So, I’d like to think that I am a somewhat health conscious foodie. I tried with all my might to replace ingredients with the healthier alternative whenever possible.
For as long as I can remember, I am always in a quest to find the best butter replacement. And no, I would never use margarine. Read this and this to understand my reasons. My ill sentiment over margarine is as passionate as my distaste for mayonnaise (I just genuinely hate the texture and taste of manufactured mayonnaise – particularly Japanese Kewpie brand. I will, however, eat homemade mayonnaise and generally tolerate hollandaise sauce).
The other week I replaced butter with mashed banana in a wholegrain cookie baking recipe. The result was great, actually, it just didn’t resemble what the cookies were supposed to turn out at all. Haha :). If butter would have made the cookies chewy-yet-crumbly, the mashed banana made it sticky, like a dried fudge. Another time I replaced butter with applesauce on a (different) cookie recipe – not a very successful turn out in the end, so stay away from applesauce when baking unless the original recipe calls for it.
Today I declare Vegetarian Tuesday. In an attempt to eat more vegetable in my diet, I typically choose a day of the week to eat strictly vegetarian/vegan dish. Usually Monday is my vegetarian day, but it didn’t happen yesterday because I had some strong desire to eat chicken. So, Tuesday it is.
My friend Kelly and her baby Quinn The Qooster are coming for a sleepover. I told her yesterday that we were going to have heated up frozen dinner. Then I thought that this is the first time Kelly stay over since she was pregnant with The Qooster (literally about a year ago), I should at least try to make something fresh for their debut to stay over at the OrangePot HQ. Embracing the vegetarian theme and observing what are available in my fridge, we are having main dish that is Takenoko Gohan (Bamboo Shoot Rice) with some pickled accompaniment. Our dessert is Tofu+Banana+Chocolate Mousse.
Takenoko Gohan (Bamboo Shoot Rice)
Takenoko Gohan is a dish that Kelly’s mother-in-law does best. For a while now when I stay over at Kelly’s house, Okasan (who lives next door) always kindly makes it and drop them off for us to feast on because she knows we can never have enough of it. Over the Golden Week holiday, I had the opportunity to dig my very own bamboo shoot at a friend’s property in Mobara. There are so many things you can do with it, but I make it a mission to duplicate Morita Okasan’s Takenoko Gohan. Whenever I ask her for the recipe, she always says, “A little bit of soy sauce, a little bit of dashi, maybe a little bit of mirin or sake. Just put enough in it.” Ha ha… Classic. This is why it took me three tries playing with the condiments freestyle. Prime opportunity to get Kelly to approve taste-test it tonight.
2 cups (400ml) Japanese short grain rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sake (optional)
2 sticks konbu dashi granule (can be replaced with vegetable stock/chicken stock/fish stock)
200gboiled bamboo shoots*, sliced thinly into pieces 5mm thick, 3cm long and 1.5 cm wide( or however shape you want, but try to keep the 5mm thinness)
500 ml water (or look at the marker for 2.5 cups of rice in your rice cooker)
Garnish – Sansho/Kinome leaves (you can replace with parsley if you cannot obtain it)
Tools: rice cooker
Active prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour (or depending on your rice cooker setting)
- Wash the rice well and let drain
- Place washed rice in a rice cooker and add all the ingredients except for the garnish and cook according to your rice cooker’s instructions
- Garnish with chopped sansho leaves
- Goes well with sashimi or grilled fish or simple pickled vegetables (in case you want to do a Vegetarian Tuesday :))
Note: *If – like me – you dig your own bamboo shoots and have absolutely no idea how to cook it, please look here for directions/tips on how to boil them before using the bamboo shoot in recipes.
Tofu + Banana + Chocolate Mousse
So, I was just thinking that I don’t have anything decent in the fridge for us to have as dessert today. I thought about making some courgette/zucchini chocolate cake, but quite honestly ran out of time. And then I remembered a chocolaty tofu dish that my friend Janine brought over for dinner once. It was very simple and extremely quick to make. All you need is mix the ingredients up in a food processor, pour in cups and let the fridge do the work!
1 block (about 300 grams) kinu (silken) tofu
5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Van Houten Cocoa – Dutch processed)
1/4 cup raw sugar/brown sugar (about 60ml in a measuring cup)
3 Tbsp soymilk (of course you can use cow’s milk, but I don’t typically stock cow’s milk at home)
A dash of ground cinnamon
Optional: Garnish with sliced strawberries/ blueberries (or anything berry) and a dash of cream
Tools: food processor/blender, 6 dessert cups
Active Prep time: 5 minutes
Sitting time: 1 hour in the refrigerator . Can be made in advance and will last for 1 week in the refrigerator. Prepare the garnish right before serving.
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor (or a blender) and mix away until smooth
- Pour contents into 6 serving cups (careful not to do a clumsy job, because unless you wipe the drip it will stay that way)
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
- Serve ‘naked’ or with your garnish of choice. I typically use a berry family (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries) where the tartness cut through the richness of the mousse. Oranges go well with this, too. Bon Appétit!
Note: **I have made this recipe using avocado instead of banana, also delicious! In order to do it: replace 1 banana with 1 ripe avocado (peeled and stoned before putting in the food processor).