THERE have been very many days when the family and I have eaten grilled pork chops, pork caldereta, tenderloin with mushrooms and lechon paksiw.
All this talk about meat reminded me that there is more to food than meat. There is a place for vegetables on the table. After my Aunt Tita Blitte and I discussed our meaty meals lately, we conspired to prepare dishes that are plant-based.
My aunt showed me some of her recipes, collected in a notebook yellow with age. Some of the recipes in her collection were passed on to her by her mother.
All day this week, my aunt prepared meatless dishes to the delight of everyone in the family. They did not seem to miss the lack of beef, pork or chicken in what was on the table.
Maybe some of my fellow Khokies are struggling with the idea of feeding something green to the family without getting a shout of protest from the meat eaters. Vindication here, Khokies. Try the following meatless dishes. See how your family will agree that vegetables can be exciting to eat.
Curried Tofu. Have on hand two large potatoes (cubed and boiled), three medium carrots (cubed and parboiled), six blocks tofu, one cup cubed ripe tomatoes, one large red bell pepper (sliced into squares), one cup thick coconut milk, one cup thin coconut milk, five cloves garlic minced, one large onions diced, curry powder (to taste), salt and pepper to taste.
Saute onion, garlic and tomato until fragrant. Add the bell pepper and allow to cook. Add the thick coconut milk. Allow to boil, then add the tofu. Mix well, then add the remaining ingredients and the thin coconut milk. Season to taste, simmer then serve.
Mushrooms with Tofu. Have on hand four blocks tofu, one cup green peas, one cup cashew nuts, four cloves garlic, one medium diced onion, one medium diced green bell pepper, four large ripe tomatoes cubed, one cup tomato sauce, one cup dried shiitake mushroom (soaked and water squeezed out), one cup sliced button mushrooms, cayenne pepper (optional), salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the shiitake mushrooms (saved the stems for later use in soups) and set aside. Fry the tofu till golden brown and slice into cubes. Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper and tomatoes. Add the shiitake and button mushrooms and saute till wilted. Add the potatoes and carrots, and simmer. Add the tomato sauce and green peas. If using, add the cayenne pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Just before serving add the cashew nuts (you may break them up in large pieces).