Saturday, March 19, 2016

Converting Traditional Dishes Into Vegan/Vegetarian Versions The Right Way

Do some Vegan/Vegetarian Tv and YouTube Chefs recipes leave you wanting more? Perhaps if they've never had the real thing before they dont know to convert the recipes correctly, or they simply aren't creative enough with ingredients. I will.
What really annoys me about watching some vegetarian or vegan cooking shows, either on TV or YouTube, is when they try to convert a NON VEGAN recipe into vegan and it is NOTHING like the real thing., It shows how little they know about ingredients, cooking techniques or conversion...

Im going to be critiquing 6 such recipes, here.

Lets start with Christina Cooks

Christina Pirello's Vegan Cheesesteak/TV Version (check your listings)
(Please note that her net version is totally different and the picture doesnt match the recipe)

At issue? On the television version she starts frying the onions, then while they are still cold AND CRISP she adds the UNSEASONED Seitan (meat replacer) and raw mushrooms and NOTHING gets caramelized or seared or develops any flavor.
She also basically lies flat out, saying she has been vegan life long and has never had a real cheesesteak, when this is simply NOT true. She grew up eating meat in Philly and stopped when she got leukemia...So the likelihood of an Italian woman in Philly never eating a cheesesteak is slim

So let me show y'all how a truly tasty and more authentic Vegan Cheesesteak is done.

Place 2 slices Daiya Provolone in a whole wheat Amoroso Roll (available at all Wawas or on the Amorosos website)

1 box Pacific Seitan, shaved
2 teaspoons Marmite
1 t Browning
Dash smoke flavor
1 t Salt
1/2 cup Boiling water

Mix the water, Marmite, Salt, smoke seasoning and Browning in a bowl, add the shaved Seitan and mix and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Sliced or chopped onion

Fry the onion in oil with salt and pepper till it gets translucent and brown, move to a plate

Then fry the drained Seitan in the same pan until it gets seared and the moisture abates some, re-add the onions, check for seasoning and spoon it into the roll with the Daiya Provolone, serve with

Ketchup & Hoagie Peppers on the side.


 Christina Pirellos Larb (from her website)

At issue:
First of all Laab/Larb/Larp is NOT THAI, Its Laotian, from the country of Laos.
Second there is no red peppers, noodles, mushrooms or peanuts or garlic. Why must you complicate shit?
I cannot understand how you have a TV show or a following.

Heres a real authentic and totally Vegan version of Laotian Laab...

Crumble a half a block of extra firm tofu into a bowl, add 1 t Kitchen Bouquet Browning and 1/2 t Marmite dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water, Stir, let it sit then fry in a little oil till dry and seared a bit
1 T Vegetable broth take off heat

then add

1 Asian Soup Spoon Lime Juice
1 Asian Soup Spoon Vegan Fish Sauce*
1 Asian Soup Spoon Rice Syrup
Handful slivered red onion
Handful Cilantro
Handful scallions
Handful fresh mint
1/2 t Roasted pulverized sweet rice
1 t roasted chili powder or 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce

Serve in
Lettuce cups with
Carrot Strings
Red Cabbage Strings

 All vegan Laotian Laab,




Christina Pirellos Pad Thai

At Issue:
 NOTHING in her recipe makes any Pad Thai sense, There are no snow peas, red peppers, cashews and especially NOT tomatoes in any authentic Pad Thai I know.. WTF Christina!

Heres how to have a real authentic, yet totally VEGAN Pad Thai
(adapted from Joy Buasi's delirious and Authentic Pad Thai)

For the sauce:

3 Asian Soup Spoons Vegan Fish Sauce*
2 Asian Soup Spoons Vegetarian "oyster" sauce
3 Asian Soup Spoons Tamarind juice (Not concentrate, add hot water to the actual bean pulp to make a light mauve colored juice)
3 Asian Soup Spoons Palm Sugar

Boil all of the above to make the sauce, pour into a bowl and set aside.
This makes enough  for 3 recipes

The Noodles

1/2  Package Pad Thai Noodles, soaked in water

1/4 Block Firm Tofu, cubed, drained
1 recipe liquid Veganegg
2 T Chives
2 T chopped Shallot
For the vegan shrimp/ 1/2 Block matchstick sliced white konjac
2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
2 T sweet radish

Heat some oil in a pan, add the Shallots, stir a minute, then add the garlic and stir a minute.
Add the tofu, then the sweet radish, Stir 2 minutes
Then add the noodkes and 4 Asian Soup Spoons of the sauce and a 1/4 cup water.
Let noodles soften and everything come together. Push the mixture off to the side and add the liquid Veganegg mixture and scramble, then add the Konjac and chives and stir it all together completely.
If its dry add more water.

Serve and Garnish with
Bean Sprouts
Crushed Roasted Peanut
Chili Powder
Lime, slices

A truly authentic tasting totally vegan Pad Thai


Lets move on to a YouTube Indian Chef

The Bombay Chef - Varun Inamdar's  (from YouTube)

This man has no clue about other countries cuisines, he says he loves Mexican food yet he really has no clue what an enchilada is or how to make one.


Look, rolling a log of semi mashed black beans in a tortilla is NOT an Enchilada, its NOTHING.
Adding a weird tomato sauce on top and two slices of American Kraft Singles doesnt help either. Its just WRONG all around! In Mexico spicy chili sauces are supposed to have a fruity almost raisinish flavor. Adding Cayenne to the tomato sauce is just adding flavorless heat. Mexican peppers are Caliente WITH Mucho Flavor.

How to fix this recipe, and keep it vegetarian.

1 block extra firm Tofu
2 t Marmite
2 t Browning
1 T Cumin
2 t Paprika
1/2 CUP Fresh Corn
1/4 CUP Mild green chilis
1/2 to 1 cup Shredded White Cabot Cheddar
1 half an onion, chopped

1/2 bag dried Kashmiri Chilis (Kashmiri Chilis are mild and available to the Indian Mkt)
14 oz Tomato Puree
1 T  Ground Cumin
1 t Oregano
2 cloves Garlic,chopped
1 t Salt

Corn Rotis or Tortillas

Garnishes & Sides
Sour Cream
Refried Beans

3.5 ounce bag

Toast the dried chilis in a hot pan, till they get soft, and aromatic.
Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water, let sit for 4 hours till plump

 All plump

Crumble the block of tofu  into a bowl
Mix the Marmite and browning in a tiny bowl with a lil hot water until smooth.
In a small pan toast the cumin and paprika then toss it with tofu and then add the Marmite/Browning mixture, Mix in the corn and green chilis. Season with S&P Set aside

 Seeds and veins removed
The pureed Kashmiri peppers

Put gloves on and remove all seeds from the Chilis, place the plumped up peppers in a blender and add some of the liquid and process until smooth.
Put some corn oil in a pan and saute the garlic till aromatic and then add the cumin, and oregano and saute 1 minute

Add the tomato puree and cook till darker in color and thicker, season with S&P...Turn off stove

Fry the tofu mixture in a pan in some corn oil until seared and browned and drier take off heat and toss in the cheese.

To assemble

Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the baking dish

Dip a Corn Tortilla or Roti in the Enchilada Sauce,

stuff with the stuffing then roll tightly, lay about 8 in your 7x11 baking pan and

pour more sauce over all and
Bake at 350oF for about 10 mins, just to heat it thru.

Top with more shredded cheddar and bake again till bubbly

Serve with Refried beans and rice on side and garnished with sour cream, guac and cilantro...

Thats how VEGETARIAN Enchiladas are done....


Cesar Salad (Vegetarian)

I understand it is hard to find a suitable stand in for the anchovies, and Regular Worcestershire (both fish containing products) but in the authentic Cesar Salad you only use ONE large garlic clove RUBBED in the inside of the wooden salad bowl, and the dressing is made with olive oil and lemon juice emulsified with egg yolk salt and pepper NOT 6 chopped garlic cloves and vegan mayo. Also no one cuts Romaine lettuce with a knife, Its supposed to be torn.

How to fix it:

Half a loaf of French or Italian bread, CRUSTS ON, Cubed, sprayed with olive oil spray (Aldi) and sprinkled lightly with garlic salt and toasted  in an oven till golden

Tear a Head of Romaine

Slice 1 large clove garlic in half


1 inch cube of Parmesan
2 T Lemon juice
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Cracked Black Peppper
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Vegan Worcestershire
1 T yellow pea protein or Besan (stand in for egg yolk)
1/2 teaspoon black salt  (gives the flavor of egg)
1/4 cup Boiling water

Mix the besan or pea protein with the black salt, pepper and salt in a Nutribullet, add the boiling water, then blend.
Add the Worcestershire, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil then blend,
Lastly add, a small chunk of Parmesan and the olive oil and blend completely

Rub the inside of a large wooden bowl with the cut side of the garlic clove, coating the entire inside completely, Squeezing the juice to coat the bowl.

Add 3 T of the dressing to the bowl and then add the Romaine, the Croutons
Toss to coat, then shave more Parm cheese over all.



and  finally

His Weird Pad Thai

At Issue

While no where near as crazy and weird as Christina Pirellos Pad Thai
His sauce is all wrong NO SOY SAUCE in real Pad Thai and the tamarind should be tamarind juice, not concentrate (way too sour and dark), he cooks the veggies AND the peanuts, adds no tofu and its got no chilis!
Its just all wrong...

How to fix it?

Just follow my recipe above.

*Vegan Fish Sauce

1 cup boiling water
2 t Marmite
1 t salt
1 t Vegan Worcestershire

Mix throughly, keep in fridge