Meat Free Monday // Olive Vegetable Fried Rice

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A recipe for olive vegetable (橄榄菜) fried rice was in The Sunday Times yesterday.  The original recipe used minced pork, I mashed up some tofu 水豆腐 as replacement to make it meat-free.  Also threw in a handful of sharp spinach leaves for more nutrients and also added in a beaten egg during the last few minutes of frying, a must when I make fried rice.

// Link to the non-vegetarian version HERE.

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice

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The no-cream creamy cauliflower soup was ridiculously successful, so when I saw this garlic rice recipe, I held even higher hopes, and it looks like I’ve got another great no-cream creamy sauce recipe, with cauliflower once more.  I’ll never want to run out of cauliflower again!

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER GARLIC RICE
// Adapted from : A Pinch of Yum
Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups vegetable stock, or water
3/4 cups jasmine white rice, or brown rice, cook and set aside
1 tablespoon butter, or olive oil
salt to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
Cheddar cheese or Mozzarella cheese, as toppings

1. In a medium pot, bring vegetable stock to boil, and cook cauliflower till soft.  Shut off fire, let the cauliflower and stock cool down – I have a fear for placing very hot things in my blender.
2. Once the cauliflower and stock turn to room temperature or lukewarm, transfer the cauliflower to a blender and adding stock bit by bit to puree till it forms a smooth creamy consistency.  Season with salt.
3. Mix the puree with cooked rice, stir well.
3. In a skillet, melt butter and then garlic, and fry till the garlic is very fragrant.
4. Add in the creamy cauliflower and rice mixture, and stir to incorporate the garlic into the rice.
5. Divide the rice  into 2 plates, top with cheese, and season with pepper, salt, and your favorite herbs.  Serve immediately.
6. You can also serve the rice and mozzarella cheese toppings in an oven proof dish and bake it for a few minutes till the cheese topping melts and bubbles.

Creamy Creamless Cauliflower Soup

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4 ingredients : onion, cauliflower, olive oil and water.  No fattening cream used, same rich flavor created, thanks to the onion.  Wouldn’t you be tempted to try?

Without worrying on excessive MSG, fats or sodium level, I am adopting this creamy soup recipe to make healthier versions of other creamy soups like cream of mushroom (adding brown mushrooms, sautéed separately, and blend with cauliflower soup) or cream of corn (add fresh corn kernel to be cooked with cauliflower and onions, then blend).

You may follow the recipe below from The Amateur Gourmet, which yields 6 servings according to the site.  I prefer it thicker and add just enough hot boiling water to cover the cauliflower and onions, lesser than the 5 and 1/2 cups required.  I also cut the cooking time shorter by simply adding chopped cauliflower and hot water at the same time, right after the onions have turned translucent and soft.  The recipe originally called for the cauliflower to be cooked with the onions without water first.  I also do not like to work with very hot liquid in my blender, so I let it cool to lukewarm temperature before blending it, then reheat it again before serving.

CREAMY CREAMLESS CAULIFLOWER SOUP
// Adapted from : The Amateur Gourmet

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 head cauliflower, chopped
Salt, to taste
Hot boiling water

1. Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add the onions, cook them over low fire until they turn soft and translucent.  Ensure that they don’t turn brown, stir occasionally.
2. Add the chopped cauliflower and just enough hot water to cover the ingredients.  Increase the heat slightly, add salt and allow soup to boil.  Once the soup starts to boil, turn heat lower and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes, till cauliflower is cooked and turn soft.  Let soup cool aside till lukewarm.
3. Pour the mixture in batches into a blender and blend.  When the soup is fully blended, pour it back to the pot and reheat it.
4. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Veggie Tempeh Sub

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The first time I bought “fresh” (those wrapped in banana leaf and newspaper) tempeh from wet market, I thought it had turned moldy and threw it away.  Little did I know that these fermented soy beans are ranked so high on nutritional scale because of these “moldy” qualities.  Since then, they have turned up pretty regularly on my grocery list.

Besides deep-frying them to make tasty crispy snacks, tempeh is also great as a meat replacement patty.  The trick is to marinate the tempeh to taste “meaty” and saute till brown after.  Garlic powder, Worcestershire or BBQ sauce are great for that purpose.  I boil the tempeh slices first before dipping them in marinate so that they can absorb the sauce better when they are still hot.  After topping up with mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts (another superfood!) and caramelised onions, my kids can’t even tell that there is no meat in this sandwich.


VEGGIE TEMPEH SUB SANDWICH
Makes 1 sandwich
INGREDIENTS
- 2 tempeh slices
- 1 Ciabatta bread
- Olive Oil
Tempeh Marinate :
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Toppings:
- Cheddar cheese slices
- 1 big portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 yellow onions, sliced
- Alfalfa sprouts

INSTRUCTIONS :

01. Mix marinate ingredients in a saucer, set aside.
02. Cook tempeh in boiling water for about 3 minutes, remove tempeh from water place in marinate sauce.  Prick tempeh with fork a few times and marinate for about 10 to 30 minutes.
03. In a heated pan with olive oil, saute onion slices till they turn soft over medium heat.
04. Add portobello mushrooms and continue to saute, add more oil if necessary.
05. Once onion slices have caramelised and mushrooms turn soft, remove from pan and set aside.
06. Add some oil to the pan, and saute marinated tempeh on both sides.

ASSEMBLY :

01. Slice Ciabatta bread into half, and toast with cheddar slices. Place tempeh slices.
02. Add saute mushrooms and onions.  I added some chopped uncooked onions as well for some crunch.
03. Lastly, top with alfalfa sprouts and serve immediately.