It wasn’t easy to capture luna on a good photo cause the lights of the city disturbed her beautiful warm, silent and calming vibrancy a bit. But anyway I did quite enjoy her great day of the month: admiring her as soon as she was there, mid-afternoon, then rising and shinig more and more, until the night’s canvas was giving her precious beams the perfect contrast – a magical matching perfect alignment. Like a kiss from and in the sky.
So maybe it was the new energy I won by luna’s night and light, that inspired me the other day to finally try to cook one of my favourite meals these days. Due to my two jobs and university starting over a couple of weeks before, I more and more lacked the energy to cook dinner for myself at night. And so I got more and more used to getting delicous Vietnamese food at a nice vegan/vegetarian Vietnamese Restaurant, the Chay Village, which is nearby my home. They make fantastic foods with loads of fresh delightful herbs and salads…I simply adored everything I tried there – and I tried a lot 😉
But since the costs of getting constantly outside foods will ruin me and also due to the remorse I feel for not cooking for myself, apparently now the time came to get into Vegan Vietnamese Cooking 🙂 – which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, since the most original cooking tutorials and pages I found were all in Vietnamese language…and mostly non of them vegan. I realized that this would be a nice project to start, veganizing some of them…and fortunately I finally found the beautiful pages of Helen’s Recipes , where she presents her homemade Vietnamese dishes in the English language. She also has a gorgeous page with her sister Uyen – the Danangcuisine . One of her youtube clips, presented (in a pork-version) one of my favourite meals I use to order at the Chay Village – Bún Cha (see Helen’s video here) – and I choose to make it my first veganized Vietnamese dish.
I think it tasted even better as the one I tried from the Chay Village 🙂
Vegan Bún Cha Recipe
for the marinade
ca 250gr Seitan, cut into palatable pieces
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 minced shallots
1 tbsp mushroom sauce or vegan oyster sauce (look in your local vietnamese/asian grocery for this – there are also a few recipes online to make it at home, but I didn’t have much time)
2 tbsp vegan fish sauce (see below for quick recipe)
1,5 tbsp dark agave syrup + 1 teaspoon molasses
1 tbsp instant vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp virgin coconut oil for frying
for the pickled veggies
ca 1 cup sliced bell peppers (I used one whole small sized)
ca 1 cup sliced carrots (see Helen’s video to see how to cut them in cute little flowers)
Helen uses carrots and kohlrabi/ stem cabbage (as an alternative she advises green papaya)
so it’s up to you 🙂
2-3 teaspoons sea salt to dehydrate
1-1,5 tbsp agave syrup + 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar (acidity 5%)
for the dressing
1/3 cup dark agave syrup
1/2 cup vegan fish sauce
3 cups water
for the topping
(Helen suggested chili and minced garlic but I didn’t have them)
a handfull peanuts
thinly sliced spring onions
both shortly strirr fried in 2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil
rice vermicelli (cooked following the packing’s directions)
different kinds of vietnamese herbs (visit your local vietnamese/asia grocery for this)
Rau kinh giói (it tastes a bit like lemon balm) – like 3-4 twigs
vietnamese cilantro – 3 twigs
red basil – 2 twigs
all of the herbs roughly chopped (hard stems removed)
some lettuce – 4 leafs cut into slices
1. First you have to prepare the vegan fish sauce. I found this brilliant vegan recipe created by vegan miam – thank her very much for that! And as I didn’t have light soy sauce or tamari sauce on hand, I improvised a little.
Here my version
1/2 cup warm water
4 tbsp raw turbinado sugar
1/s cup pineapple juice
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Genmai Miso
1,5 teaspoons Shiro Miso
stirr all together until the sugar and the Miso pastes are dissolved – refridgerate, covered with a lid for 1 hour.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl until everything is well mixed. Add the seitan pieces and mix well until the pieces are evenly covered with the marinade. Let it rest in the fridge at least 30min before cooking.
3. Put the sliced bell pepper and carrots in a bowl and add the 3-2 tbsp sea salt. Set aside for ca 15min to let them loose some water. Drain the water and wash the vegetables in a sieve for a few times. Place them back in the cleansed bowl and mix well with the agave syrup and rice vinegar. Let them rest for 1 hour before serving.
4. Prepare the herbs and salad and arrange them in a bowl. Cook the rice vermicelli following the directions on the packing – arrange them in a bowl, too.
5. Prepare the nuts and spring onions in a pan by shortly stirr frying them – set them aside on a small dish, then grill the marinated seitan pieces over medium heat until they get a little crispy on both sides. Be careful not to use too much heat for the marinade would burn – mine did turn a bit black on the end… When they are done remove them from the pan and place them on a plate or in a bowl.
7. Arrange everything arround the bowl with the dressing inside. Take always a little from the salad and herbs, some vegetables and noodles and enjoy with a piece of yummy seitan.
As you may got by my praising words above: It was definately worth trying this out by myself! In fact maybe I’ll have it again today 🙂 Or maybe Miso Soup with rice…I can’t decide yet 😉 But what is sure is: this dish in it’s homemade version will be on my table more often than the bought one from the restaurant!
And now that I figured out, how to make vegan fishsauce and learned, that there is a vegan version of oystersauce – there are no barriers no more in my way on discovering the Vietnamese kitchen – and you will definately find more of the results here AND I think it won’t be the last time that Helen’s Recipes will be my inspiration 🙂
So I wish everyone a beautiful sunday – and a very nice start into the new week tomorrow!