Tag Archive for Vegan

Sambal Goreng

A sambal goreng is an Indonesian dish consisting of vegetables or meat cooked in a spicy, red sauce. The one I made consisted of green beans and bean sprouts, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables (cabbage is really nice) or proteins (I especially like this sauce with boiled eggs). By adding more sambal you can make it more spicy, by adding some more tomato and use less sambal it gets more mellow, but keeps it red colour.

Usually, an Indonesian meal consists of rice, at least one saucy dish and one dry dish (one of them with a protein and one of them with vegetables), and usually some sambal and a pickle (atjar) on the side.

Trassi is fermented shrimp paste. In it’s raw state it is incredibly smelly, some people find it so smelly that they refuse to cook with it. But it does give dishes a subtle extra flavour that is really nice, and after you cook it out it doesn’t smell at all. I have found a brand that does give a good flavour, but isn’t too smelly. But in the past I’ve also had a brand that was terribly smelly, the kitchen kept smelling after I cooked with it and I had to wrap the package in a bazillion layers of plastic to keep the smell contained. So it’s worth it to experiment with a few brands.


Sambal Goreng (serves 2-4 persons, depending on what other dishes you serve)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp sambal oelek
pinch of galangal (dried, ground)
1/4 tsp trassi
1 tbsp oil (coconut, ricebran)
2 tomatoes
250 ml bouillon
250 g ingredient of choice (vegetable/protein)
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tbsp goela djawa
1 cm piece santen (creamed coconut)

Blend the onion and garlic to a paste. Heat the oil in a pan, add the puree, sambal, galangal, trasi and a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant and the onion starts to caramelize.
Cut the tomatoes in cubes and add to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes. Add the bouillon.
Add the ingredient of choice, and cook until it is done.
Finish the sauce with the tamarind paste, goela djawa and santen. Don’t let it boil any more, it might split.

Note: to make this dish vegan, don’t use the trasi and make sure you use a vegan-friendly bouillon. The sauce is really nice with tofu/tempeh, to make a vegan protein dish.

Gobi Curry

This is a good dish to use up all kinds of vegetables. It needs to contain cauliflower (gobi), but otherwise the vegetables are up to you. It is not a very authentic curry, but nicely flavoured and doable on weekdays.


Gobi Curry(serves 2)
Inspired by “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

1 tbsp oil (coconut, rapeseed, rice bran, peanut, sunflower, ghee)
1 onion, sliced
1 red chili (or 1 tsp sambal oelek)
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of coriander powder
pinch of cumin powder
1 small cauliflower, into florets
1 large carrot, in chunks
2 handfuls (frozen) peas
1 small can coconut milk (~200 ml)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (you can use lemon juice instead)
To serve: cooked rice, chopped coriander (optional), toasted dessicated coconut (optional)

Heat the oil, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until translucent.
Meanwhile, put chili, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend into a paste. Add this paste to the translucent onions and sauté until the raw smell has disappeared. Add nigella seeds, mustard seeds, curry powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder. Fry for about a minute, or until fragrant.
Add a splash of water and mix well, scraping all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the cauliflower and cover with a lid. About halfway done, add the carrot. When both the cauliflower and the carrot are almost cooked, take off the lid, pour in the coconut milk and add the peas. Cook until hot. Add the tamarind paste. Taste and season with salt and some extra tamarind paste if necessary.

This dish is vegan when you use a vegetable oil (not the ghee – which is made from butter) and, if you are using sambal instead of chili, use one that doesn’t contain shrimp paste.

Gado gado

Gado gado is an Indonesian dish of vegetables with peanut sauce. It can be served as a main, but also as part of an Indonesian meal with several different dishes.


Peanut sauce
Slightly adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees- Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sambal oelek or sambal badjak
1/4 tsp trasi
1/2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (all natural, no ingredients except peanut)
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tsp goela jawa (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
200 ml water
1/2 cm from a block of santen (creamed coconut)

Finally chop the onion and garlic. Use a mortar and pestle or blender to make into a purée, mix with the sambal, trasi and salt.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the purée and sauté on medium heat until most of the moisture is evaporated, and the mixture doesn’t smell raw any more.
Add peanut butter, ketjap, goela jawa, tamarind paste and water. Mix well. Leave to bubble for a bit, until the sauce has the desired consistency. Add some more water if you think it’s too thick. Add the santen and mix. Taste and season with salt, goela jawa and tamarind paste if necessary. Serve.

Gado gado
200-300 g raw/cooked vegetables per person (can be cold or hot), for example cabbage, green beans, carrot, taugé, cucumber, cauliflower, potato
boiled eggs and/or fried tofu
peanut sauce
To serve (optional): rice, krupuk

Serve all the ingredients with the peanut sauce poured over.

To make this dish vegan, don’t use the trasi (which is fermented shrimp paste), and make sure your sambal doesn’t contain shrimp paste. Also, don’t serve the dish with eggs. Krupuk contains shrimp, use cassava chips as an alternative.

Spaghetti with caramelized onions and crispy breadcrumbs

Usually onions are added to a dish to give it an extra layer of flavour, which is quite logical because they contain loads of umami. But they are also delicious as the main veggie of the dish, and as an added bonus they are really healthy and cheap too. The onions in this dish are sweet, savoury and soft; the crispy breadcrumbs give a nice, crunchy texture. The original recipe uses fusili, but I used spaghetti, because I use spaghetti for almost all pasta dishes. The original recipe also suggest to serve the dish with a white cabbage and carrot salad; I didn’t, but a fresh salad would combine well with the pasta.

Cooking onions can be tricky, they can stay quite hard even after cooking for a long time. To prevent this, I have a few tricks. I slice my onions thinly or in small cubes, because thicker slices and larger cubes tend to stay hard more often. I always use a generous amount of fat (oil or butter) and a generous pinch of salt to fry them in, separately from the other ingredients. Only after softening them I add other ingredients or add the onions to other ingredients, even when the whole thing will cook much longer. And I always start on high heat while stirring to soften the onions, and then turn down the heat to cook and caramelize them further.

Spaghetti with caramelized onions and crispy breadcrumbs (serves 4)
Adapted from Volkskeuken

2 old whole-grain slices of bread
8 tbsp olive oil
600 g peeled onions, sliced thinly in half moons
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely (I prefer the dish without garlic, I find the garliccy flavour too overwhelming)
1 tbsp dried thyme (I prefer to use fresh from my garden)
1 tsp sugar
Optional: 50 ml white wine
400 g pasta
120 g grated cheese (something with oomph, like a medium aged farmhouse gouda)
a bunch of chives, sliced
salt and pepper

Crumble the bread. Mix with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Sauté in a skillet on medium heat until crisp. Spread out on a plate and set aside to cool.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, sugar and a generous pinch of salt and cook on low heat until soft and caramelized (about 20 minutes). Stir regularly. If using, add the wine at the end and cook for a few minutes on high heat to reduce.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Reserve a bit of the cooking liquid. Mix the pasta with the onions, and then with the cheese and chives. Add a little of the cooking liquid to make it unctuous. Season with salt and pepper, scoop into plates and sprinkle with the crispy breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.

Note: to make this dish truly vegan, make sure you use egg-free pasta, egg/dairy-free bread and a vegan-suitable cheese substitute. You could also omit the cheese, the dish will still be delicious.

Tuktuk Salad

An Asian brown rice salad with loads of vegetables and a Thai inspired dressing.
The nuggets on the photo are vegetarian grilled bits from the supermarket, something I bought as an experiment, wanting to eat less meat. They tasted kind of like chicken nuggets, of which I am not a big fan. They were quite spongy, did not have much texture and were quite salty in flavour (probably to mask that the vega stuff they made the bits from does not have much taste). But I have to admit, they weren’t that bad either (especially for a meat substitute), so I might buy them again.

Tuktuk Salad

Tuktuk salad (serves 2)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

75 g brown rice
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup broad beans, double podded
100 g taugé (bean sprouts)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cashew nuts

1 tsp sambal oelek (or 1/2 a finely chopped chilli)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
1.5 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp neutral tasting oil
1.5 tbsp soy sauce

Add rice, 150 ml water and the stock cube to a pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the vegetables. Bring a big pan of water to the boil, place the one of the vegetables in a sieve (metal/heat proof) and dunk into the boiling water. When blanched (about 30 seconds for defrosted peas/broad beans, 1-2 minutes for the bean sprouts), take them out and leave them to drain. Repeat with the other vegetables. Chop the bean sprouts coarsely (I didn’t do that, and found it annoying when eating).
If you want, roast the cashew nuts. I like to roast them, because it makes them a bit more crunchy and intensify the flavour, but cashews do burn incredibly fast, so you really have to keep an eye on them.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Leave to infuse for a while, then taste. It can be necessary to add a bit more of one (or more) of the ingredients to balance the flavour and adjust it to what you like.
When the rice is ready, add the vegetables and dressing, and mix carefully. Scoop onto plates, and scatter with the cashew nuts.

Stuffed Vegetables

Rice with lots of different bits and pieces, savoury and sweet, loads of different flavours and textures, stuffed into delicious vegetables. You definitely don’t miss the meat in this dish! I like stuffed vegetables, it is a fun way of serving, a bit different than the average rice dish. But I always have one problem: the amount of filling never matches the volume I need to fill the vegetables that I want to fill. Usually I err on the side of caution and make more filling than I need, and serve the remainder on the side. Or store it for next days lunch.
I cooked a double batch of rice on a previous day, stored half and used it for this dish. Because brown rice takes 30-45 minutes, I wouldn’t cook it specially for this dish, so a bit of planning is advised. Alternatively you could use basmati, or another rice, that does cook quicker.

Stuffed Vegetables

Stuffed Vegetables (serves 2)
Slightly adapted from “Leon – Fast Vegetarian”

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sambal badjak
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup brown rice, cooked in bouillon
1/2 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
1/4 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1/4 cup cubed feta (or crumbled goats cheese)
salt and pepper
optional: 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, mint, dill and/or coriander)

vegetables of choice (aubergine, pumpkin/squash, courgette, onions, paprika, tomato)

Precook the vegetables in the oven at 175-200C (time/temperature will depend on the kind of vegetable you use), then scoop out the flesh if necessary.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and sauté until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sambal, and sauté for another few minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and tomato, and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, mix and season well with salt and pepper.
Stuff the vegetables with the filling and cook in the oven at 160C for 20 minutes.

Note: Omit the feta to make this dish vegan friendly. Or use a vegan cheese instead.

Indonesian cabbage

A delicious and easy side-dish. Serve with rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Indonesian Cabbage

Indonesian cabbage (serves 2-4)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, puréed
1 tsp sambal oelek
1/4 tsp ginger, puréed
1 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
optional: 1/4 tsp trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
2 or 3 tomatoes, cubed
250 ml vegetable or chicken bouillon
300 g shredded cabbage (hispi (pointed), white, napa)
1 tbsp tamarind water
pinch of sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1 cm piece santen (creamed coconut)

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan. Add the onion, garlic, sambal and ginger, and add a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add the trassi (makes it incredibly smelly, but when cooked long enough this smell will disappear) and tomato, and sauté a little longer. Add the stock, bring to the boil and add the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. For this dish you don’t want the cabbage to crisp, but don’t boil it to death either. Finish the sauce with the tamarind water and sugar, then dissolve the santen in it. Serve.

Note: to make this dish vegan, omit the trassi and use vegetable bouillon. Also make sure you are not using a sambal that contains trassi.

Celeriac-bean mash

Celeriac is often combined with potato to make a mash. In my opinion, the trouble with that is that it gets a weird texture, and the flavour is not that good as well. I prefer my celeriac raw, or in soup. But then I found an alternative recipe for celeriac mash in the allerhande magazine, with a solution I never thought of for the mash texture: it uses beans. They also add a nice, earthy flavour to the mash and make it more filling.
Using beans instead of potato also makes it possible to stick a blender in it to make a smooth purée (doing that with potato will give you glue). If you like a coarser mash, just use a potato masher instead.
Because it contains both a vegetable and a pulse, it makes a nice 2-in-1 side-dish. It is delicious with all kinds of roast meats, or with a topping of sautéed mushrooms as a vegetarian/vegan alternative (see note for an Italian variation/vegan version of this mash).

Celeriac-bean mash (serves 4)
1 kg celeriac
2 cans of cannellini beans (400 g can, 185 g without the liquid; you can use other white beans)
25 g butter
100 ml milk (more or less)
salt and pepper
20 g flat-leave parsley, chopped

Peel the celeriac, then rinse to make sure that no dirt is left. Cut into chunks, place in a pan with a little water and cook until done (about 15 minutes).
Add the beans and the butter, mash, and add milk until you reached your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and mix through the parsley.

Note: to make this dish vegan, don’t use butter and milk, but use a nice glug of olive oil instead. And use rosemary or sage instead of the parsley to give it an Italian touch, which combines well with the olive oil.

Carrot and orange salad

A small and fun side salad, fresh and slightly sweet. You can add bits of orange or grapefruit if you like. I like to make this in autumn and winter, when carrots are abundant but other salad vegetables are not. The salad on my photo has a bit of a strange colour, because I used white, yellow, orange and purple carrots from my garden. When you use “normal” orange carrots, the salad will be orange too. I like to grate the carrot finely, but you can also slice the carrot into julienne or grate it coarsely, if you prefer.

Carrot and Orange Salad

Carrot and orange salad (serves 2)
Inspired on a recipe of the Voedingscentrum that I read somewhere

30 g raisins
150 g carrot
30 ml orange juice

Wash the raisins and soak them 10 minutes in warm water. Wash (or peel, when you use thicker/older carrots) and grate the carrots. Drain the raisins and mix with the carrot and orange juice.

Mixed vegetable soup

As so often, I used a BBC programme as an inspiration for this recipe, this time it was Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. The vegetable soup they made reminded me of the vegetable velouté you can buy in cartons in the French supermarket, absolutely delicious, great to have something reasonably healthy that is ready-made and unfortunately not available in the Netherlands. So I decided to make my own, which is quite a bit more work than opening a carton, but definitely worth it. It is a lovely vibrant, fresh soup tasting of all the lush vegetables that are available in summer. Vegetable patch soup is maybe a good name for this recipe, because you can use up all kinds of vegetables, perfect for finishing the bits and pieces that you sometimes have growing around your vegetable patch. The recipe below shows the vegetables I used, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables as well. I think that for example cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and green beans would also be delicious.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Mixed vegetable soup (serves 2)
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 small celeriac, in cubes
1 large carrot, in cubes
1/2 courgette, in cubes
500 ml water
2 vegetable stock cubes
a handful fresh peas
a few tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large pan (I like to use my Dutch oven for this). Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celeriac, carrot and courgette and sauté until softened, but not coloured (5-8 minutes). Add the water and stock cubes, stir well and leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Optionally, fish out the garlic. Add the peas, cook for another 2 minutes, then blend the whole thing with a stick blender. Stir in the mascarpone (don’t let the soup boil after this!), parsley, chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: to make this recipe suitable for vegans, use olive oil instead of butter and a plant based cream instead of mascarpone.