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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel


Two mythical creatures, the dragon, with his auspicious power, and the benevolent phoenix join together to present a delicious pair of dishes in celebration of Chinese New Year. In China the new year is celebrated for two to three weeks, depending on traditions in different provinces. In the US the holiday is often celebrated for two weeks.

While the dragon is thought to bring prosperity and good luck, the phoenix represents five virtues: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity. Together they represent yin and yang, creating good balance in life.

Serve these tasty dishes with steamed short-grain brown rice

STIR-FRIED TOFU (Used in both recipes)

    1 pound (453g) firm or extra-firm tofu
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine the tofu, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated and the tofu is lightly browned. Remove the tofu to a bowl and set aside. No need to wash the skillet. The tofu will be divided between the Dragon and Phoenix dishes.

Auspicious Cauliflower Dragon


Serves 4

    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    3/4 cup (180 ml) water

    4 cups (1 liter) chopped cauliflower
    1 small purple onion, sliced
    12 baby corn, drained
    1/2 red bell pepper, thin julienne cut
    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 head baby bok choy, chopped
    2 teaspoons vegetarian fish sauce
    2 to 3 teaspoons soy sauce
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne

    Stir-Fried Tofu (above)

    1/2 cup (120 ml) roasted, unsalted peanuts

  1. Using the same tofu-cooking skillet, put the skillet over high heat and add the sesame oil and water. When hot, add the cauliflower, onion, baby corn, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables.
  2. Add the baby bok choy, fish sauce, soy sauce, and cayenne and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. Add half the browned tofu and stir another minute. Turn off the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, and extra cayenne. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the peanuts.

Benevolent Broccoli Phoenix


Serves 4

    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water

    1 medium crown broccoli, cut into small florets
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) long matchsticks
    12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
    1/2 cup (120 ml) sliced water chestnuts
    1 clove garlic, minced

    3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 to 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    1/2-inch (1 cm) ginger, peeled and grated
    Stir-Fried Tofu (above)

    1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Heat the oil and water in a large, deep skillet. Add the broccoli, onion, carrot, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and garlic and stir-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the tomato paste, hoisin sauce, ginger and the remaining browned tofu, mixing well. Turn the heat to high and cook another minute to warm through.
  3. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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