Vietnamese Vegetarian Recipes

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Bi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Recipe) Recipe

If you're looking for tasty Vietnamese vegetarian food, this bì chay recipe is just for you. This version respects the true Buddhist vegetarian diet, which states no onion, garlic or shallots allowed. The flavors of the dish are mainly from the toasted jasmine rice ground into a fine powder, blended with very thinly shredded fried potatoes, taro, tofu and jicama. Jicama is a sweet turnip that is used quite often in Vietnamese cuisine (as well as in Mexican food) and it mimics the texture of pork skin.

I served this tofu dish with rice noodles, aromatic Vietnamese green herbs and a soy sauce-based dipping sauce made with coconut. The result is a simple, refreshing dish that is packed with flavor. It just proves that with the right ingredients and cooking techniques, even food made for a restricted Buddhist vegetarian diet can be satisfying. Don't believe me? You'll have to try it to for yourself!


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Glass Noodles with Vegetable Stir Fry (Jap Chae) Recipe

This glass noodle dish (also known as cellophane noodles, dam myun in Korean and harusame in Japanese) is made from sweet potato starch. The dish is very similar to chow mein, but aesthetically the noodles look translucent once they're boiled and their texture is chewier.

I prepared the noodles with king mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, pan-fried tofu, baby spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. The dish is relatively easy and quick to make if you have all the veggies prepped in advance.


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Braised Tofu with Hoisin Sauce Recipe

Braised Tofu with Hoisin Sauce

01.27.10 by Jackie

Braising is one of the best cooking methods to increase the flavor of tofu. In this particular dish, I braised the tofu in a hoisin sauce-based mixture for its caramel color and subtle sweetness. To this, I added several vegetables such as wood ear mushrooms, button mushrooms, carrots and Japanese eggplants.

If you've been following my culinary adventures, you know I married a vegetarian. I'm not saying it as though it's a flaw, but I have to admit that when we first got married, I was a little nervous about what I was going to feed my sweetie. I really didn't have any familiarity with vegetarian cuisine. I love Lulu so much that I was determined to learn how to prepare flavorful vegetarian meals. Since then, I've tried boiling tofu, pan-searing it, grilling it, braising it and deep-frying it. I think I've gone through every possibility, but If you have any other methods you like for cooking tofu, please drop me a message. 

Braised Tofu in Hoisin Sauce Recipe with Picture


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Vietnamese Fried Bean Curd Soup (Hu Tieu Chay) Recipe

Lulu calls hủ tiếu chay (fried bean curd soup in Vietnamese) the ultimate Asian comfort food. The hearty broth is flavored with bold Asian ingredients, such as ginger, garlic and mushroom seasoning salt. There are a couple of uncommon elements; I used Fuji apples and rock sugar to add a touch of sweetness to the broth, and a Vietnamese variety of cured daikon radish (củ cải khô) that provides the signature flavor of hủ tiếu broth.

The real treat though, is the addition of fried tofu skin. It's used throughout vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine as a substitute for fried pork or chicken skin in mock meat dishes. The texture is crispy, yet chewy, and really shows off the versatility of tofu.

Bean Curd Noodle Soup


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Vietnamese Tofu Stuffed Betel Leaves  Recipe

Tàu hũ cuốn lá lốt (betel leaf wrapped tofu in Vietnamese) is very similar looking to Greek dolmades. Instead of using grape leaves though, betel leaves serve as the packaging and delivery device for pan-fried tofu and vegetables. Betel leaves have a peppery taste, and when cooked they have the appearance, but not the texture of nori. The tofu mixture is similar to the filling I use for my vegetarian egg rolls.

The traditional way to prepare this dish is with extra lean ground beef (see tips), called thịt bò nướng lá lốt. However, Aunt Elise, who is a vegetarian, is visiting from Vietnam and taught me how to make the meatless version of the dish. Either way, it's an exotic and authentic taste of Vietnam.


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