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Many people choose the Lenten season to reduce the amount of meat in their diet, some choose to avoid it for the full season. But this is a good habit that can be carried through the whole year. Incorporating a meatless day every week into your diet can only do your body more good than harm. It eases up your digestive system and gives your body a rest.
A meatless day does not necessarily mean substituting fish for meat, what it really translates to is using vegetable protein in place of animal or fish protein. Think of tofu, TVP (textured vegetable protein), peas and beans. These are all high-protein, low-fat, easily-digested and easy-to-prepare meatless options.
The tastiest of these three alternatives I admit are the peas and beans, which are naturally occurring and so naturally delicious. However Tofu and TVP can be equally delicious when flavoured with dried spices, fresh herbs and fired up with hot peppers!
PEA AND VEGETABLE CURRY
• 6 cloves garlic
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 one inch piece of ginger
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 tbs vegetable oil
• 1 tsp each, ground: cumin, coriander, saffron powder.
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2/3 cup tinned tomatoes, crushed
• 1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1 tin pigeon peas or 11/2 cups cooked fresh
• 1 cup bodi, cut into one inch pieces
• 1 cup cauliflower, in segments
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 potato, peeled and cubed
• 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Place garlic, ginger and onion into a blender, add water and blend to a smooth paste.
Heat oil in large sauté pan, add paste from blender, cook until light brown in colour.
Add dried spices and cook for a further two minutes.
Add tomatoes and hot pepper, stir well.
Add peas, and fresh vegetables, stir well to combine.
Cover and cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
If needed add just a small amount of water to prevent sticking.
Serve with a fresh salad and steamed rice.
Serves four to six
MUSHROOM AND BASIL VEGGIE BURGERS
• 2 cups soya mince (textured vegetable protein)
• 4 black Chinese mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
• 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 onion, minced
• 1/3 cup chopped chadon beni
• 1/3 cup chopped basil
• 1/3 cup chopped parsley
• 1/2 cup grated cheese
• Pepper and salt
• 1 cup bread crumbs
• 2 tbs olive oil
Soak the mince for about 30 minutes, rinse under plenty of running water, use a strainer here.
Squeeze mince well and place in a mixing bowl, mixture should be dry.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil.
If mixture seems a little wet then add some more crumbs, if too dry then add an egg yolk.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Form patties with your hands, pan fry in olive oil.
Makes six, three-inch burgers
CURRIED TOFU WITH GINGER AND GARLIC
• 1 lb firm tofu, cut into one inch chunks
• 1 tsp good quality curry powder
• 1 tbs fresh lime juice
• 1 tsp Sesame oil
• 1 onion, sliced
• 2 tomatoes, cubed
• 1 tbs chopped garlic
• 1 tbs grated ginger
• 1/2 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
• 2 tbs chopped cilantro or chadon beni
• 2 tbs vegetable oil
Dry tofu with a clean towel, toss with curry powder and lime juice.
Heat oil in a sauté pan add ginger, garlic, hot pepper and onion stir and fry until light brown in colour, adding a little water to prevent sticking, cook for about five minutes.
Add tomatoes and stir, add tofu and fry until brownish in colour on all sides.
Add sesame oil and a little water to prevent sticking, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cover and cook for about 10 minutes more.
Sprinkle on cilantro and serve with rice.
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