It’s no secret that nourishing our bodies with nutritious food is an important aspect of living a balanced lifestyle. One neat way to have fun with this is by integrating dishes from around the world into our usual culinary routine: mixing things up in the kitchen can easily translate into lively dinner parties, or sparkling nights alone.
While I don’t consider myself vegetarian, I love eating vegetarian and vegan meals – in addition to being delectable, they leave me feeling good, inside and out. One of the best restaurants I’ve been to (vegetarian, or otherwise) is Anchan Vegetarian. Anchan stands behind organic ingredients, and supports local, sustainable produce. Their commitment to high quality, ethical food that is both healthy and delicious is inspiring, as well as admirable within the oft-corrupt food industry.
A favorite of foreigners and locals alike, Anchan was kind enough to share with us two fantastic recipes for us to try out at home. Recreating these tasty, nutritious dishes is a perfect way to bring mouth-watering, Thai vegetarian food into our everyday dining experience — sating our stomachs and hearts alike!
1. Yum Thai Salad Dressing
Anchan explains that this dressing “can be used with nearly all vegetables. We use it for banana flower deep-fried, tofu, tempura coconut palm heart, winged beans, mango, long beans, and more.”
Ingredients for dressing for 4 people
- 1/2 coffee cup of sliced tomatoes
- 1 coffee cup Chinese celery, finely sliced. (If no Chinese celery is available then use regular, but double the amount.)
- 1/2 coffee cup grated carrots
- 1/2 coffee cup grated red cabbage
- 1/2 coffee cup of sliced red onion
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- chilies to taste, but beware of the fire!
- lime juice
- organic sugar syrup
- light soy sauce
- herbs to liking, such as mint, coriander, cilantro, peanuts… Use the opportunity to experiment with your favorite!
Balance out sweet and sour by adding sugar syrup and lime juice together, in equal quantities. No fixed quantities are given, as this is totally up to you! The point is to experiment and play around with what you like. Another helpful tip: replacing the organic sugar syrup with organic coconut palm sugar makes it extra delicious!
When you find it is balanced, add the soy sauce. Balance out the sweet and sour again, if necessary. Once you’ve reached a taste to your liking, add the other ingredients, stirring strongly.
Pour this mixture on top of your tempura main ingredient, such as banana flower, or mix in the raw main ingredient, such as winged bean.
2. Mixed Herb and Flower Salad, with Ayurvedic Dressing
This is a very simple salad, one that “must be made with fresh herbal leaves and flower petals you can find in your garden, or on the local organic market. We use tea roses, butterfly pea flowers, and Sesbania grandiflora flowers, to name a few.”
After washing everything individually, mix together all the ingredients well. Be careful when rinsing the flowers, since they are quite delicate. Tip: using a spray bottle and dabbing with a kitchen cloth will often solve this issue!
- lime juice
- olive oil
- sesame oil
- Ayurvedic spice mixture containing equal parts of fenugreek, coriander seed, fennel seed, nigella seeds, and mustard seeds.
- Himalayan rock salt or light soy sauce
Mix well in a blender on high speed for a few seconds to emulsify the oils. Be careful with the sesame oil, as it has a very overpowering taste — use it very sparingly. For those of us interested in exploring Ayurvedic foods further, Anchan highly recommends the work of Dr. Vinod Verma.
A warm thank you to Khun Aye, the talented chef of Anchan Vegetarian, for giving us the inside scoop on how to make these tasty, nutritious vegetarian recipes at home.
Delving into an array of cultural cuisines can make cooking an exciting — and delicious! — journey. Equally fun is trying out fusion dishes that integrate tastes and cooking styles from different places. Giving new recipes like these a go at home is a simple way to spice up our dinner parties, lunch dates with a partner, or solo adventures in the kitchen. Staying creative while cooking nutritious food helps us better connect with the joy of eating, all the while demonstrating positive self-care to ourselves — and lucky loved ones.