Category Archives: Chinese

Crunchy Cabbage & Broccoli Salad with Asian Tofu

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Welcome to The Salad Project! Today’s inspiration is a winter salad with tofu, cabbage and Asian-inspired flavors. This may seem complicated but it’s super easy. And you can always leave off the green beans to save a step. As usual, substitutions are welcome. But try this full recipe if you can. It’s truly yummy!

A note about the tofu: You may use some other protein instead of tofu, but I think you do need a protein to make this salad complete. If you have never used tofu, be sure to press the water out before you marinate it. Less water = firmer texture and more flavor. While it’s pressing and marinating you can prepare the rest of the salad and clean up the kitchen! Or prepare the tofu the day before you will use it.

Crunchy Cabbage & Broccoli Salad with Asian Tofu (Serves 2)

First, make the tofu:

1/2 package extra firm or firm tofu (not silken, not high-protein)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red chili flakes

Press the tofu between clean dishtowels or paper towels for 1/2 hour (or longer, but keep in the fridge). After pressing, cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a plate. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the tofu. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes or longer (can keep in the fridge up to overnight). Place the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a preheated 400F oven for 10 – 15 minutes, turning the pieces over half way through cooking. When brown around the edges, remove and allow to cool to room temp. Here’s a close-up of the tofu:

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For the Sesame Green Beans:

2 tbsp sesame seeds (hulled or unhulled)
handful of fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt

Toast the sesame seeds in a small pan. This takes just a few minutes, so stay with them while they cook. Set aside. Steam the green beans in 1 inch of water for 3 – 5 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Remove to a plate and sprinkle the sesame oil, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt over the beans.

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Salad:

1 cup cabbage, chopped or shredded
3 radishes, grated
1 large stalk broccoli, florets and stem
1 clove garlic (or 1/4 tsp paste) (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger (or to taste), micro-planed (or paste)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. agave syrup (to taste – optional)
pinch of salt or to taste
wedge of fresh lemon or lime
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, green and/or white parts, chopped

For the salad:

Into a salad bowl, place the cabbage and radishes.

Prepare the broccoli by cutting off the florets and steaming them in 1 inch of water for 3 minutes until al dente. Drain well and put in the salad bowl. Use the stalk of the broccoli by first trimming off the fibrous cut end. Then peel the stalk and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the salad bowl. Add the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, tamari, agave and salt to the bowl and mix well. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad and toss in the cilantro and green onions. Stir and set aside.

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To plate:

Divide the salad between two plates or bowls. Top with the green beans and tofu. Garnish with some cilantro leaves and green onion. Enjoy!

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Vegetable Manchurian with Spicy Cilantro-Garlic Gravy and Fried Noodles

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Vegetable Manchurian with Spicy Cilantro-Garlic Gravy and Fried Noodles

Hello! Welcome to This Spicy Life…

Have you ever had the delicious combination of Indian and Chinese food? If not, this is a new taste adventure you are sure to love. Indian-Chinese is very popular in India, and it’s offered on lots of pub menus and restaurant menus. There’s nothing quite as good with a cool drink as a fried vegetable ball dripping with a spicy garlic-chili sauce! Or a crispy, spicy baby corn spear… this cuisine is not for the spice-challenged person!

There are many varieties of Manchurian – some are “dry” (without a lot of gravy), some are “wet”. Some use tomato product in the sauce, some don’t. All of them are highly flavored with some type of fried ball or battered pieces of vegetable, paneer or chicken.

My favorite recipe for Veg Manchurian is the following recipe from (my Dear Mother-in-Law) Shyamala Kallianpur‘s cookbook “Green Leafy Vegetables”. (Unfortunately it is out of print right now, but she is hoping to make it available again! The book is a treasure trove of healthy Konkani vegetarian cooking with some bonus recipes thrown in.) Without further delay (as many people have been asking for this recipe!!!)…

Vegetable Manchurian with Spicy Garlic-Cilantro Gravy

Serves 6

This is a two-part recipe. Make the balls first, set aside and then work on the sauce. Making both at once is a little hectic unless you have some help in the kitchen!

For the Vegetable Balls:

  • 1 cup spring onion leaves (green part only)
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 1/2 cup carrot
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper
  • 2 small potatoes (approx 1 1/2 cups), boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili sauce (the red sauce in a bottle)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 – 4 cups oil for deep frying
Method:
  1. Finely cut the first 5 vegetable ingredients. Cut as finely as possible – a food processor is the fastest and easiest but you can also use a grater or a knife.
  2. Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium low heat. Put the vegetables in the pan along with 2 tsp of salt. Stir occasionally and allow to cook for 5 minutes. The vegetables will just start to steam/sweat a bit, not brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the oil. Mix together well using a spoon or your hands. Test for salt level and add more if necessary.
  5. Form into 1″ diameter balls and flatten slightly. Deep fry until dark brown. Drain and set aside.
For the Gravy:
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 6 – 12 green chilis (or to taste), grind into a paste with a little water
  • 30 cloves of garlic, minced – don’t be shy with this…it mellows out with cooking!
  • 1/2 cup spring onion leaves (green part only), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups of water
Method:
  1. Heat a medium or large frying pan over medium low heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and then the green chili paste and minced garlic. Fry slowly, stirring often until it starts to turn brown. This takes a long time to turn brown…just take it slowly and keep a close eye since it will burn quickly at the end.
  2. Add the cut spring onion and 1/2 of the coriander leaves. Mix well and cook for 4 -5 minutes. You can add a little bit of the water if it starts to stick too much.
  3. Mix the sauces, vinegar, cornstarch, and about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water in a separate bowl to make a thin paste. Pour into the pan and stir to mix well.
  4. Stir in the remaining water and bring to a boil. Continue cooking (or add more water) until the consistency is that of a medium-thick gravy.
  5. Taste for salt and add if necessary.
  6. Remove from heat, add the fried vegetable balls and remaining cilantro. Serve hot with fried rice or noodles.