Borrow inspiration from across the planet to spice up meatless dishes

Palm Beach PostFebruary 25, 2014 

Those looking to go veggie with a global flair will love the newly “World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible,” a collection of more than 200 recipes.

Authors Chris and Carolyn Caldicott recorded recipes from busy street stalls to quiet village homes, dreaming of the day they’d open their own restaurant.

That chance came in 1991, when they opened the World Food Cafe in London. For 20 years, the airy space served as a reminder of what lay beyond England’s borders The Caldicotts closed the World Food Cafe in 2011, but their recipes live on in the “Vegetarian Bible.”

Part cookbook and part travelogue, the “Vegetarian Bible” is illustrated by photos from the couple’s travels around the globe.

After perusing recipes from Africa to Asia, I landed on this Balinese salad with crisp veggies, crunchy fried tempeh and sweet and spicy peanut sauce.

Balinese Gado Gado

From “World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible,” by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott, (Frances Lincoln, 2014).

FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE:

1 large red onion, coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves

3 fresh red chilies

6 ounces skinned peanuts

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

150 ml coconut milk, about 2/3 cup

1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 lemongrass stalks, cut down the middle and bashed with a rolling pin (I substituted a teaspoon of ginger, finely diced)

Salt

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

3 carrots, cut into matchstick strips

7 ounces bean sprouts

4 ounces fine green beans

4 ounces sugar snap peas

1/2 cucumber, cut into thickish matchstick strips

1 small head of Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced

To garnish:

4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges

4 tomatoes, cut into wedges

7 ounces tempeh, cut into strips and fried (if not available, use 1/2-inch slices of deep-fried tofu)

Large handful of spinach, shredded

1 large onion, dry-fried

Handful of coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped

MAKE peanut sauce: Blend onion, garlic and chilies in a food processor until they form a paste. Gently dry-roast peanuts in a pan, stirring to avoid burning. Allow to cool and crush them in a food processor until finely ground.

HEAT oil in a wok. When hot, add onion paste and fry, stirring constantly, for a minute. Add ground peanuts and stir until all ingredients are combined. Add soy sauce, tamarind, coconut milk, peanut butter, sugar and lemongrass. Gently cook until all the flavors are combined and a thickish sauce has formed (add a little water if necessary). Finally, take out the lemon grass and season with salt to taste.

MAKE salad: Combine carrots, bean sprouts, green beans, sugar snap peas, cucumber and Chinese cabbage. Pour warm peanut sauce over the salad, then arrange egg, tomato, tempeh or tofu around the edge and pile spinach and dry-fried onions in the center. Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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