Sichuan Cauliflower Tacos with Chive Flatbread (Vegan)

You guys know I like to experiment with my taco recipes as they are often non-traditional. This recipe had been on my to-test list for a while. I started making the cauliflower last week, but it wasn’t the texture that I had in mind. It ended up either being too coarse, or way too mushy (too small). The latter ended up looking not appetizing at all. So I started to do some research and I stumbled across Pinch of Yum’s Cauliflower walnut taco meat. This was genius! By adding walnut to the cauliflower, the mince had more texture. Resembling more minced meat and exactly what I was looking for. I made mine in a pan though. And because I wanted to keep the Asian vibes going, I made chive & sesame oil flatbreads which I shaped into taco shells. This recipe is not only delicious, it also happens to be vegan.

This recipe makes 16 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the chive flatbread:

2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour

1 cup of boiling water

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

For the cauliflower:

2 cups of cauliflower

1 ½ cups of walnuts

1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder

1 tablespoon of fresh ginger

1 teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder

1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of hoisin

For the sauce:

Juice of half a lime

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of agave syrup

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

Extras:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

5 radishes, thinly sliced

Garden cress, for decoration

Sesame seeds

Sesame oil for cooking the bread

 

Start by making the chive flat bread to use as tortillas. Place the flour, sesame oil, salt and boiling water in the bowl of the stand mixer. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Do it on low speed for about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped chives and knead until it is just mixed through.

If you do it by hand, slowly pour the boiling water into the bowl with the flour. You can use chopsticks or a fork to mix it. Once the dough has cooled down enough to handle with your hands, knead it for about 5 minutes. Finally add the chives and knead it until it is mixed through the dough.

Once the dough has been kneaded, form it into a ball. Grease a clean bowl with a bit of sesame oil. Put the dough in the greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

In the meanwhile, start preparing the cauliflower. Place the cauliflower, walnuts, ginger, Chinese five spice powder, onion powder, garlic powder, Sichuan pepper powder and sesame oil in the food processor. Pulse until you have an even mince (Just till everything is mixed though).

Add the cauliflower mince to a large pan with no oil. Cook on medium heat while constantly stirring so it doesn’t burned and it gets a light brown color. This will take about 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes have passed, add the chili bean sauce, soy sauce and hoisin. Stir for about 3 to 5 minutes till it is all mixed through and has an even darker color. Set it aside.

To make the sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set it aside.

Thinly slice the cucumber and radishes. Set them aside.

Going back to the dough: Once the 30 minutes have passed, place the dough on your floured working area. Divide it into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Then grab one piece and roll it into a circle, so you have a tortilla shape. Repeat for all.

Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, cook the flat bread in batches. It takes about 2 minutes per side, till they are golden. Once your first batch is cooked, quickly fold each into a taco shell shape. I just put two glasses in between them to keep the shape. They are easier to shape if they just come out of the pan, so be quick. If you don’t feel like it, you can also just leave them flat and serve them like that.

Once all the flatbread is cooked. Just give the cauliflower a quick reheat in the same pan.

To serve, place a few slices of cucumber on the flatbread. Then add the cauliflower. Top with a few slices of radish, sesame seeds and garden cress. Pour some of the sauce on each taco just before eating. Enjoy!

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Chicha Morada Popsicles (made with Peruvian Purple Corn)

Chicha morada is a non-fermented purple corn drink from Peru. It is said that this particular corn is packed with antioxidants. But for me it’s not about its nutritional value, that’s just a plus. For me, it reminds me of my childhood. Just the smell of it while it is cooking brings me back to Peru. This is and will always be my favorite drink. If you go to Peru, the chicha morada will taste a bit different at each restaurant. Some add more cloves or cinnamon. Some add more sugar or less lime juice. So you can always adapt it to your palate. If you make it to drink it though, keep it refrigerated for 3 to max 4 days. You can also spike it with Pisco or rum to make it into a punch. A good chicha morada will have a deep purple color, so it will not be a translucent liquid. You can buy the purple corn at stores that sell Latin American products or online.

This recipe makes about 12 popsicles or about 2 littles of Chicha Morada.

Ingredients:

500g Purple Corn

Rind and core of one pineapple

4 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

2 apples cut into quarters

4 liters of boiling water

Sugar to taste (I add about 1/2 cup of sugar)

Juice of 2 to 3 limes (or to taste)

 

Place the purple corn in a large pot with the pineapple rind and core, the cinnamon sticks, cloves, apples and 2 liters of boiling water. Let it simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. You can also partially cover it with a lid because it does splatter if it gets too hot. Otherwise just lower the heat a bit. After the 45 minutes have passed and the liquid has reduced, add the remaining 2 litters of boiling water. Let it simmer for an extra 45 minutes. You know it’s done when the corn kernels sort of crack and you can see the flesh of the corn.

Sift the liquid and discard of the solids. Be careful not to splatter the liquid over your clothes.

Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Since the liquid is hot, it will dissolve quicker. Transfer it to a pitcher and let it cool at room temperature. Once the chicha morada is cold, add the lime juice to taste. Mix well and then pour it into each popsicle mold. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.

The next day, carefully remove them from the mold by rinsing them over hot water. Enjoy!

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Thai Spiced Nuts

Inspired by our lasted trip to Thailand, I created this spiced nuts recipe. When I travel, I always like to visit the local markets and supermarkets to see and try what they have to offer. I could spend hours browsing through each isle or stand. Pieter actually got tired of waiting for me on our last supermarket trip there while I was examining the information on the packaging of every snack I found interesting.

These nuts are sticky and they have a sort of umami taste. I just used the Thai basil for decoration but you can add it freshly chopped right before serving. And it’s done in 20 minutes with minimal amount of cooking. I was generous with the spice measurements. If you like it spicy, you can always add for chili powder or cayenne.

Ingredients:

150grs of unsalted cashew nuts

125grs of unsalted almonds

80grs of unsalted pumpkin seeds

For the Sauce:

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ teaspoon of kaffir lime leaf powder

1 ½ teaspoon of cayenne or chili powder

1 teaspoon of lemon grass powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 ½ tablespoon of salt

½ teaspoon of ginger powder

¼ cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan. Whisk so all the spices get dissolve into the water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn. It’s ready when most of the water has evaporated and it has become a syrup.

Add the nuts and mix well to coat them. Spread them in a single layer over the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 15 minutes. Stirring half way though the cooking time.

Once they come out of the oven, allow them to cool. Then try to separate the nuts into smaller chunks.

If you want, add freshly chopped Thai basil right before serving. Enjoy!

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Barley, Plantain, Black Bean & Harissa Stuffed Peppers

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I don’t make stuffed peppers that often but when I do, I remember how much I actually like them. This time I stuffed them with a mixture of barley, pan fried plantains, black beans and some harissa for a bit of a kick. I cooked the barley in vegetable stock so it already has a bit of seasoning The result is a filling vegetarian dish which also makes a good packed lunch the next day.

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This recipe makes 5 stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

5 big bell peppers

½ cup of barley

2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

2 ripe plantains, finely chopped

130grs of canned black beans, drained

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of harissa

Pinch of celery salt

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

 

Place the barley in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock. Let it simmer over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the barley is cooked through.

To prepare the bell peppers, carefully slice off the top part. Then remove the membrane and seeds.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped plantains, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Cook it while stirring for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the plantain is cooked through. Transfer it to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onion. Cook the onion until it is translucent. Then add the garlic and harissa, and cook for another minute. Then add the barley, beans, coriander, celery salt and the plantains. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Stuff the peppers all the way to the top and cover them with the top part previously sliced off. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 50 minutes. I served them with a simple arugula salad. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Celeriac Soup with Savory Granola & Crispy Kale (Vegan)

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I had been wanting to try nutritional yeast for a while now. I found it at Eko Plaza and it is called Edelgistvlokken in Dutch. If you have never heard of it, it has a nutty and cheesy flavor and you can sprinkle it over food as if it was parmesan cheese. It is high in protein and a good source of B vitamins. I first tried it on popcorn and really enjoyed it. And the savory granola I made with it is quite addictive. You can eat it as a snack but this time I decided to serve it over soup. It adds a nice crunch to it.

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This recipe makes 2 large bowls.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

½ cauliflower, chopped

1 celeriac, peeled and sliced into chunks

1 ½ liters of vegetable stock

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of celery salt

For the savory granola:

½ cup of oatmeal

½ cup of nutritional yeast (Edelgistvlokken in Dutch)

¼ cup buckwheat

1 teaspoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

¼ cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

For the crispy kale:

1 cup of shredded kale

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pinch of lemon pepper

Pinch of salt

 

 

To make the granola, preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients for the granola in a bowl and then spread it over the prepared baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. Then allow it to cool down. Leave the oven on to bake the kale.

To make the crispy kale, mix the kale with the olive oil, lemon pepper and salt. Spread the kale in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes until the kale becomes crispy (the time will depend on your oven, so check from time to time so it doesn’t burn).

For the soup, place the chopped cauliflower, celeriac, vegetable stock, garlic powder, onion powder and celery salt in a medium saucepan. Let it simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat. Then blend it until smooth. Taste for salt.

Serve the soup with some of the savory granola and crispy kale. Enjoy!

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Coconut & Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

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A very easy dessert which also serves as breakfast. This rice pudding is only sweetened with coconut sugar, that’s why it has that darker color. I used arborio rice which makes it creamier due to the fact that it is higher in starch.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the Rice:

200gr of arborio rice

400ml of coconut milk

3 cups of boiling water

1 vanilla bean

½ cup of coconut sugar

Juice of ½ a lime

Toppings:

Chopped mango

Raspberries

Passion fruit

Mint

 

Place the coconut milk, rice, boiling water, vanilla bean scraped seeds, vanilla pod and the coconut sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for 30 minutes while stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked. Then remove the vanilla pod. Add the lime juice and mix well.

Serve with some mango, raspberries, passion fruit and mint. Enjoy.

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Butternut Squash, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Cashew Crumbs and Shaved Asparagus (Vegan)

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A very easy and comforting soup with added crunch from the raw asparagus and cashew crumbs. Perfect for this cold weather.

On another note, I recently made a tutorial for the blue background that you see in these pictures. You can check it out by clicking here.

 

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

1 medium butternut squash, just chopped into pieces

4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into pieces

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 litter of vegetable stock

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of paprika powder

Salt to taste

For the cashew crumbs:

1 cup of salted cashews, finely chopped into crumbs

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of paprika powder

1 tablespoon of sumac

1 teaspoon of Za’atar

Pinch of salt (optional)

For the asparagus:

8 asparagus

Salt

Pepper

 

Chop the butternut squash (leave the skin and seeds on, they will come off easier after being roasted) and carrot into chunks. Place the butternut squash, carrots and whole sweet potatoes in an oven tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and carrot. Sprinkle with some salt and then roast them in the oven at 180C/350F until tender. This will take about ½ hour for the squash and carrots, and 1 hour for the sweet potato. So just check from time to time.

Once the vegetables are roasted, scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash and discard them. Then scoop out the flesh and set it aside. Peel the sweet potato.

In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the butternut squah, carrots and sweet potatoes. Add the stock, celery salt and paprika powder. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste it, and then add salt to taste.

To make the cashew crumbs, mix the chopped cashews with the spices and olive oil. Roast them for 15 minutes at 180C/350F. Stir the crumbs half way through.  Set it aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, reheat the soup and start preparing the asparagus. Grab a potato peeler and start to shave the asparagus. Don’t worry if some break. Then season them with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup with the seasoned shaved asparagus and some of the cashew crumbs. Enjoy!

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