*Guilt-Free Nut Crumble*

Never eat an unhealthy, high fat, high sugar dessert again. Create your own guilt-free nut crumble.

Unlike most desserts, this one is super nutrient-dense, and will not spike your blood sugar. Your combo of nuts and seeds will offer your body high quality proteins and fats (such as omega-3’s), vitamins (folate, thiamin, vitamin B6,  vitamin E, and riboflavin), minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and manganese). A little honey, cinnamon and all spice on top is all you need to make this the perfect dessert.

What You Need:
A variety of nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or almonds)
Dried fruit
Honey
Cinnamon & All Spice
Lime

Directions:
1. Use your nut grinder to chop your nuts or just break them a bit by hand or knife.

2. Add a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix about 1 part lime juice to 3 parts honey, and stir well. Add cinnamon and all-spice.

4. Pour over nut mixture evenly, stopping to stir frequently.

5. Serve immediately or put in the fridge for the next day.

Guilt-Free Crumble
Guilt-Free Crumble

Phat Pak Pongaree :: Egg and Curry Powder

Phat Pongaree is unique in Thai Cuisine because it is considered a ‘curry’ dish but is not made with a curry paste or coconut milk, as traditional curries are.

This curry dish uses a ‘dry curry powder’ and ‘fresh milk’ as replacements. A traditional recipe calls for crab meat or another type of seafood, but the following recipe is for a ‘Phat Pak Pongaree’, or ‘Fried Vegetable and Egg Curry’.

This dish has become my favorite street vendor breakfast, which costs roughly 45 baht, or $1.50. Upscale restaurants however, serving this dish with crab meat, can charge upwards of 600 baht, or $18.00.

What You Need: Makes 1 Serving

Base:
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 White Onion
1 medium Carrot
1/2 cup chopped Spring Onion
1/2 cup Thai Celery, using the thin stems and the leaves (regular celery if Thai celery is not available)
2 cloves Garlic
1 tsp  dry Yellow Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Chili Oil
2 tsp Oyster Sauce or Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce (Healthy Boy is a preferred brand)
1/4 tsp White Pepper Powder
1/2 tsp Sugar
Coconut Oil for frying
1/4 cup Vegetarian Broth to de-glaze
Chopped Thai Chili, optional for spice

Additional:
Any vegetables of your choice for a vegetarian option (tofu, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, snap peas, etc.)
or
a choice of Crab Meat, Shrimp, Scallops, Chicken, or Pork for a meat option

Directions:

1. First make the sauce by whisking the following ingredients together in one bowl; egg, milk, yellow curry powder, chili oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, white pepper powder, and sugar.

2. Slice garlic, chop onion into roughly 1 inch chunks, chop carrot into roughly 1/4 inch slices, and chop spring onion and celery into small pieces.

3. Heat a wok or frying pan with a small amount of coconut oil over high heat. First add garlic, then carrot and onion. Fry for roughly 2 minutes with high heat.

4. Add your vegetarian ingredients or your meat ingredients and fry to desired texture.

5. Add sauce, and stir continuously so the egg cooks and the sauce spreads out over other ingredients. Add 1/4 cup broth to de-glaze if necessary.

6. Add Thai celery, spring onion, and Thai chilies. Stir and fry for 1 minute.

7. Serve with white or brown rice (optional)

Phat Pak Pongaree
Phat Pak Pongaree

Watch how to make this dish and three others in the video below of my Thai Cooking Class

 

 

Vegan Cheese Sauce

This vegan cheese sauce is similar to the ‘Creamy Cashew Sauce’ I posted before, but is a better choice for imitating a ‘cheese’ sauce, especially for pastas. You will be surprised at how much it tastes like cheese. I made this dish and let a few people try it (who are not vegetarian) and all said they could barely notice a difference between this sauce and a normal cheese sauce.

For the featured photo above, I made pasta with broccoli. However, I also used the same cheese sauce to mix with potatoes with sautéd onions and garlic.

What You Need:
1 to 1 and 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 to 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk
Half of a large carrot
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (for the cheese flavor)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup onion or shallot
Water (to thin out the sauce)
Cayenne Pepper
Coconut Oil for frying
Optional: 1/2 cup of potato (sweet potato for a sweet sauce)

Note: This order was perfect for an entire package of spaghetti with two medium heads of broccoli

Directions:
1. Boil raw cashews in a pot for roughly 15-20 minutes. You want them to be very soft. At the same time, cut your carrot into small chunks and boil until soft (roughly 15 minutes). Optional: If you’re also adding a sweet potato or regular potato, cut into small chunks as well and boil until soft (roughly 10 minutes). Drain all.

2. Pour the boiled cashews, carrots, and potatoes (optional) into a blender. Add the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

3. Chop garlic and shallots (or onion). Pour a tbsp of coconut oil into a small frying pan and fry the garlic and shallots over medium heat. Do not burn. Drain off the oil. Place the ingredients into the blender.

4. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add water as necessary to make the sauce the consistency you want. Taste frequently and add more spices to taste.

Pasta and Broccoli with Vegan Cheese Sauce
Pasta and Broccoli with Vegan Cheese Sauce

Larb Gai :: Minced Chicken with Herbs

Larb salad is the national dish of Laos. However, it is a very popular dish in Thailand, especially in the Isaan region, which is the Eastern and North Eastern section of Thailand, where it borders Cambodia and Laos.

Larb is simply a cold meat salad with fresh herbs. In some parts of the country, the meat is not even cooked. The use of lime is so heavy that it ‘cooks’ the meat in that way. However, most restaurants outside of the Isaan region in Thailand will serve you cooked meat.

What I love about Isaan food is its freshness. Many of the dishes are simple cold salads with herbs. They take hardly any time to make, are packed full of intense flavors, and are very healthy for you. Cold meat salads are high in protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Vegetarian? No problem! I make this dish using minced tofu or tempeh! Featured on this blog is minced chicken because we learned the special techniques of this dish recently at a Thai Cooking School on the island of Koh Lanta.

This dish has a variety of cooking options in addition to my recipe below, you can also add toasted rice, mushrooms or other vegetables. Traditionally it is served with sticky rice and fresh raw vegetables, but it is perfect on it’s own without those components as well.

You can be very casual with your ingredients. I would recommend 2 cups of meat for every 1 cup of herbs, shallots, and spices combined.

What You Need: (Makes 2 Dishes)
Meat: Chicken, Pork, Beef, Duck, Tofu, Tempeh, Mushrooms, etc. the choice is up to you – roughly 2 cups
3-4 Medium Shallots
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Chopped Thai Parsley if available
1/4 cup Chopped Spring Onion
1/4 cup Chopped Lemongrass if available
1/4 cup Mint (to place on top)
Lime Juice
Fish Sauce
Cooking Oil (preferably Coconut)
1/2 cup Vegetable or Chicken Broth to deglaze
Spices: Traditionally Thai’s would use ‘Nam Prik Larb’, which translates to ‘Spicy Larb Sauce’ a seasoning paste specifically for Larb dishes. A basic recipe you could get by with is chili powder, salt, and pepper. However, if you have chili powder, coriander seeds, black and white pepper, star anise, clove, and cumin seed already at home, you can create your own ‘Nam Prik Larb’ (recipe below)

Directions:
1. To create ‘Nam Prik Larb’ : Dry roast the whole spices chili, coriander seeds, black and white pepper, star anise, clove, and cumin seeds. This releases their flavor first. Then crush or grind the spices finely (or start here if your spices are already ground) and saute with oil. This should create a thick paste. Depending on how spicy you like your dish, you could add anywhere from a 1 -3 tablespoons.
– If you don’t want to make this paste, you can simply use chili powder, salt, and pepper –

2. In a wok or frying pan, put a few tablespoons of oil and saute your chopped garlic and lemongrass. Do not burn.

3. Add the meat or meat replacement. Use a large wooden spoon to mix and mince the meat as it cooks. Do not leave it whole. You want it to be as broken up as possible, and cook until well done. Add the broth during this process to deglaze as necessary.

4. Take the meat, garlic, and lemongrass mixture off the heat and place into a separate bowl to begin cooling.

5. Add your spices or your Nak Prik Larb paste. Mix thoroughly.

6. Add your chopped shallots, cilantro, Thai parsley (if available), and spring onion.

7. Squeeze fresh lime or add lime juice to taste (probably 1 full lime)

8. Add fish sauce (be careful, a little goes a long way – probably 1 tablespoon is plenty)

9. Top with fresh mint. Serve with raw vegetables or sticky rice.

10. Enjoy your Larb Salad, the national dish of Laos!

Larb Gai :: Minced Chicken with Herbs
Larb Gai :: Minced Chicken with Herbs

Nutrition Abroad’s Creamy Cashew Sauce (Vegan)

Cream sauces match perfectly with a lot of different dishes. However, cream sauces are not usually a healthy option. Typically they contain a lot of heavy cream, unhealthy oils, and cheese.

This recipe is for a cashew cream sauce, which offers a healthy alternative packed full of flavor. Cashews contain a lot of healthy fat, mostly monounsaturated fats, and surprisingly quite a bit of protein. They are also high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6.

Cashew sauce is good on top of stir-fried veggies, pasta, chicken, fish, potatoes, raw veggies, base for a casserole, or even in place of a gravy.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of cashew sauce. Simply double or triple the recipe to make more.

What You Need:
1/2 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp’s of diced shallots
1-2 Tbsp’s flour for thickening (flour of your choice: regular, almond, coconut, etc.)
Sea Salt and Cracked Fresh Black Pepper
Coconut oil for sautéing
Optional: 1 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast (for a cheese flavor)

Directions:
1. Boil the cashews until soft (15-20 minutes)
2. Chop the garlic and shallots and sauté in coconut oil until soft
3. Place the cashews, garlic, shallots, coconut milk, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
4. Pour mixture into small pot and cook again over medium heat. Add flour to thicken sauce. Taste , add more salt or pepper if necessary.
5. Add nutritional yeast (optional) for a cheesy flavor. Serve.

Featured Photo: Grilled Asparagus with Thai Wild Ginger and Creamy Cashew Sauce

Asparagus with Cashew Cream Sauce
Asparagus with Cashew Cream Sauce

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup

I’ve made a few dishes lately using cauliflower and red pepper. It’s nice to be able to buy a few ingredients, and have many dishes you can make from them. I made the roasted red pepper sauce and the roasted cauliflower and mushroom lentil burger. Notice they all involved roasting the vegetables! It’s so easy to cut up the vegetables, cover them with a little coconut oil, salt, and pepper, and stick them in the oven to roast! Then when they’re finished, you can make a variety of different dishes, and the roasting process leaves behind great flavor.

This recipe makes roughly 5-6 bowls of soup.

What You Need:
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 red peppers
Fresh Rosemary
1 cup of vegetable broth
5-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of sliced shallots
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Coconut Oil

Directions:
1. Wash your vegetables and herbs (cauliflower, red pepper, and rosemary)

Cauliflower and Red Pepper
Cauliflower and Red Pepper

2. Take the half head of cauliflower and cut it into normal cauliflower sized pieces. Take each of the red peppers and cut them into four equal pieces (8 total).

3. Rub coconut oil lightly over each piece of cauliflower and each section of red pepper. Crack black pepper and sea salt over each piece to taste.

Red Peppers w/ Coconut Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper
Red Peppers w/ Coconut Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper

4. Roast both the cauliflower and red pepper. You can do this by putting each into a roasting pan or wrapping them in tin foil and placing into the oven. 400 degrees for roughly 15-20 minutes. Do not burn. If the skin of the red pepper burns, simply peel it off. A little char on the outside is good though!

5. While the vegetables are roasting, chop garlic and shallots. Pour a few tablespoons of coconut oil into a pan over medium to high heat and fry the garlic and shallots until transparent. Do not burn. When the garlic and shallots are close to being finished, throw in a tablespoon of fresh rosemary without the stems.

6. Remove the garlic, shallots, and rosemary from heat. Take 1/4 of the amount you have and set it aside (I like to add a little whole pieces to my soup), put the other 3/4 into a blender or food processor.

7. When the vegetables are done roasting, take them out of the oven. Take 1/4 of the amount of cauliflower you have and set it aside with the garlic and shallots (to leave whole for the soup) and throw the other 3/4 into the same blender or food processor.

8. Put all your roasted red pepper into the blender or food processor with the other ingredients.

9. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth to the blender, and blend until smooth.

10. In a soup pot over medium heat, pour the blended ingredients from the blender into the pot, and add the garlic, shallots, and cauliflower that you put aside. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Add a stick of rosemary if necessary. If the soup is too thick, add either a little more vegetable broth or a little water (be careful not to water it down too much).  Serve!

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This sauce is great for a number of different dishes. I included it in my recipe for vegetarian burgers but it could also be used as a dipping sauce or a sauce for on top of roasted vegetables. You could even modify it a bit (or not) to make a pasta sauce. If you mixed it with mayonnaise you could even create a new sauce for potato salad. This recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Most of the preparation time is just waiting for the red peppers to roast. 

What You Need 
2 red peppers
4-5 cloves of garlic
5-6 red shallots
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil
Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp of flour

Directions:
1. Wash your peppers and cut into 4 large pieces (8 total)
2. Rub with coconut oil and salt and pepper

Red Peppers w/ Coconut Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper
Red Peppers w/ Coconut Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper

3. Roast until soft but not burnt. If the skin burns, just peel that part off. You can do this by using a roasting pan or wrap it up completely in tin foil and stick in in the oven with 400 degree temperature.
4. While the peppers are roasting, dice garlic and shallots. In a small pan, put garlic, shallots, coconut oil, and lightly saute. Slowly add a little bit of flour, pausing to stir frequently, so that you create a slightly thicker paste. Adding flour will make the sauce thicker and not runny.
5. When the peppers are finished roasting, put the peppers, garlic, onion, and vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth.
6. Pour mixture back into a pot over light heat to keep warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Lentil Burger

Being a vegetarian I’m always on the search for the next greatest vegetarian burger. Sometimes I’m successful, but most of the time I feel they fall short. They lack flavor, or texture, or are made with additional fillers that I don’t want such as corn. Store-bought vegetarian burgers usually contain a lot of preservatives or are made out of hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

You can be sure your vegetarian burgers are a success by following this simple recipe. There are 4 separate components to complete this dish, but you can choose to just make the burgers if you have other plans for them! (although you will be missing out on delicious sauces!)

For this dish I made a Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Lentil Burger. I topped it with a Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce, followed by Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles, and finally finished it with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

You can eat this burger with or without a bun, crumble it up to put on salads, make meatballs for a spaghetti or a sandwich, the possibilities are endless. Make a side of homemade sweet potato chips that would go perfectly with these burgers.
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What You Need – For the Burger (makes 10 small patties)
Half a head of cauliflower
Baby portabello mushrooms – between 8-10
Lentils – 2 cups of cooked lentils. You can choose to use dried lentils, soak them overnight, then cook them the next day, or you can buy a can of pre-cooked lentils that is additive and preservative free, and limited in sodium. You can even experiment with the type of lentils, I used a small brownish-black variety.
1/2 of a medium sized onion (I also added 4 small red shallots)
4 gloves of garlic
1 egg
Roughly 1 cup of flour (up to you on the type)
Fresh Rosemary – roughly 2 large tablespoons – make sure to remove the stems
Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
 Coconut Oil for roasting vegetables

Directions:
1. Wash cauliflower and mushrooms thoroughly. If you’re using a can of lentils make sure to rinse and drain well.
2. Take a half a head of cauliflower and lightly rub it with coconut oil, fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Roast the cauliflower until soft but not burnt. You can do this by using a roasting pan or wrap it up completely in tin foil and stick in in the oven with 400 degree temperature.
4. Follow the same (2-3) for the mushrooms
5. While your vegetables are roasting, put your rinsed lentils into a pan with a little water, salt, and pepper and cook it over medium heat for a few minutes. Drain completely when finished
6. Dice up garlic, onions, and shallots and gently saute them all together with fresh rosemary and coconut oil in a pan until soft but not burnt.
7. In a large bowl, mix together your drained lentils, garlic, onion, shallot, and rosemary mixture. Taste – add salt and pepper if necessary.
8. When your cauliflower and mushrooms are finished, take them out from roasting and dice them into small pieces. If you want more texture – make larger pieces. If you want less texture  – dice finely, or even puree in a blender. I like texture so I left mine in small chunks.
9. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms to the large bowl with your other ingredients. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together well. You can even use a fork or your hands to mush them together. You want the lentils to mash slightly.

All ingredients mixed together
All ingredients mixed together

10. Add 1 egg (whisk the egg in a separate bowl before adding) and mix thoroughly
11. Add flour – I add only a few tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly. You don’t need a lot of flour, roughly 1 cup total.
12. On a separate plate or sheet of tin foil, put a few tablespoons of flour down that you can use as you make the patties.
13. Your now ready to make your burgers. The way I made them was by using a flat pan on top of the stove with a little bit of coconut oil (not much because they will be too wet). But I would also recommend grilling them or even rolling them into balls and deep frying them to make fritters.
14. Scoop a small handful of your mixture into your hands and form a small patty. I use a little extra flour from the plate by taking a few pinches of it and rubbing it on the outside of the patty.
15. Put your burgers into the pan over medium-high heat. Cover the pan to trap heat inside. Flip the burgers after 1 minute. Continue to flip the burgers until you’ve reached the desire texture you are looking for.

Finished Burgers
Finished Burgers

Note: If your burgers don’t stay together perfectly, then add a little more flour to your mixture until they are very sticky.
___________________________________________________________________________

What You Need – For the Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions
1. Dice cucumber and fresh mint
2. In a bowl, whisk together cream cheese and yogurt until smooth.

3. Add cucumber and fresh mint. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce
Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce

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What You Need – For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 red peppers
4-5 cloves of garlic
5-6 red shallots
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil
Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp of flour

Directions:
1. Wash your peppers and cut into 4 large pieces (8 total)
2. Rub with coconut oil and salt and pepper (same as for cauliflower and mushrooms in the burger recipe)
3. Roast until soft but not burnt. If the skin burns, just peel that part off.
4. While the peppers are roasting, dice garlic and shallots. In a small pan, put garlic, shallots, coconut oil, and lightly saute. Slowly add a little bit of flour, pausing to stir frequently, so that you create a slightly thicker paste. Adding flour will make the sauce thicker and not runny. 
5. When the peppers are finished roasting, put the peppers, garlic, onion, and vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth.
6. Pour mixture back into a pot over light heat to keep warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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What You Need – For Zoodle Topping
1. 1 medium zucchini
2. 1 medium
carrot
3. Veggetti – a miracle tool for making zoodles
4. Coconut oil
5. Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. Wash your vegetables and skin your carrot only.
2. Use the Veggetti tool to make zucchini and carrot zoodles
3. In a pan, very quickly saute the zoodles with coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Do not overcook. They will get too mushy very quickly.

Zoodles are so much fun!
Zoodles are so much fun!

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Time to Build Your Burger!

  1. Place the roasted cauliflower and mushroom lentil burger on a plate.
  2. Cover it with a little cucumber mint cream cheese sauce.
  3. Place some cooked zoodles on top.
  4.  Drizzle with roasted red pepper sauce.
Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Lentil Burger
Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Lentil Burger with Zoodles and Two Sauces

 

 

 

Wild Betel Leaf

The wild betel leaf was given it’s name due to its similar appearance to the popular stimulant used all over South East Asia. Both are members of the Piperacae family which also includes black pepper. If you’ve traveled at all through SE Asia you may have come across people, typically those from the hill tribes, with red gums and teeth. This is due to chewing betel nut, which has been done for thousands of years in these parts of the world – (although not recommended).

Akha Hill Tribe Woman in Mae Salong Thailand
Akha Hill Tribe Woman in Mae Salong Thailand – with evidence of years of chewing betel nut. Many of her teeth have fallen out and her gums are red.
Hill Tribe Woman chewing betel nut
Akha Hill Tribe Woman chewing betel nut in Mae Salong, Thailand

The wild betel leaf is not a stimulant at all, but used in a lot of SE Asian cuisine. In Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam it is typically used as a wrap or in a salad, although in some places in Thailand you may also find it inside of a curry.

My favorite way to use the wild betel leaf is to wrap up Yum Takrai, or the fresh lemongrass salad, but you could totally be creative in its usage. It is a beautiful heart-shaped leaf, and is often used in food decorating as well.

Why eat this at all? The leaves are high in antioxidants, particularly naringenin, which is also the antioxidant found in grapefruits. Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress, brought on by too many free radicals (unstable, cell damaging molecules), which can lead to neurodegenerative disorders, cancers, atherosclerosis, and other heart and inflammatory conditions. Free radicals are part of the normal processes of your body, but can be intensified by toxic chemicals in foods, smoking, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on and on.

Foods we typically associate with antioxidants are dark fruits and berries, such as grapes, blueberries, and raspberries. However, dark leafy greens, nuts, and dark chocolate also contain high levels of antioxidants. Wild betel leaf, being a dark leafy green, falls into a category many people don’t usually associate with antioxidants.

Next time your backpacking around SE Asia and you see one of these heart-shaped leaves on your plate, don’t be afraid to try it!

Wild Betel Leaf
Wild Betel Leaf with Yum Takrai (lemongrass salad)

Lemongrass Crusted Tofu

This is the perfect “meat-free” dish for both non-meat and meat lovers alike! Tofu has an incredible ability to take on any flavor that you want. Yes, plain tofu out of a package is not very appetizing, that’s why you have to be creative and make unique dishes!

In Vietnamese cooking, lemongrass crusted tofu is a popular dish. Perfect for an appetizer or main course, it can be served on it’s own with just a dipping sauce, on salads, or even the famous Vietnamese sandwich, Bánh mì .

This dish has takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare.

What You Need:
1. One Package of Extra Firm Silken Tofu – Usually between 14-19 ounces. More if you are serving more than 1-2 people.
2.  Three-Four Lemongrass Stalks – the white part only! Enough for at least 1/2 cup minced
3. One Thai Chili (if you like spice!) – diced
4. One-Two Tbsp’s of finely diced Garlic (the amount depending on your garlic preference)
5. One tsp of sea salt (preferably Pink Himalayan)
6. One tsp sugar
7. One tsp fresh ground black pepper
8. Coconut oil (or a similar cooking oil) for frying
9. Coriander Leaves – for garnish

Directions:
1. Drain the tofu. Cut tofu into the size of your choice. If you want larger pieces like the photo above then you want about 1 inch by 2 inch pieces. If you want the pieces much more crispy, you could cut them in smaller pieces.

2. In a  separate bowl, mix the minced lemongrass, minced garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and chilies into a bowl.

3. Heat your fryer or get a deep dish pan with hot coconut oil for frying. Make sure the oil is hot!

4. Take your tofu chunks and role them into your spice mixture. Make sure to completely cover the tofu. You could even use a knife to make a cross into the side of the tofu and stuff the spices inside. If you run out of spices, just mince more!

Optional Alternative: Roll your tofu in an egg wash and add a little flour to your spice blend, then roll the tofu into it. This may make a better coating for frying, but it not the traditional Vietnamese style.

5. Place the tofu flat down into the oil until golden brown (or preference). Flip to the other side. Continue to flip until you’ve reached the texture of your choice. Make sure the oil is hot or you will loose most of your spice blend.

6. Remove and set on a paper towel to drain the oil off.

7. Serve with a coriander garnish.

+ Dipping sauces are optional but could include a soy sauce, a flavored cream sauce, or a peanut sauce.

Lemongrass Crusted Tofu
Lemongrass Crusted Tofu

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