The first, a vegan degustation at Embrasse, was a standout event. An evening of delightful company, well-honed hospitality and an elegant, though a tad minimal, meal where I could eat every last drop.*
As fate would have it, a small band of vegan-food loving bloggers had for months been trying to set a date to chop, cook and chat together; and four days after we’d shared a table at Embrasse we found ourselves in my kitchen.
Cindy and Michael have done a great job of documenting our Indonesian inspired vegan feast. As usual, I was too busy chatting and sipping mocktails to seriously document the day, not even photograph the rujak I made.
What I loved most was how five food bloggers wove in and out of preparing a meal together in a little kitchen. At any time, someone was chopping (usually Michael), sipping, stirring, frying or steaming. Until finally the feast was before us. Five bloggers, five hours, many dishes and wide ranging conversations. Oh yes, we all cook and we read, a winning combination.
Peanut rice chips
Chickpea cakes (mock crab cakes)
Tahu isi (stuffed tofu)
Steamed chilli tempeh
Cindy’s special dessert (sticky black rice coconut ice cream vegan of course).
Mock crab cakes: chickpea and potato, veganised with cornflour and water replacing the egg.
(This vegan version adapted from the Casa Luna cooking school – traditionally the sauce is made with shrimp paste)
2 large chillies (add a small hot one if you want more fire)
1 tab kecap manis
1-2 tab tamarind concentrate
palm sugar and sea salt (to taste)
In a mortar and pestle bash the chilli and combine with the other ingredients. Adjust the balance as necessary. The flavour should be savoury with a combination of sweet/sour/spicy/salty and umami.
Cut the fruit/vegetables of your choice into bite sized pieces. Make sure there’s some texture - crunchy/soft, as well as acidity in your selection. I used:
(Some traditional recipes include water apple).
Toss the sauce through the fruit, ideally using your hands.
See the photo of the rujak at Where’s the Beef.
Some notes from the day
The filling for the tofu and eggplant was stir-fried in coconut oil. Other than a silky mouth feel, the vegetables are delectably scented with coconut. It transforms even the most ordinary vegetables.
Tahu isi – the classic Balinese stuffed tofu, is traditionally double fried. We made this at the Warung Bambu Cooking School in Pemaron. While it’d be hard to skip the deep frying of the tofu cubes, the second dip once stuffed and covered in a light batter is a little over the top. Other than the egg issue (with our bona fide vegan in attendance), Lucy and I were keen to see how it’d work simply stuffed and steamed. A less calorific but equally as enjoyable variation. The sauce accompanying the stuffed tofu was just kecap manis and chopped chilli (and a little fried shallots as well if desired). A traditional satay sauce is an other option.
Who ever knew you could steam tempeh? Well Lisa obviously, and the chilli tempeh made a great spicy accompaniment.
My vegan food-loving cup has certainly runneth over this week. Though I'm a pescatarian with a penchant for eggs, unlike the dinner at Embrasse, the Indonesian feast left me satisfied. Well, stuffed actually.
But in a good way.
Do you ever get together for cook with friends or fellow food bloggers?
* Well almost, the incredibly bitter capsicum reduction to accompany the vegan chocolate mousse did me in. That’s one fruit I avoid at the best of times, though at least I tried it.