I love vegetables.
I am probably made of 73% vegetables. The rest is made from tomatoes, houmous, dates, peanut butter and porridge. And Green&Black’s dark chocolate.
But there are some vegetables that I have unreasonable intolerant feelings toward. Namely mushrooms. Or that was the case.
On my way back from Reading festival, I felt it coming. Like the vegan Hulk in one of Dexter’s Laboratory episodes (it’s called Hunger Strikes in case you want to watch it), I started feeling like I was going a bit mad, as I had spent a few days without eating many vegetables.
I started daydreaming about Japanese curry while on the train.
After I got home and had an amazing shower (aren’t post-showerless festivals showers the best?!) I went out and bought 2 big bags of vegetables, nothing else.
I was craving them so much that I even bought button mushrooms for the first time in my life. How adventurous. I was determined to restore my faith in the apparent palatableness of these gummy entities.
Mushrooms are an important source of vitamins and minerals. So what’s all this hostility about?
My mate C inspires me to be more open-minded with everything, including vegetables, as she always adds them to pizza, for example.
So her good influence me made me open my mind and try to make something good.
And what’s better than start off by coating them in delicious Japanese curry? That just makes anything taste delicious.
What I don’t usually like about mushrooms is the texture and sometimes the flavour.
They are a common vegetarian option protagonists, but they are usually in big chunks or whole, watery and like soily rubber bands. No thanks.
Whenever I ate them in China however, I always liked them. So I thought it was because of how and what they were cooked with. The key? Finely chop them.
Vegetable Japanese Curry
To make it, the instructions written in my past post about my Oriental feast are applicable, this time I just added fresh vegetables and parboiled sweet potatoes and added them to the mix, with no rice.
It was just what I needed…
A couple of days later, I made Korean udon noodles with vegetables, including mushrooms of course, and tofu.
Udon Noodles with Vegetables
I followed Well Vegan‘s recipe. The only thing I changed was that I used 2tbsp of mushroom soy sauce instead of miso, so mine was extra mushroomy.
I sliced the mushrooms quite finely and…I liked it! A rubber-less soup. :)
It is very easy to double the quantities to make additional portions, I made so much soup!! It was tasty, filling and vegan.
Udon noodles are the really thick ones, you can get them from Korean, Chinese, Japanese or multi-national Asian shops. H said she saw some in a medium-sized Sainsbury’s last week, vacuum packed like these ones, in the Eastern food section.
I buy fresh tofu from Rice and Wine in Soho, a block like this is only about £1.55.
M (who really knows her tofu) said that the fresh, Made in London organic tofu from Clean Bean is delicious.
This soup is fulllll of vegetables. Perfect to use seasonal Summer produce.
Just chop and add to the stock :)
Look at my carrot sharpener!! :D
I also bought some vegan sushi, this one was with pickles
My flatmates tasted it too and liked it. :)
I added some chilli sauce to make it spicy and C suggested it could also be made using dried mushrooms, the ones you can rehydrate before adding them to a recipe, for those who actually really like a mushroom flavour.
It seems like Asian flavours really inspired me to get around my irrational mushroom intolerance as the 3rd recipe is Chinese-inspired.
You can also find black bean sauce in international Asian shops and probably in most big supermarkets too. (Annoyed-looking lady brand optional).
Mushrooms with Chinese black bean sauce (2-3 portions)
This was inspired by the recipe from the Vegetarian Society that I found just as I was thinking of what to make with the rest of my button mushrooms.
Of course, you can vary the quantity and type of vegetables as you like :) I made it like this:
-1 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 onion, chopped
-2 peppers, (any colour), chopped
-1 medium head of broccoli, chopped
-10 button mushrooms
-200g tofu, in cubes
-4 tbsp black bean sauce
-a handful of cashew nuts
-Rice to serve
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the tofu until golden on every side.
Add oil if necessary, add the nuts, the vegetables and fry until almost cooked (just a few minutes). Add the black bean sauce and mix everything.
Serve with rice.
Mushrooms are no longer my enemy.
There are so many types of mushrooms too, I will stop thinking “I don’t like them, I won’t try them”. I grew up in the woods in Italy and there was people regularly going mushroom-hunting. I just want to make up for what I missed out then and try all sorts of mushrooms, vegetables in general and enjoy what nature has to offer.
J also said they’re great on the BBQ, I imagine they’d be nice grilled too, as that would eliminate the spongy texture element that some don’t like. I found some inspiring recipes on yummly.
I think it’s good to find ways to eat other kinds of food, and trying new, different ways to use these ingredients would be useful even when making food for children, for example.
Additional tasty recipes recommended by M:
Shiitake Ramen (vegan with no egg added)
Are there any vegetables you particularly dislike?
Do you have any ways you try to eat vegetables/food that is healthy but you don’t love?