Vegetarian Night

2013-10-29 18.52.21So I totally pigged out on seafood on my birthday at a Chinese-Japanese-Seafood buffet restaurant, and made up for it with this vegetarian dinner the very next day. We’ve been enjoying these dishes since my cardiologist brother had our cholesterol checked. Then after failing that test we were given a year to bring our cholesterol levels down or we’d have to take medication. So we switched to canola oil, even though we stopped eating fried food, and began exploring Pakistan’s fresh fruits and vegetables. It worked, both my husband and I cut down our cholesterol levels by half. Now I’m happy to find these ingredients easily here in Spokane.

I have made several modifications to the chowder recipe, enough to rename it mushrooms and tofu chowder. I’ve added champignon and straw mushrooms, for one thing, but used only half a can of the straw mushrooms. The Asian store we shop at luckily has sliced dried shiitake mushrooms, which saves me the trouble. I also add the broth from canned corn to the chicken broth. It seems there’s not a noticeable difference whether I use canned or boxed chicken broth compared to chicken bouillon. I like this brand of tofu but use only half of it. The quantity for peas is ridiculous — only 2 tablespoons, so I often put half a cup or an entire cup. Back in Islamabad our cook spoiled me by shelling fresh peas for this recipe. But I used soybeans or edamame in these photos. Instead of rice vinegar I also simply use red or white wine; it gives me an excuse to pour some for myself while cooking. Instead of 5 minutes, I cook each batch of ingredients for 3 minutes.

As for the baby bokchoi recipe, corn starch works just as well as tapioca starch. Instead of cutting it in half lengthwise, I cut off the ends, because it makes cleaning easier. It’s like celery, the part at the bottom still has trapped dirt. I keep the minced ginger on the side, because my husband does not like it.

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