Monday, October 2, 2017

Homemade kare-pan (curry bread)!

This weekend saw me blitzing through content provided by TabiEats' YouTube channel, starting with their vending machine restaurant review, and eventually leading to their — and others' — curry bun recipes.

I love the curry buns one can find in the Toronto-area Chinese bakeries, but end up generally disappointed at the lack of vegetable matter (it's usually just minced onion) and skimpiness of the filling in the ones I've tried. They're delicious, but more bun than curry. So, seeing that recipes varied widely, I decided to make up a "small" batch (it's still an awful lot) of my Japanese-style curry, replacing the chunks of stewing beef with ground beef.

So my new quantities for the curry are:
  • ½ package of S&B Foods Golden Curry Sauce Mix Mild in the 240g size
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 finely chopped, small potato
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 227g mushrooms, sliced
  • frozen peas
  • ¼ seeded, finely chopped shepherd pepper

The dough recipe I based mine on is Closet Cooking's Kare Pan recipe, halving the amount of sugar called for (I don't care for the overly-sweet buns some Asian bakeries offer, and wanted to err on the side of caution), using vegan margarine in place of the butter, and adding both a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the dough to boost the protein content in a dairy- and egg-free fashion and two tablespoons of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties (I'm still trying to kick a cold I came down with over a week ago) and to give it the yellow colour I've come to associate with Asian bakeries' buns. I also am out of panko, so the breading step has been omitted entirely so far.

Yesterday saw me baking two buns. I liked them, but found them much dryer than I prefer. Today, I heated up my skillet, poured in some oil and fried another couple. The first of those is pictured above and — if anything — they're even more delicious than they look! The dough fries with a finely-bubbled texture and the filling is exactly the way I like my Japanese curry!

So, basically, I'm going to be making delicious Japanese-style Hot Pockets for the rest of my lunches this week.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Treating myself to brunch today

Yeah, this is absolutely not the most colourful breakfast I've ever eaten, but it was damn delicious. A quick trip to the local Chinese supermarket today to pick up some more duck eggs also yielded a rib eye steak. Thus, today's brunch was steak and eggs with toast and home fries. It was so immensely satisfying.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vegan for a week: Day 3

Featuring (tonight's dinner), vegan KFC original recipe chicken seitan!

As blogged about a season ago, this version uses seitan patties as per The Edgy Veg's chicken seitan patties, again using sesame oil in place of the tahini, and getting 8 patties to a batch. From there, I opted not to go with the pickle juice marinade, but instead used homemade egg replacement powder with about ¼ tsp of yellow mustard (as I didn't have any dry mustard for the KFC dredge) as the wet part of my dredge. I otherwise hewed very closely to the Original KFC dredge recipe, having only to replace the garlic salt with garlic powder.

I've been on — understandably — something of a vegan recipe video binge this week, and saw that some people who make seitan squeeze some of the excess liquid out before dredging. I did that with this patty and vastly prefer the result to the unpressed seitan patties I've used in the past.

For being three days into eating meat-free, I'm frankly surprised at how satisfying all of the food has been so far. It looks like I'll be enjoying tonight's dinner of KFC-style seitan with potato wedges.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vegan for a week!

We had roast beef at mom and dad's on the 16th, steak dinner on the 19th, and yet more roast beef for dinners starting on the 21st, skipping a day and finally ending the onslaught of beef dinners on the evening of the 23rd. I was ready to go meatless for a while. Right now, I'm officially eating vegan, but I might let up a bit later in the week and allow eggs and/or fish.

Kara opted to have President's Choice Meat Lasagna — her favourite — with her dad for dinners early this week, and I chose to make up a batch of Mary's Test Kitchen's Beefy Seitan so that I could use up the cheesesteak-style toppings (shallots/onions, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and Daiya I gathered last week — knowing how much beef we'd be eating — yet neglected to use.

The seitan really does benefit from a bit of extra browning in an oiled pan and I think I'll try doubling the amount of flavouring agents in it the next time I make it. The resultant mock meat is most reminiscent of beef, but lacks the assertive flavour, despite the fact that the "broth" component smelled beefy. Still, it makes for a delicious lunch which I've been eating on "buttered" toast with Chipotle Vegenaise. Definitely not for cheesesteak purists, but amazing in its own right.

For yesterday's dinner, I made up a batch of green coconut curry rice as per The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions recipe for Red Coconut Curry Rice, substituting short grain brown rice for the Jasmine rice called for in the recipe, sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter, and green curry paste in place of the red. I stir-fried sliced carrot, onion, mushrooms, and green beans to serve over the rice. This marked the second time I've made this rice recipe and it's safe to say I love it.

For dessert, I ate a couple of vegan, date-sweetened brownies. They're the result of a recipe I've been working on for a while and am just about ready to publish, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Homemade English muffins

I used Chef John's recipe, doubled, using a whole duck egg in place of two egg whites. These are intriguingly fluffy and hit the spot with an over-easy duck egg for brunch today.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Homemade common-allergen-free bibimbap!

Not gonna lie: having this many food allergies and sensitivities sucks. Since Kara was born, my body has lost the ability to process chicken eggs, soy, and bananas. Add that to all of the other things my body hates and the only common food allergen that I can still eat without consequence is wheat (which is good, 'cause my only meat-like substitute these days is seitan — and I'm trying to eat that sparingly, lest I develop a sensitivity.

But yeah, I missed the simple, quick and easy meals I had next-to-no-time to throw together when Kara was a baby, like egg sandwiches or — in my predominately Korean neighbourhood, with grocery stores to match — bibimbap.

So it was a revelation to discover, just before Christmas of last year (i.e., about 3 months ago) that people with chicken egg allergies can sometimes eat duck eggs without difficulty. That was around the time that I picked up a 6-pack from the local Chinese grocery and tried it in my baking, thinking that having trace amounts of a single egg across a batch of shared baked goods would be a good litmus test for sensitivity on my part. I'm happy to report that not only did it work out, but that I've since been able to branch out into making duck egg-intensive foods like tamago-yaki without ill effect.

When you factor in the fact that I've recently been mainlining episodes from Maangchi's YouTube cooking channel, it's not hard to see how I might've arrived at the conclusion that I ought to try my hand at making bibimbap. And so it was that I had a common-allergen-free bibimbap as my early lunch today. This one features short-grain brown rice, blanched spinach with chives, and "sweated" and stir-fried carrots, zucchini, cucumber, and red bell pepper. It was topped with an over-easy duck egg. Everything was seasoned with salt, sunflower seed oil, and garlic.

I began the vegetable prep work last night to minimize the amount of time that'd take today. It was fairly time-intensive, but I think the results were well worth it. I had an unbelievably delicious, nutritious, and quick-to-assemble meal option today and still have plenty of the vegetables left over for later in the week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


After having to avoid it at sushi joints for the past several years, I spent part of yesterday making a duck egg tamago-yaki for lunch! As in previous years' batches, I followed this recipe, making the two-egg version this time (which really is too small a quantity for my tamago pan). I'm out of practice, so I made the pan a mite too hot, which is why the rolled layers of mine look so loose this time, but now that this is a viable lunch option for me again, I'm hopeful that my technique will improve. It's just as yummy as ever, I'm happy to say.