Meals minus meat
or, What we eat at our house

     This is an eclectic collection of the kinds of foods we make (when we get around to cooking) and like a lot. Some are Chinese, i.e. very locally-inspired; others are from various other Asian cultures, like Japanese and Thai; some go back to my mother's 50s-style of American convenience cooking interlaced with Minnesota immigrant Swedish influence; many reflect more recent involvement in various exotic cooking styles, such as Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/North African, Indian, and Georgian (the republic, not the US state.) I eat no meat, but I do eat fish, so some recipes reflect this. Many of the dishes are suitable for non-fish-eating vegetarians, some are OK for vegans.

    Get ingredients for Western cooking at Wellman's, the nearby
Wellcome Supermarket
, Jason's Market Place in the Taipei 101 Building,
Breeze Supermarket at Breeze Center, or try here in Chungho.

Z Wellman's on 472 Chung Shan North Road Section 6, Shilin, Taipei, 111
+886 (0)2 2871-8446; 2871-4454

    Ingredients for Indian cooking are available in Taipei at the Trinity Indian Store at:
137, 2nd floor, Chung Hsiao East Road, Section 5, Taipei, Taiwan. It's just a two-minute walk from the
Taipei City Hall MRT Station, Exit #4. TEL: + 886 2 2756-7992, FAX : + 886 2 2756-8042.

     Here are links to addresses of some of the Indian restaurants in Taipei:

     This page is constantly growing, so check back now and then for new additions.

Soups, stews, and bean dishes
Curries and Indian food
Bakery: Yeast breads, quick breads, cakes

Soups, stews, and bean dishes

Link: Recipezaar: 1,070 recipes using chickpeas

Gingered Red Lentil Soup
with Sweet Potatoes

(OK for vegans)
(From: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans and Grains, p. 83)

2 T olive oil
1 large onion diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 T finely chopped fresh, peeled ginger
2-1/2 cups red (or brown, or mixed) lentils, rinsed
8 C water
2 large carrots, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 C sherry (or Shaoxing п), optional
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and white pepper

     In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion,
garlic, and ginger, and sauté until the onion is transparent, about 4
minutes. Add the lentils, water, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Bring to
a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the
lentils are very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Let cool slightly. Then
process in a blender until smooth. (I prefer leaving some of the soup
unprocessed so it doesn't end up like baby food.) Return to the pot
and add the sherry, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer
over very low heat for about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Can be garnished
with fresh coriander or parsley.

Another version, without sweet potatoes

Syrian Lentils in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
(from: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans and Grains, p. 222)
(OK for vegans)

1 cup French green or brown lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can peeled tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1 T ground cumin, or more to taste
3/4 t ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 t hot red pepper flakes, optional
salt and freshly ground pepper
hot cooked rice or couscous (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan or other covered pot, combine the
lentils and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat
and simmer until the lentils are tender but still retain their
shape, about 30 minutes. Set aside but do not drain.

2. In a wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion
and garlic and sauté
until the onions are golden, about 10
minutes. Add the lentils and cooking liquid. Run a knife
through the can of tomatoes to chop, and add, without
draining, to the lentils, along with the tomato paste. Add
the cumin, allspice, coriander, and red pepper flakes if
desired, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper
generously. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Serve over rice or couscous, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Spicy Chickpeas and Spinach

(Note by original poster:) This is a very slight adaptation of a recipe
from Kumud Shah's Quick After-Work Indian Vegetarian Cookbook -
I've reduced the amount of oil, among other things. Also, I don't like
asafoetida, so I've left it as optional. It's nice without. Measure out
all the spices before you begin.

Serves 4

1/2 medium onion
2 large fresh tomatoes, or 3 tbsp tinned tomatoes
1 x 400g (14oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tsp sunflower oil, or other flavourless vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional)
6 tbsp (100g, 4oz) frozen spinach, defrosted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tbsp dhana jheera
(Dhana Jheera: Makes about 1 tbsp;
Ingredients: 2 tsp ground coriander seed, or
1 tbsp whole coriander seed; 1/2 tsp ground cumin,
or 1 tsp whole cumin seed;
If using the whole spices, roast them over a
low heat in a dry frying pan (ie, no oil) until
they start to smell nice. Remove from the heat
and grind together. If using ready-ground spices,
just mix them together.)

1 tsp amchoor (amchur; dried, powdered mango) - optional
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind sauce or lime juice
175ml (6fl oz) water

1. Peel and chop the onion. Peel the tomatoes if you wish,
then chop them finely (I don't think it's worth peeling them -
the pieces of skin should be very tiny in the finished dish).
Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin and asafoetida
(if using). Stir, then add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the
onion is browned - if it begins to stick, add a small amount
of water and unstick it.

3. Add the spinach and tomato, and stir for 3 minutes.

4. Add the salt, chilli powder, dhana jheera, amchoor (if using),
sugar and tamarind sauce or lime juice. Stir in the chickpeas
and water, then cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes more.

5. When water is gone, and the thick green sauce sticks to
the chickpeas, the dish is ready.

Aubergine and Chickpea Soup
(Azokod Abour; Armenian-Turkish)
(From: Classic Vegetable Cookery p. 14)
(OK for vegans)

3 T oil
2 garlic cloves; crushed
1 lb. eggplant (aubergine), cut into 1/2 inch-cubes
2 oz chickpeas; soaked & cooked (I use canned)
2 oz. whole lentils, washed
3 pt water or vegetable stock
4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and and chopped (canned are OK)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1-1/2 t salt
2 t dried mint

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and the garlic and fry for 1 minute.
Add the eggplant cubes and fry, turning frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add
the drained chickpeas and lentils to the pan with the water or stock and
bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for
20 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice and simmer for a further 45 minutes or
until the lentils and chickpeas are really tender. If necessary, add a
little more water or stock to maintain about 2-1/2-3 pints liquid.

3. Stir in the salt and mint, simmer for a few more minutes and serve.

Tomato soup with Walnuts and Vermicelli
(Bostneulis Kharcho; Georgian)

(From: The Georgian Feast, p. 73)
(OK for vegans)

4 T (1/4 stick) butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t whole coriander seed
1 scant C shelled walnuts
1 quart/liter cold water
2 oz. vermicelli, broken into pieces (1 C)
1-1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a stockpot, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and sauté
the onions until golden.

2. With a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, salt,
pepper and coriander seed.

3. Finely grind walnuts. Stir into onions along with garlic
mixture, water and pasta. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

4. In a separate pan, cook tomatoes over low heat until softened.
Stir them into the soup and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add
parsley, cilantro and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and
simmer a few minutes longer before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If the tomatoes are not ripe enough, either add 1 teaspoon
tomato paste or substitute two 16-ounce cans tomatoes, drained.

Chile sin Carne

1 large onion, chopped into 1 cm cubes
1 T vegetable oil
7 or so stalks American celery, washed and chopped into 1 cm cubes
2 t thyme or other herbs to taste
1 small can or 1/2 large jar Chinese vegetarian spaghetti sauce (ʥJ), drained
 or about 1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 can kidney beans

2 cans tomatoes
dash vinegar
pinch sugar, if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in vegetable oil until starting to turn golden.
Add the celery and continue to sauté until soft. Add thyme,
vegetarian spaghetti sauce, kidney beans, canned tomatoes vinegar,
sugar if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 20-30 minutes.
Serve as a thick soup, with buttered rolls, bread or cornbread.

Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from Down-Home Wholesome, by Danella Carter.
Yield: 8 servings

1 lb. dried adzuki, red or red kidney beans (see note below)
1 T olive oil
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/3 C chopped fresh parsley
1 t each: chopped thyme, salt
2 T. sugar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t each: hot red pepper sauce, lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
1- 1/3 C cooked long-grain rice

1. Soak the beans in water to cover at least 8 hours; drain.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add the celery,
garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, until celery is cooked but
firm, about 3 minutes. Add beans, broth, bay leaf, parsley, thyme
and salt. Cook, uncovered, until beans begin to soften, about
1 hour, adding a little more water if beans begin to dry out and
stick to the pan.

3. Stir in the sugar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper sauce,
lemon zest and black pepper to taste. Cook until beans are firm
yet tender, about 25 minutes. Serve over rice.



Roasted Carrots

Notes: Always buy carrots with the green tops attached
to ensure freshness. If available, use a variety of colors.
And if you prefer, use chopped fresh dill instead of parsley.
From Maryann Carpenter of Coastal Organics.

24 young (about 6-inch long) carrots
6 T olive oil
freshly ground pepper
2 T chopped parsley

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and trim the carrots.
Peeling is optional. If the carrots are baby size, leave them
whole. Cut larger carrots into chunks or thick slices (carrots
shrink while cooking).

2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the carrots with the olive oil.
Arrange the carrots in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and

3. Roast uncovered until tender when pierced with a knife,
about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces), shaking
the pan occasionally to turn the carrots.

4. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 6 to 8



Grilled Baby New Potato Salad
Recipe of the week (May 13, 2005)
Los Angeles Times
Adapted from The Swedish Table, by Helene Henderson,
University of Minnesota Press

2 quarts/liters salted water
2 lb. baby new potatoes (about 25 to 30) assorted
varieties and colors such as Peruvian blue or Red Bliss
1 lb. thin French green beans, stem ends cut off
Olive oil spray
1 clove minced garlic
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 T chopped fresh mint
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper

1. In a large saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil.
Add the potatoes and cook until just soft, about 3 to 5
minutes, or longer depending on the size of the potatoes.
Drain into a colander and let dry on paper towels.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, bring a small pot of water
to a boil. Cook the green beans until just done but still crisp,
about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water
to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry. Set aside on a small plate.

3. Light an outdoor grill or use a stove top grill pan. Cut the
cooked potatoes in half or, if they are tiny, leave whole. Spray
the cut side with olive oil. Grill, cut side down, until grill marks

4. While the potatoes are grilling, mix the garlic, mustard, vinegar,
parsley and mint in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
When the potatoes are grilled and still hot, toss them in the olive
oil mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green
beans. Serve at room temperature.



1 or more ripe avocados, peeled, seeded
1 tsp ground cumin
1 ripe, medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup minced sweet white onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (Chinese parsley, coriander) leaves
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
Hot pepper sauce or chili paste to taste
Salt, white pepper to taste

Cut avocado into large chunks and mash coarsely in large bowl
with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently – leaving
some small chunks is fine. Taste and adjust seasoning with more
chili paste, salt and pepper if desired. Serve over corn tortillas,
or as dip.


("Mix-mix"; indonesian salad with peanut dressing)

potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into about 2" slices, about 1/4" thick
bean sprouts, briefly blanched
sliced pickling cucumber
green beans, blanched
other veggies, such as cabbage, carrots and cauliflower, as you like -
  blanch and cut into smallish, fairly uniform pieces
fried bean curd cubes
hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into half-wedges
Optional: Fried/baked tempe
Optional: Lontong (log shaped-rice cakes), cut 1 cm thick

The amounts of the above will depend on how much of each you use,
and how big a salad you're making. Arrange the above ingredients
attractively on a serving plate or platter, starting from the potatoes at the
bottom, and finishing off with the sliced hard boiled eggs and tomato

Peanut dressing:
peanut butter (natural is preferred)
chopped garlic
1 cup coconut milk (canned, or made from powdered coconut milk)
soy sauce
fish sauce (terasi, or dried shrimp paste is more authentic, but I find
   it a bit too salty and powerful for my tastes, and fish sauce serves
   the same purpose but is a bit easier to control)
palm sugar or brown sugar
chili paste, if desired
hot water as needed to thin it a bit

The amounts of the above will mostly depend on your own preference, and
how much dressing you want to make - you'll know how to gauge them
after making it once! Mix the ingredients thoroughly by hand or in a blender
and heat briefly in a saucepan till bubbly. Add more water if it gets too thick.
Taste the sauce to adjust the sweetness, saltiness, amount of coconut milk,
and other flavors. Drizzle the warm peanut dressing over the top shortly
before serving. Mix well before eating.

Optional garnishes:
fried shallot
shrimp crackers
cut fresh cilantro

Reference URL:

Curries and Indian food

Saag Paneer (Indian Cheese with Spinach)
(From: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, p. 570-1)

1-3/4 lb. fresh spinach, trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
2 T dried fenugreek leaves (dried methi) or 2 or 3 handfuls of fresh
  fenugreek leaves (fresh methi), optional
1 fresh hot chile, coarsely chopped, optional
2 t cornmeal
3 T vegetable oil
1/4 C finely chopped onion
1-1/2 x 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peel and finely grated to a pulp
1 C finely chopped tomatoes
1-1/4 t salt
1-1/2 to 2 t ground roasted cumin seeds
1/4 t cayenne, optional
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1 small patty Indian cheese (paneer), available at
  specialty and larger supermarkets, or make your own

1. Bring 1 C of water to boil in a large pan. Put in the washed spinach,
dried or fresh fenugreek leaves, if using, and green chile, if using. Cover
the pan and cook gently for 25 minutes. Now mash the spinach with a
wooden masher or potato masher until you have a coarse puree. (You
can blend the spinach in a blender, but that texture is too fine for my
taste.) Blend in the cornmeal and cook gently for another 5 minutes,
stirring now and then.

2. In a separate frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot,
add the onion and stir-fry until it begins to brown. Add the ginger and stir
once or twice, then add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for
10 minutes, or until the texture thickens and the color of the tomatoes
intensifies. Stir the tomato mixture into the spinach mixture, then add the salt,
roasted cumin, cayenne if using, and cinnamon and stir to mix. Cook gently
for 5 minutes. Finally, add the cubed paneer, stir gently, and cook, covered,
on low heat for 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Bakery: Yeast breads, quick breads, cakes

We have a bread machine at home we really like!
So the yeast breads are in most cases bread machine
recipes, though they can also be made by hand.

Anadama Bread
(From: The Bread Machine Book, p. 34)

This is a somewhat sweet bread from New England
made with cornmeal, molasses, and whole wheat flour.
(OK for vegans)

Makes one 1-1/2 lb. loaf

1-1/2 c water
1-1/2 T vegetable oil

4-1/2 T molasses, unsulphured
(measure with same spoon after measuring oil;
the molasses will slip right out of the spoon)
1-1/3 c yellow cornmeal
1-1/3 c whole wheat flour

1-1/3 c bread (high gluten) flour
1-1/2 t salt
2-1/4 t active dry yeast

Add all ingredients in the order suggested by your bread machine
manual and process on the basic bread cycle according to the
manufacturer's directions. Let the loaf cool before slicing.

Cornmeal Bread
Ultra-simple, hearty, and quite good.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted - I use fruity olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 2/3 cups flour
1 package yeast

Add all ingredients to the bread maker pan in the order listed
or as directed in your bread maker instructions.

Set bread maker to the regular setting and start.

Almond and apricot biscotti

Dietitian's tip: This twice-baked cookie is a classic with
coffee or tea. The whole-wheat and nuts are good
sources of manganese (a mineral that helps bone
formation) and selenium (an antioxidant important
for thyroid hormone function).

Makes 24 cookies

3/4 cup whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour
3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons dark honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar
and baking powder. Whisk to blend. Add the eggs,
milk, canola oil, honey and almond extract. Stir
with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins
to come together. Add the chopped apricots and
almonds. With floured hands, mix until the dough
is well blended.

Place the dough on a long sheet of plastic wrap and
shape by hand into a flattened log 12 inches long,
3 inches wide and about 1 inch high. Lift the plastic
wrap to invert the dough onto a nonstick baking
sheet. Bake until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer to another baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.
Leave the oven set at 350 F.

Place the cooled log on a cutting board. With a
serrated knife, cut crosswise on the diagonal into
24 slices 1/2-inch wide. Arrange the slices, cut
side down, on the baking sheet. Return to the
oven and bake until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Fresh Ginger Cake
(From: Hollyhock Cooks: Food to nourish body, mind and soul, p. 164)

1/2 C (1 stick) soft butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 C unsulphured molasses
1/2 C finely grated fresh ginger
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 C milk
1 T vinegar
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C low-gluten flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10" cake pan.

2. In a large bowl, use a fork to cream together the butter and
sugar. Whisk in the egg, molasses and vanilla extract.

3. In a small bowl, combine the milk with the vinegar (Chinese white
rice vinegar is fine.) Add this to the wet mixture.

4. In a third bowl, the the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly stir the
dry mixture into the wet with a wooden spoon just until they are
completely combined. Pour the batter into the lightly oiled pan and
bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the center clean.
Allow it to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm plain, or topped
with whipped cream or apple sauce.

Ginger-Pumpkin Loaf
(From: Loaves of fun: The Quick-Bread Cook Book, p. 56)

Mix together:

2-1/2 C flour
1/2 C wheat germ
2 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg

Beat together:
1/3 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 C pur
éed or canned pumpkin

Fold in:
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Combine mixtures until just moistened and pour into
2 oiled 8" x 4" loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit
for 45 minutes.

Carrot-Coconut Bread
(From: Sunset Cook Book of Breads, p. 80)

3 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 t vanilla
2 C finely shredded carrots
2 C desiccated coconut (better than flaked sweet coconut for this recipe)
1 C raisins
1 C chopped walnuts
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 C sugar (I use about 2/3 to 3/4 C to reduce sweetness)

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light. Stir in the vegetable oil
and vanilla; add carrots, coconut, raisins, and nuts, and mix well
until blended. Spoon into a 9" x 5" loaf pan that has been well oiled
and dusted with flour. Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees
Fahrenheit) for about 1 hour, or until it tests done. Remove from
pan and cool thoroughly. Its flavor and texture improve if wrapped
and refrigerated for several days. Makes 1 loaf.


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