyu

Soak the mushrooms for 15-30 minutes, then cut off the stems. Reserve a few spoonsful of the soaking water and add the sake and soy sauce to it. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and place the mushroom caps in it, gills down. Fry for a minute or so, then flip over and fry the caps. Add the reserved soaking water. The dish is ready when it has boiled dry.

In the photo, this is shown served on top of grilled tofu, which was done in a grill pan as slices, then cut up into chopstick sized pieces.



Black Beans and Hijiki

This recipe was adapted from one in Kyoko Honda’s Tofu and Soybean Cooking. The original used soya beans, and used more sweetener and seasonings.

1 can black beans
10g dried hijiki (about 1/3 cup)
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 sheet abura-age (fried tofu sheets)
1 small carrot
½ sachet dashi (vegan ones do exist, honest)
4 tbsp shoyu
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
2 tbsp sake
1½ tbsp sesame oil

Put the hijiki to soak in 1 cup warm water; soak the shiitake mushrooms in enough water to cover them. Put on some brown rice.

Rinse the abura-age in hot water to defrost and get rid of the oil. Pat dry in a tea towel and slice into julienne strips. Slice the carrot into julienne strips. Combine the shoyu, brown rice syrup and sake in bowl. Drain the tin of beans.

Go away and read teh internets for 10 minutes or so.

Drain the seaweed and mushrooms, retaining the soaking water. Cut the stalks off the shiitake and bung them in the stockpot (or the bin, depending). Slice the caps.

Heat up the oil in a wok or large saucepan. Add the carrots, mushrooms, hijiki and abura-age and stir fry for a couple of minutes (don’t skip this for health reasons – much of the good stuff in sea veg is oil-soluble). Add the beans, soaking water and dashi powder, bring to the boil. Add the combined shoyu etc – you might have to add a bit of the hot water from the pan to get all the syrup out, then allow to simmer until dry.

Serves 2 as a one bowl meal with rice. Serves lots and lots as a small dish presented as part of a Japanese style meal.


Sprout tops and daikon soup

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 13:05

Our local wholefoods shop has started selling the tops of brussels sprouts as a vegetable in their own right. They recommend cooking it like spring cabbage (the dark green type of cabbage), and at 35p for a whole top (which includes a few sprouts hidden in there) it was worth a try. Today I was in a Japanese soup mood for lunch, and decided to experiment.

2 cups konbu dashi
5cm (2") piece of daikon
3 leaves from the brussels sprout top
approx ½ tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp sake
¼ tsp soy sauce
nanami (shichimi) togarashi
a pinch of sesame seeds

Put the dashi on to boil, and while waiting, cut the daikon into fine julienne strips. Fall further in love with the very sharp Japanese knife your beloved recently bought you as a present. Add the daikon to the pot. Roll up the leaves and slice them so you get fine strips. Bung ’em in. Add the sake and soy sauce and simmer until the daikon is tender. Add the ginger. Pour into a bowl, and sprinkle nanami togarashi and sesame seeds on top. Serves one.


Sake-simmered tofu and broccoli

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , — Feòrag @ 14:57

There is a French technique which involves simmering vegetables in a mixture of white wine and olive oil. The following is my attempt to do something similar using Japanese ingredients. You will need a small frying pan with a lid, and it should work with any vegetable.

Most of a head of broccoli
half a cake of tofu
1 spring onion
sesame oil
yuzu (ゆず – it tends to be labelled in hiragana. It’s citrus peel.)

Put sake in a small frying pan to a depth of about 1cm (½ inch – this isn’t crucial) and add a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil. Bring to the boil with the lid on.

Meanwhile, remove the stem from the broccoli and cut into strips a little larger than julienne strips. When the liquid is boiling, place them in the pan, put the lid back on and turn the heat down so that it is simmering.

Cube the tofu and add that to the simmering mixture. Stir, replace the lid and continue simmering.

Cut up as much of the broccoil head as you fancy into small florets and slice the spring onion thinly. Stir up the mixture in the pan, then place the broccoli florets and spring onions on top, to steam. Replace the lid, and allow to cook for about as long as it takes to cook soba noodles!

When it’s done, the pan should be almost dry and the tofu near the base will have gone nice and crispy. Stir it all up and serve sprinkled with yuzu. Toasted sesame seed would also be nice. I had it on top of soba, hence the description of how long to cook it for.

Update 21st May 2007: this also works well with asparagus. Cut the stem of the asparagus into 4cm lengths and then into quarters lengthways.


Braised shiitake mushrooms with tofu

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , — Feòrag @ 17:49

I’ve just found this recipe on the inside of a pack of Tesco shiitake mushrooms, and it looks delicious so I thought I’d share it before I toss the label. I’ve removed references to non-vegan variations:

Cooking Time: 11½ minutes

2 tbsp groundnut oil;
250g pack tofu, cut into 2.5cm pieces;
1 garlic clove, finely chopped;
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger;
3 finely sliced spring onions;
100g pack whole shiitake mushrooms, stalks trimmed;
1 tbsp shaoxing wine or dry sherry;
½ tbsp soy sauce;
1 tbsp stock or water;
1 tsp sugar;
2 tsp sesame oil.


  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add half the oil and when it’s very hot and slightly smoking, add the tofu. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until golden then remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, including the tofu. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and serve… SERVES 4 AS A SIDE DISH.

The one clarification I would make is that the rest of the ingredients in step 3 doesn’t include the sesame oil.


Grilled tofu with roast pepper miso sauce

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 20:08

This is one of those “post it before I forget what I did” recipes. I just got one of those George Foreman grill things, and made this up as I went along so I could play with it.

1 sweet red pepper
Approx 250g lump of tofu, sliced into two ‘steaks’
2 tbl pale barley miso (use shiro miso of your choice here)
2 tbl sake
sesame oil

Oil the grill and turn it on. Cut the pepper into chunks and, when hot, place on grill. They’ll be done in about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a pan. Put a small amount of oil on the tofu and put it to grill. Grind the peppers to a pulp with a hand blender (or whatever) and mix with sake and miso. Put on a very gentle heat to warm through – do not let it boil, or the goodness of the miso will disappear.

When the tofu is done, place on plate and pour sauce over – serves two, as part of a meal which included brown rice noodles and mixed oriental mushrooms braised in sake and soy sauce, sprinkled with yuzu (citron).

The sauce is a flavour explosion, and it was amusing to see the single drip of oil in the drip tray.


World’s Best Inarizushi

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , — Feòrag @ 15:53

a dozen pieces of inarizushiTo celebrate the arrival of my very own hangiri, I made a batch of inarizushi, My recipe is based on that in Soei Yoneda’s Zen Vegetarian Cooking, but uses brown rice and much less sugar (and ready-made pouches).

1.5 cups short grain brown rice
3 cups water

3 tbsps brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin

2 tbsps black sesame seeds.
A pinch or two of Yuzu – grated citron peel.

1 fan!

1 tin pre-made inarizushi no moto

Cook the rice in the water and leave with the lid on and the heat off for a bit. Blend the vinegar and mirin. Tip the rice into a hangiri. Any large bowl will do really, but it’s not as pretty. Add a small amount of the vinegar mix and stir in well with a flat paddle, while fanning the rice frantically, until it is absorbed. Repeat until the vinegar mix is all used up. Add the sesame seeds and yuzu and stir in well. Spread the rice over the surface of your mixing bowl, cover and leave for a bit for the flavours to mingle.

Open your tin and drain. Save the sauce and add it to a noodle soup or something. Take a pouch and open it up gently. Fill it about halfway up with the rice, fold over the remaining pouch and put it on a plate fold downwards. Repeat with the other 14 pouches. Try not to eat them all as you go along. Make rice balls out of any leftover rice.

Notes: I use a metric cup which holds 250ml (as opposed to about 225ml). This recipe makes too much rice anyway, so just use what you have. A UK tablespoon is 15ml as opposed to 10ml in the US. Inarizushi na moto is available at any Japanese grocery or Asian grocery with a Japanese section. It is also available in vacuum packs. The yuzu you get in little yellow-topped glass jars contains lactose (Update: not any more, it doesn’t!). You can get it in small packets with a citron pictured on the front, and this brand is just the yuzu. If you can’t get it, experiment with finely grated peel of other citrus fruits.

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