A few days ago, my coworker Melissa pointed me at a post on her blog, Oprah and Beyond. It was about veganism and how an article from the latest O Magazine, featuring Ginnifer Goodwin, discussed following a vegan diet. I have not read the article, but apparently Ginnifer makes it sound pretty easy to go vegan.
As anyone who knows me has probably guessed, I’ve been slipping more and more towards a fully vegan diet over the last little while. Melissa’s post got me thinking more about veganism and how easy it would be for me to just go fully vegan. For many, veganism would be a real challenge, but I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of resources at my disposal. I live in a very vegan friendly neighbourhood (with several vegan restaurants and a great vegan grocery/products store) in a large city with tons of resources for vegetarians and vegans. I love to cook and am not the least bit afraid of trying new things, even if my experiments don’t always work out. I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about picky eaters or feeding a family. I have a large number of cookbooks and recipe blogs that I read that offer all kinds of vegan cooking ideas. And of course, none of this is a huge stretch for me; I’m sensitive to gluten, dairy and eggs anyway, so I rarely eat anything that ISN’T vegan! I’m very used to all the work it takes to keep a vegan diet, reading labels and cooking most things from scratch.
So on my way home from work tonight, I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you try being 100% vegan for a month and see how it goes?”
So the February Vegan Challenge was born. You’re welcome to join me on it, or you can just read along and see how I do. I plan to post as many recipes as I have time for, and happily welcome recipe ideas from you all!
Tonight I made a simple dish I’ve made before, a Vegan Green Thai Curry served with simple rice noodles. It’s almost more a method than it is a recipe, but the amounts I use are posted here. Use it as a guideline!
Vegan Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Vegetables
Inspiration and general cooking method from here, but I’ve tweaked the recipe a fair bit
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 lb block of extra firm tofu, cut into whatever size cubes you prefer
1/2 to 1 tablespoon green curry paste**
1 or 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 thin slices of ginger (or galangal, if you can find it)
1-2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (This time I used broccoli, carrots, onion and yellow pepper. Use what you like!)
1 14 oz can of coconut milk (light is perfectly fine, it just has a less rich taste)
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime, quartered
chopped coriander leaves to garnish
chopped chili pepper to garnish
** the green curry paste I buy (Thai Kitchen) is pretty mild. If yours is really spicy, tweak amounts to your taste.
Heat peanut oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. When nice and hot, drop in your cubed tofu. Cook, turning occasionally to let all the sides brown evenly, about 8 minutes. When browned, remove the tofu from the pan but leave as much of the oil as you can.
Now you make a curry sauce – put your green curry paste, garlic, lemongrass and ginger into the pan and stir vigorously until fragrant. Shake up your can of coconut milk, then open it and add half to the pan. Let that come to a boil, then add in the soy sauce, sugar, and other half of the coconut milk.
Now we add our vegetables and tofu: Let the mixture come back to a boil, then add in whatever vegetables you want. Stir gently to coat, then cook 2-3 minutes, just to get them heating up nicely. At that point, add back in the fried tofu cubes, and stir to coat. Cook another 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and remove the ginger and lemongrass.
Serve over rice or with rice noodles, with lime wedges so people can add lime juice if they like. Optionally you can also garnish this with chili peppers and/or chopped fresh coriander.