Tofu Tuesday: Fried Rice

Fried rice is a common dish in Asia, especially in China. It often contains eggs, meat, shrimps etc. but our version is vegan of course. It’s a quick and easy meal if you have some leftover rice in your fridge. I recommend planning ahead and cooking some extra rice so you can make fried rice next day. This version is mild flavored, add more spices if you prefer spicier. Or pour some hot sauce on top.


Tofu and Vegetable Fried Rice

4-5 dl cooked rice (turmeric for cooking water)
250 g tofu
1 big carrot
½ red bell pepper
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
0,5 tsp sesame oil
0,5 tsp ground cumin
0,5 tsp ginger powder
1,5 dl frozen peas
1,5-2 dl mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp lemon juice
chopped cilantro (optional)
soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and/or hot pepper sauce for serving

Peel the carrot, onion and garlic cloves. Dice tofu, carrot and bell pepper. Chop onion and garlic. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, cumin and ginger in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan, a wok is good. Fry tofu for a minute or two and add soy sauce mixture to the pan. Continue frying until tofu is nicely browned. Remove tofu from the pan. Add a little oil if needed. Sauté onion and carrot until the onion starts to get soft and add bell pepper and garlic. Continue sautéing until vegetables are done and stir in peas. Add rice and cook couple of minutes stirring often. Finally add tofu, bean sprouts and lemon juice. Season with salt if needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro.



Advent Calendar

Some years ago my sister made me an advent calendar, I think it was 2005 or 2007. The calendar is made of two green ribbons and there are 12 small bags on each. Each bag contained a recipe and a small surprise (stickers, candy etc.). Next year I filled the calendar and sent it bag to my sister and we’ve been sending it to each other every year since.


This year it was my turn to fill the calendar. I won’t tell you what I filled it with, because she’ll probably read this post. But I think it’s safe to tell that on 5th day she got dried chili (grown by us) and a recipe for a soup.


Sunny Sweet Potato Soup

1 onion (or piece of leek)
2-3 garlic cloves
1-2 mild chili peppers
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp thyme
200 g passata
1 l water
juice of 1 large orange and 1 tsp grated peel
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 sweet potato (400 g)
200 g frozen peas
salt and pepper

plain soy yogurt for serving (optional)

Chop or thinly slice the onion. Mince the garlic cloves and chili peppers. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the onion and thyme couple of minutes. Add garlic and chili and continue sautéing until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the passata, water, orange juice & peel, cinnamon and bay leaf. Bring to boil and add peeled and diced sweet potato. Simmer until the sweet potato is soft, add the peas in the end of simmering. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf. Serve with or without a spoonful of plain soy yogurt.

Peas, man

Everyone should love peas. Seriously. They’re healthy, they’re very cheap and very versatile. Here’s one take on pea patties from our old cookbook. You can optionally serve them also with brussel sprouts, like we did.

Pea patties with creamy onion sauce

4dl dried green peas
1l water
1 tsp liquid smoke
1,5dl dry breadcrumbs
1,5dl oat or soy milk
0,5dl wheat flour
2 tbsp oil
onion half, chopped and fried until golden
1 tbsp salt
oil for frying

one onion

Rinsed peas are coocked soft and crushed with the liquid smoke. Combine with breadcrumbs, milk, wheat flour, fried onion half and salt. Make patties and fry them in oil. The mentioned one whole onion is sliced and fried in the same oil, and can be placed on top of the patties for a decorative effect . The patties are served with boiled potatoes and the following sauce:

2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 onions
2 tbsp wheat flour
0,75 dl oat cream
2-4dl vegetable broth

Fry chopped onions in margarine until golden with the wheat flour. Add cream and enough broth to get desired thicknes and let simmer for a while. Add salt for taste.

Thursday Stir-Fry

I haven’t cooked much with tempeh, because it’s rather hard to find here in Finland. Last week I was visiting my sister in Helsinki and brought home two packaged of tempeh. One is in the freezer for later use and one was used for noodle stir-fry today with vegetables we had in fridge and freezer.

Tempeh and Noodle Stir-fry

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 habanero
400 g tempeh (1 package)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ginger powder
1-2 onions
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
piece of rutabaga
florets of 1 broccoli
1 bell pepper
2-3 handfuls snow peas (frozen)

100-150 g whole wheat noodles

soy sauce and/or hot sauce for serving (optional)

You can first boil your tempeh 10-20 minutes to remove bitterness. Cube the tempeh and mince the habanero. Slice the onion and garlic. Cut carrots, rutabaga and bell pepper into sticks.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok and fry cumin, paprika and habanero about 30 seconds. Add tempeh and stir to cover with spicy oil. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir again. Fry, stirring often, until tempeh is nicely browned. Remove from the wok.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in the wok and fry ginger and mustard seeds about a minute. Add onion and garlic. Fry couple of minutes, add carrot and rutabaga, then bell pepper and broccoli. Boil the noodles 2-3 minutes or according the instructions on the package while you stir-fry the veggies. When the vegetables are almost done, add snow peas. When they’ve thawed, add noodles and tempeh.

Pea Soup Thursday

This is it. One of the oldest “Finnish” soups to survive to modern day. Originating from the middle-ages, this very filling soup was consumed traditionally on Thursdays, as catholic tradition dictated Friday as a day of fasting. The pea soup followed Sweden (and in turn, most inhabited parts of Finland) into Thirty Years’ War of 1618–1648 and those recruited soldiers from areas not yet familiar with the dish were introduced to its deliciousness. It takes some time to prepare, but it is so filling it’s definitely worth the wait! The usual dessert after pea soup is pancake or crepes. We’ll write more about that tomorrow.

By no means is this an original recipe from the 12th century, but a bit modernised one.

Pea Soup

250 g dried peas
water for soaking

1,3 l water
1 tsp marjoram
scant 1 tsp whole pepper corns

optional ingredients: onion, carrot, seitan, textured soy protein

mustard for serving

Soak the peas in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse. Bring 1,3 l water to boil and add the peas. Slowly boil (1-)2 hours. Add carrots, onion or other optional ingredients when the peas have been boiling half an hour. Also add pepper corns and marjoram. When the soup is almost ready, season with salt. You should never add salt in the beginning of boiling any legumes, because the salt makes the cooking time longer. Serve with mustard (and chopped onion).

A Filling Salad

Nomad was supposed to have band rehearsal today and I planned to make macaroni salad for dinner so I could eat it earlier and he could eat when he comes home. But one of his band members was sick and the rehearsal was cancelled. I made the macaroni salad anyway.

Macaroni Salad

350g rye macaroni (or regular macaroni)
1 tbsp olive oil
200g frozen peas
4-5 dl mung bean sprouts
1 big bell pepper
2 small onions
6 sun dried tomatoes
2 pickles
fresh basil leaves for garnishing (optional)

5 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
scant 1 tsp basil

Cook the macaroni according the instructions on the package. Rinse, put in a bowl with frozen peas and 1 tbsp oil. Cut the onions in thin half moons, cube the bell pepper and pickles and cut sun dried tomatoes in strips. When macaroni is cooled and peas are thawed, add rest of the salad ingredients. Mix the dressing ingredients together, pour on the salad and mix. Let sit in fridge at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

It Must Be Italian Because Of Macaroni

In Finland we have this Russian style salad that is called Italian salad. It’s like Salade Olivier but with macaroni. I imagine that someone had eaten it in Russia and thought that delicious salad should be introduced to Finns too. But because Finns thought that Russia=bad, (s)he disguised it by adding macaroni and called it Italian. So everybody happily ate the salad and had no idea that it was actually a Russian dish.

Italian salad and Salade Olivier often contain meat, but my mother has always made ovo-vegetarian version with home made mayo. It turns vegan by using egg free mayo (home made or store bought).

Italian Salad

1 can of canned peas
4 boiled carrots
2 dl boiled potato cubes
2 pickles
2 apples
2 dl macaroni or other small pasta

2-3 dl mayo
0,5 tsp mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
white pepper

Cook the macaroni according to instructions on the package. Drain the peas and cube everything else. Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients together in another bowl and toss with the salad.