When we first used to make stir fry or Chinese sweet & sour stir fry in Malawi, we would use specific vegetables (cabbage, french beans, carrots etc.) and make the sauce at home. We would have it either with plain rice or fried rice. Then when we came here we saw the supermarkets with pre made sauces like hoi sin, teriyaki, black bean etc. As always we had to be cautious as these tended to contain some form of fish oil or sauce. The other thing with all the ready made sauces is that they have added preservatives to give them the long shelf life. So after trying a few brands which where vegetarian, we created our own version by using shop bought sauces and our own home made mix. However I do try and make the sauces at home to taste, this way I know what I am putting into it and each time the taste is different. The list of ingredients started to change also. After marriage I started adding tofu, mushrooms, and savoy cabbage to my stir fries. By making my own sauce at home I sometimes get the correct balance of vegetables and sauces and sometimes I get it wrong, however that is all part of the fun of cooking.
Posts Tagged ‘Capsicum’
As we were growing up in Malawi, we rarely used to have the western fast foods, i.e. burgers, chips, onion rings etc. Then when we moved over here to England, we tried a few of these fast food places, but were always sceptical because we never really knew what the ingredients were and how it was made. Being a vegetarian, who does not even eat eggs, sometimes the fast food places that serve vegetarian burgers leave us wondering is it really vegetarian?? I have enjoyed the Burger King spicy bean burgers in the past, and have also tried various brands of frozen vegetarian burgers at home. Each one has their own unique way of presenting the vegetables and other ingredients, and hence each one gives a different taste. So I tried to recreate them at home, and came up with my own version instead which is filled with lots of vegetables and herbs, packed full of flavour. After many attempts at trying out different quantities of ingredients and many a broken patties, due to not binding very well, I finally perfected the recipe to what I thought was good. At least I know what I am putting in and can adjust the taste to what we would enjoy, this way the doubt at the back of my mind is not there. For this recipe I am posting I actually had to measure all the ingredients as I normally just put everything together 🙂 I guess the ultimate compliment was when one of our niece’s friend tried them recently and was really amazed to know that I had made them at home as opposed to the ready made ones that you just pre-heat. It is at times like this that you know you have done well…
I was first introduced to this dish after marriage when we would go to Indian restaurant/pubs with friends and family. My husband really likes this dish and can never get enough of it, so as per normal I tried to recreate the taste to what he likes. A little bit of trial and error, and tasting along the way and I have come up with this recipe and to be honest this is the first time that I have actually measured the ingredients so that I can write about it on this site. It is a great dish to serve at parties as a starter or a side dish to a main meal. It is a good show stopper as my friend put it, when I made it for her using cassava instead of paneer.
When my son was weaning, one of my sister-in-laws told me that parsnips are a good food to introduce him to because they are a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. My son loved them just boiled and mashed. Then just to introduce a bit of flavour and colour, I started adding red capsicums as they are sweet and slightly spicy, so the combination worked well, plus you do not need to add salt or pepper to the mash. Then one day my husband said why don’t you try and make this into a shaak (everyday Indian curry) just to see what it tastes like. It turned out to be an instant hit, the instance flavours of the vegetables and subtle spice mix makes it a good curry. Parsnips are now part of my regularly stocked vegetables like potatoes.