Swami always said that one must feel as light after a meal as you did before you sat down to eat it! This simple rule, if followed, ensures that we do not over eat. It thus helps us maintain a balance in our eating habits and consequently enjoy good health. Keeping the cold winter months in mind, we bring you a unique Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup and other recipes inspired by Thai cuisine. The soup, typically flavoured with lemon grass, Thai ginger, fresh green and dry red chillies and coriander, is light and very refreshing. The next course is a spicy hot, red, vegetable curry served with plain steamed rice. For dessert, there is Mixed Fruits and Cherries with Sticky Rice and Coconut milk. This dessert is typically served with ripe Mangoes. However, we found that it was just as delicious with mixed fruit and cherries too.
You will notice that the first two recipes do not contain the ubiquitous Fish Sauce or Shrimp Paste – a must in most Thai recipes. I have substituted those ingredients with light and dark Soya sauce, with equally good results. It shows that it is possible to go purely vegetarian even while retaining the main essentials of a particular cuisine!
Do try them out and send us your feedback. We also welcome unique vegetarian recipes (from different parts of the world), from our readers. You may submit these via email in MS Word format to email@example.com Recipes should be written to serve 4-6 people and accompanied with photographs.
(Serves – 4)
Prepare the vegetable stock first. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and sauté the cabbage and cauliflower for a few minutes. Now add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Do not overcook the cabbage. Strain and set aside. Combine all the ingredients for the spice paste and pound them in a mortar or blend (in a blender) until smooth. Slice the mushrooms, Galangal, green chillies and lemon grass. Halve the dry red chillies and shred the lime leaves. Heat oil in another saucepan and add the spice paste first. Sauté for a few seconds and then add the mushrooms. Stir fry for a minute (taking care not to burn the spice paste) and immediately add the vegetable stock. Add the lemon grass, ginger, green chillies, lime leaves and the Soya sauces. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Finally add the lime juice and check for seasoning. Add salt to taste. Transfer to soup bowls, garnish with the dry red chillies and coriander leaves and serve immediately.
(Serves – 4)
Chop the onions and galangal, combine with the rest of the ingredients for the spice paste and pound in a mortar (or blend in a blender) until smooth. Slice the water chestnuts and Bamboo shoots. Peel and slice the carrots, cut the green beans into 1” lengths, and all the other vegetables into bite sized pieces. Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the paste for 2-3 mins. Then add the carrots, Beans, Broccoli, Zucchini, water chestnuts, mushrooms and bamboo shoots , one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Give the coconut milk a quick stir and pour it in. Stir well and add bring to a boil. Add the soya sauces and salt to taste. Cook for a further 3-5 mins till the vegetables are cooked but retain their colour and are firm. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with basil or coriander leaves and serve immediately with plain steamed rice (Jasmine rice, if available).
You may add fried or plain Tofu or Paneer cubes to the vegetable curry for a more protein rich version.
(Serves – 4)
Add 3-4 cups water and soak the rice for 8-10 hours or overnight. Take a steamer and fill water in the bottom and cover the steamer section with a muslin cloth. Drain the rice and evenly spread it on the cloth. Fold the corners of the cloth over and cover with the lid. Now place the steamer on the stove and steam the rice on medium heat. After about 15 minutes, stir the rice so that the top portion is now at the bottom. Cover and further steam the rice for another 15 minutes. The rice should be translucent, sticky and chewy when done. Take it off the fire and cool. Combine the coconut milk with the jaggery and salt and stir well till the jaggery dissolves. Chill the coconut milk till required. To serve, scoop a little rice into individual serving bowls, top with the mixed fruit and cherries and pour a little coconut milk over it.