Friday, August 24, 2012

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl

Lately, I have been cooking 500-calories- or-less-per-serving meals that can be served in room temperature since the weather has been so hot this summer.  I use a calorie count website to calculate the calories for each serving.  I've been trying to limit my lunch and dinner to 500 calories or less which still contain nutritious ingredients and delicious but keep me full for long hours.  My breakfast usually is about 250 calories or less.  I do have low calorie snacks of fruits or veggies in between.  Hence, I lost 10 lbs. It's working!

This dish, Spicy Korean Gochujang bowl, is one of my 500-calories-or-less-served-in-room-temperature creations.   I love Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Paste)!  I love its hot, sweet, and fermenty taste.  It is so great mixed with sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and agave nectar.  The paste is thick and gooey like peanut butter.  It can be found in Korean markets.  There is a brand of gochujang sauce called Annie Chun's Gochujang sauce but this was not what I used.  That one is a sauce and not a paste.  It has been mixed with brown sugar,  sesame oil, and other ingredients.  I am making my own gochujang sauce from the gochujang paste I bought in a red tub.  You can use the store-bought gochujang sauce if you'd like and use it on this bowl.  The paste I bought at the Korean market came in a red plastic box such as below.

Gochujang paste in red plastic container.
The ingredients of my Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl  start with cooked short grain brown rice on the bottom.  Then, it is topped with gochujang scrambled tofu, pan fried baby spinach, pan fried baby bella/cremini mushrooms, sliced fresh Persian cucumber, and fresh grape tomatoes.  Then, drizzled with gochujang sauce/dressing, sprinkled with roasted black sesame seeds, and served with seasoned seaweed lavers.  I am combining fresh vegetables such as fresh cucumber and grape tomatoes with  cooked spinach and mushrooms in one bowl.  Each item in this dish can be prepared and stored separately and bring them to a room temperature before they are assembled to a bowl.  This is a great dish to bring for a lunch without heating it.

From left, clockwise: baby spinach, ginger, gochujang paste in a red container, persian cucumbers, garlic, baby bella or cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes.  Cooked short grain brown rice, tofu, sesame seeds, and seasoned seaweed laver are not pictured.
Seasoned seaweed lavers have become so popular as snacks. It is so tasty and yummy with rice and gochujang sauce.

Seasoned Seaweed Laver
This is how the Spicy Korean Gochujang is eaten on top of or rolled in a seasoned seaweed laver.

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl
Serve 6
Note:  Each item in this dish can be prepared and stored separately and bring them to a room temperature before they are assembled to a bowl. This is a great dish to bring for a lunch without the use of a microwave. 

4 cups cooked short grain brown rice
Gochujang scrambled tofu (recipe below)
6-8 cups baby spinach
8 oz. cremini/baby bella mushrooms, sliced
8 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half, horizontally,
4-5 Persian cucumbers, medium size, slice horizontally
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
Gochujang sauce (recipe below)
6 Seasoned seaweed lavers
Toasted black sesame seeds

  1. Pan fry baby spinach with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with a little salt, until spinach is brigh green and wilted.   Set aside.
  2. Pan fry cremini/baby bella with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with a little salt, until mushrooms are brown and all the juice evaporated.  Set aside.
  3. For each bowl, put 3/4 cup brown rice on the bottom, add gochujang scramble tofu, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber slices. Drizzle gochujang sauce and sprinkle with some toasted black sesame seeds.  Serve with seasoned seaweed laver.

Gochujang Sauce:
2 Tbsp. Gochujang paste
Note: this dish is spicy so to make it less spicy and hot, use 1 Tbsp only.
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce/Tamari
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar/Brown Rice Vinegar
2 tsp. Roasted Sesame Seeds
2 Tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients above and stir until smooth. 

Gochujang Scrambled Tofu:

1.5 block of water packed firm tofu (20 oz), drained and pressed water out
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil for pan frying

Marinade sauce for tofu:
2 Tbsp. Gochujang paste
Note: this dish is spicy so to make it less spicy and hot, use 1 Tbsp only.
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce/Tamari
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, finely chopped

  1. Crumble drained tofu with your hands or a fork into a bowl.
  2. Combine all the ingredients of the marinade sauce and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the marinade sauce to the crumble tofu and set a side to marinade for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Pan fry seasoned tofu onto a non-stick frying pan with the 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on a medium high heat.
  5. Leave the tofu alone for 4-5 minutes before stirring.  This will create a brown crispy scramble tofu.  Keep doing this for 15-20 minutes until scramble tofu is dry (all the water evaporated) and tofu is brown.  Set aside.
Gochujang scramble tofu before it is pan fried.

Gochujang scramble tofu after it is pan fried.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 464  Calories from fat 120, Total Fat 13.4g (Saturated Fat 1.6 g),  Cholesterol 0 mg,
Sodium 564 mg,  Total Carbohydrate 72.3 g, Dietary Fiber 8.6 g, Sugar 13.2 g, Protein 17.7 g.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
A while back, I had this dish at a  vegetarian restaurant called One World Vegetarian and decided to make it myself at home.  Apparently, this restaurant does not serve this dish anymore which is too bad since I love this dish.  I think it is originally a Vietnamese dish which uses ground pork as the stuffing.  To veganize it I used crumbled and drained firm tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and mung bean noodle (bean thread noodle or glass noodle or cellophane noodle).  The cellophane noodle acts as a binder  for the stuffing.   In the picture above, I served this dish with sweet and sour sauce and garlicky sauteed baby spinach.  I also serve this dish with steamed brown rice.   The dish is so COLORFUL and use rainbow colors vegetable such as below:

Ingredients from left corner, clockwise:  yellow, orange, and red bell peppers, onion, 1 block of firm tofu, bean thread noodle, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and medium ripe tomatoes.
The sweet and sour sauce is optional.  Without this sauce, the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers are already so tasty.  The sauteed baby spinach was also a side dish that can be replaced with any other stir fried vegetables.  However, I love a colorful dish and thought that it looks so appetizing to combine yellow, orange, red, and green on my plate.

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
Serve 8

3 medium size bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 orange, and 1 red)
3 medium size ripe tomatoes
9 fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped into coarse bits (including the stems)
1 water packed block firm tofu (14 oz), drained
1/2 large onions, chopped into coarse bits
3 stalks of green onions, chopped coarsely
2 oz dry bean thread noodle  (soak in hot water)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Mushroom Seasonings or Mushroom Powder
Note: I love the mushroom powder from Pistol River Farm
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
Toasted Sesame Oil
Canola Oil or Grapeseed Oil
a 9-inch non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan with a tight lid

Remove the inside of the tomatoes.
Remove the inside of the colorful bell peppers.
The fresh tomatoes were stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.
The fresh colorful bell peppers stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.

  1. Put the drained block of tofu in a colander under heavy objects (such as canned vegetables) to press out more of the water out of the tofu.  Press for 30 minutes or longer.    You can use TofuXpress but I haven't really acquired this nifty gadget yet and still doing it in the old fashion way.
  2. Soak the dry bean thread noodle in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes.  Then drain the noodles onto a colander.  With a kitchen scissor or knife, cut the drained cellophane noodle into 1-inch strands. Set aside
  3. Cut all the bell peppers and tomatoes into halves.  Remove the stems from the bell peppers(it's ok to have holes on the bottom).  Remove the inside such as the seeds and cut out all the ribs from inside the bell peppers and tomatoes.  Throw away the seeds but save the ribs for the sweet and sour sauce recipe below.
  4. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil in a frying pan.  Saute chopped shiitake mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft, brown, and mushrooms are dry. Set it aside and let it cool.
  5. Crumble the drained and pressed tofu with your hands into a large bowl.  Add the sauted onions and mushrooms, chopped green onions, all purpose flour, mushroom powder, sugar, salt, ground white pepper, and cut cellophane/bean thread noodle.  Combine thoroughly to form a stuffing.
  6. Stuff each half of tomato and bell pepper with the stuffing (no. 5) up to the rim.
  7. Heat a flat 9-inch frying pan on a medium heat.  Put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/2 tablespoon canola/grapeseed oil and swirl them around to coat the pan.
  8. Starting with the stuffed tomatoes, put the tomatoes bottom sides(skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 10 minutes.  This is important to cook the tomatoes.
  9. Then, flip them  carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides.  Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 5 minutes.  Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan fried tomatoes from the frying pan, set them aside.
  10. Add more oils (1/2 Tbsp sesame and 1/2 Tbsp canola/grapeseed) into the frying pan. Continue with the stuffed bell peppers, put the peppers bottom sides (skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 13 minutes(bell peppers need more time).
  11. Then, flip them carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides. Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 7 minutes. Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan bell peppers from the frying pan, set them aside with the pan fried tomatoes.

Amount per Serving:
Calories 157157  Calories from  Fat 67, 67 Total Fat 7.5g7.5 12%12, Saturated Fat 1.2g1.2 6%6, Sodium 300mg300 13%13, Total Carbohydrates 19.5g19.5 6%6, Dietary Fiber 2.2g2.2 9%9, Sugars 3.8g3.8,  Protein 5.4g5.4

Stuffed tomatoes, pan fried.

Stuffed bell peppers, pan fried.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Serve 8
This is an optional sauce to serve with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

Combine in a bowl and stir:
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cooking wine or sherry
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/8 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 3/4 cup water or low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 large onion, sliced
Optional: the inside of the tomatoes and bell peppers (without the seeds), chopped into small bits.
Toasted Sesame Oil
  1. In a medium pot on a medium heat, put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.  Add sliced onions and the tomatoes and bell peppers bits.  Saute until onions and vegetables are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the combined sauce, stir, and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickened.  Serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6666 Calories from Fat 88, Total Fat 0.9g0.9 1%, 1Saturated Fat 0.1g0.1 0%, 0Sodium 385mg38516%,16
Total Carbohydrates 11.7g11.7 4%,4 Dietary Fiber 0.7g0.7 3%, 3 Sugars 8.0g8.0, Protein 0.5g

Garlicky Baby Spinach
Serve 2-4
This is an optional side dish to servw with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

6-8 cups baby spinach
6 garlic cloves, chopped or slice thinly
1/2 salt
Cracked black pepper
Toasted Sesame oil
  1. In the frying pan used for preparing the tomatoes and bell peppers, heat 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil on a medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and toast for 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add baby spinach and stir.  Sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper.
  4. Cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and soft.
  5. Take it off from heat and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6161 Calories from Fat 2222, Total Fat 2.4g2.4 4%, 4Saturated Fat 0.3g0.3 2%,2 Sodium 139mg139 6%,6Total Carbohydrates 4.7g4.7 2%, 2Dietary Fiber 1.5g1.5 6%, 6Sugars 0.1g, 0.1Protein 4.3g


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Vegan Cottage Pie with a Twist

Inspired by the London Games, Summer Olympic 2012, I made my version of English Cottage Pie or Shepherd Pie.  I don't usually like bland casseroles and decided to put a twist into this casserole.   Therefore, this is not the original cottage pie recipe.  You can find the original recipes in the Internet, I am sure.  Usually, cottage pie includes chopped meat, cream, and butter (and some use eggs).  My version is veganized.  The twist was that I use  Roasted Garlic, Hot Hungarian Paprika, and Walnut Oil (instead of vegan butter), and Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese.  I have never made this kind of casserole with roasted garlic.  It turned out to be pretty delicious.   The rich flavor of butter is replaced by the roasted garlic and walnut oil.

Vegan Cottage Pie (Shepherd Pie) with a Twist
Serve 6

Filling ingredients:
1/2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
8 oz mushrooms (button or brown), sliced
3 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
12 oz Crumbles Meatless Ground (Boca Brand)
10 oz  frozen Peas And Carrots
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base, mixed with
1.5 cup  warm water
2 tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mashed Potato ingredients:
1 3/4 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 cup Roasted Garlic, mashed with a fork
1 cup  Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 cup Better Than Sour Cream or soy milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp  Walnut Oil

Note:  There are already some salt in the Boca Crumbles, No Beef Base, and Daiya Cheese.  Therefore, I added a little salt into this dish but you can adjust it to your own salty taste.
  1. Heat a large frying pan or pot.  Add oil to the pan, then, add chopped onions and minced garlic.  Saute until onions and garlic are soft. Add sliced mushrooms saute about 4 minutes.  Add 3 tbsp flour, combine. 
  2. Add Boca crumble and break clumps apart.  Add water and no beef bouillon (combined as broth).  Add the frozen peas and carrots. Combine throughly.
  3. Add the hot Hungarian paprika and black pepper.  Combine the filling and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes with the skin into cubes and put in a pot with enough water to cover the entire potatoes.   Bring to a boil and simmer for about 35 minutes until they are really tender. 
  5. Drain potatoes, while they are still hot, add walnut oil and the  mashed roasted garlic cloves.  Mash the potato until smooth.  Then, add shredded Daiya cheese, tofu sour cream or soy milk, salt and white pepper.  Combine thoroughly.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 3 qt casserole pan with oil spray.  Add the filling into the casserole pan.  Cover with mashed potato topping.  Wet your hands and pat the mashed potato topping into a smooth surface. Sprinkle with more hungarian paprika.  Bake for 35 minutes until the top is brown.
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size
1 serving (403.1 g), Calories from fat 98
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 341, Total Fat  10.9g
Saturated Fat 2.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 761mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.9g
Dietary Fiber 9.4g
Sugars 5.9g
Protein  21.2g
Vitamin A 104% Vitamin C 55%
Calcium 12%Iron 22%

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Vegan Rad Na with Soy Curls

Vegan Rad Na - Thai Crispy Rice Noodle topped with Saucy Stir Fry Veggies and Soy Chicken
Today I am craving for a Thai Noodle dish and decided to make Rad Na which is a crispy pan fried rice noodle topped with stir fry veggies with lots of gravy-like sauce.  If you like gravy or a  thickened sauce on top of a pile of rice noodle, this is a dish you'll like.

Rad Na or Lad Na is a Thai noodle dish influenced by the Chinese culture.  It  is usually made with sliced chicken breast, Chinese broccoli, and mushrooms stir fried in a gravy-like sauce that  is usually made from chicken stock, fish sauce, and oyster sauce (thickened with cornstarch or tapioca starch).   To veganize it, I opted to use Soy Curls instead of Gardein or other chicken substitute.  It is because I just love how Soy Curls soaks up the marinade and spices I used on them.  Of course, tofu can be used also and I recommend 1 box of water packed firm tofu (about 14 oz) to replace the soy chicken.  Or you can omit the soy chicken and double up the mushrooms to be simple and direct.

Rad Na Stir Fry Ingredients, clockwise from top left:  bok choy, onion, oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom, baby corn, garlic, and soy curls.
To replace the chicken stock or broth, this time I used Bill's Best Chik'nish instead of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base because I wanted to control the amount of sodium or salt.  The sauces that I used for this dish is already salty enough.  I am afraid if I use salted vegetarian broth this dish will turn out too salty.   Chik'nish is the only vegetarian broth that has no salt in it so it is my preference to use when I want to watch the amount of salt I put into my dish.

The sauces I used are Thai sauces such as:
Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce, Healthy Boy brand Black Soy Sauce, and Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce.
I bought these sauces at a Thai market I visited a while back (or an Asian market may carry these sauces also).  I used a little bit of bean sauce (pictured below with the noodle) that I have on hand, a Chinese style bean sauce.  I usually use this Thai Yellow Bean Sauce, Healthy Boy brand, but I was out of it.  I also love the Sriracha sauce drizzled on top of this dish as a spicy condiment.

I also found BROWN RICE Pad Thai rice noodle (pictured below).  It works great.  This noodle dish usually uses the wide rice noodle that can be found at the Asian market.  However, I wanted to try this BROWN RICE noodle instead.  I was not disappointed.

Vegan Rad Na (Thai Crispy Noodle topped with Saucy Veggie Stir Fry)
Serve 6-8

Stir Fry ingredients:
3-4 large Bok Choy bundle (4-5 cups) or Chinese Broccoli, washed and cut into 3 inches long
5 oz or 1 cup cut baby or mini corn
5 large fresh shiitake or reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8-10 fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce
1 Tbsp. Black Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
2 - 2.5 cups Bill's Best Chik'nish broth
2 tsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch combined with 3 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
 Note: I don't usually use sugar but all Rad Na recipes use sugar.  I leave it up to you to use it.
Salt to taste
Note:  I found that all the sauces above provided enough salt so I didn't add any salt.
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil or Grapeseed oil
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Sriracha sauce (optional)

Preparation of Soy Curls or Tofu:
1/2 pkg Soy Curls (4 oz dry)  or 1 box firm tofu, drained and cubed
3/4 cup Bills Best Chick'nish broth,warmed (omit if using tofu)
2 tsp. Black Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch or Tapioca starch
  1. If using Soy Curls, soak in Chik'nish broth for 10 minutes.  Then, drain the excess broth if there is any.
  2. Mix reconstituted Soy Curls or tofu with black soy sauce, oyster mushroom sauce, and starch.  Mix and set aside.
Preparation of Saucy Stir Fry Veggies with Soy Curls:
  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan and add oil.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sliced onions.  Stir fry until onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the prepared or marinated soy curls.  Stir fry until soy curls are brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add all mushrooms and baby corn.  Stir fry for another minute.  Add a little bit of broth if ingredients stick to the frying pan.
  5. Add the Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster mushroom sauce.
  6. Add the Chik'nish broth and white pepper.
  7. Let it come to a boil, turn down the heat, and then add the bok choy or Chinese broccoli.  Combine and let it simmer for a minute.
  8. Add the cornstarch or tapioca starch water combo.
  9. Let it thicken and simmer for another minute.  Turn off the heat.

Preparation of Pan Fried Crispy Rice Noodle:
2 pkgs (8 oz each) Brown Rice Pad Thai noodle
4 tsp. Black Soy Sauce
4 tsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
Toasted Sesame oil
9-inch flat non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan.
  1. Soak brown rice noodle in warm water for 8-10 minutes (following the directions in the package).
  2. Drain noodle (don't worry if it doesn't look like it is cooked).  Divide into 2 batches for pan frying it.
  3. Heat frying pan in high heat then add 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
  4. Add half of the soaked and drained noodle.  Drizzle 2 tsp black soy sauce and 2 tsp oyster mushroom sauce, combine with noodle.  Stir fry and spread noodle on a frying pan about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Leave it for 3 - 4 minutes so the bottom is sizzling and crispy before flipping it to the other side.  Don't worry if noodles are sticking to each other.
  6. Let the noodle becomes crispy and brown on the frying pan for another 4-5 minutes. 
  7. Flip on a serving plate.
  8. Repeat step 3-7 for the other batch of noodle.  The pan fried noodle should look like this picture below.
  9. Serve the crispy pan fried noodle with the Saucy Stir Fry Veggie and Soy Curls on top. Add chopped cilantro if desired.  Drizzle with Sriracha sauce and dig in!

Tips on reheating or eating this as leftover:
  1. I found that it is best to pan fry the noodle just before serving.  It is best to pan fry only the amount to be consumed and save the un-fried noodle in  a tight container if  you plan to eat this as a leftover.
  2. The gravy or sauce tends to absorbed into the veggies and soy curls if it is consumed the next day.  You can add more broth and seasonings to produce more gravy.