Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jamaican Feast! Vegan Style

I recently made some homemade seitan (Recipe here) and had no idea what to do with. I decided that I would make some more recipes out of the book I have been reviewing.. (which I can now actually write about, stay tuned for that!) Vegan with a Vengeance. I decided to make Jerk Seitan. Jerk really is a Jamaican style of cooking with a spice run or marinade that normally is used on meat. Traditional jerk contains allspice, hot, hot peppers, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, pepper. These days, people put their own spin on the classic jerk and Vegan with a Vengeance does just that.

Jerk Seitan
From Vegan with a Vengeance

The marinade:
  • 1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, chopped or dried
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp of fresh nutmeg grated
For the seitan:
  • 1 lbs of seitan, sliced thick into strips
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced (I used red)
Prepare the marinade in a food processor or blender. Combine all the ingredients and process until it is smooth, although some chunkiness is fine. Put the seitan into a shallow bowl or dish and pour the marinade on top. Cover and let it sit for at least an hour.

Prep - don't forget!

Now, once the seitan is marinaded, heat a large pan on medium heat and add the oil. Next add the onion and the pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it is starting to brown. Add the seitan (reserve the marinade) cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. Then add the remaining marinade and heat it through.

With this I decided to make some coconut rice and although I have a good recipe, I decided to try Isa Chandra Moskowitz's version. The major difference in the two is that my recipe has raisins in it and hers has toasted coconut. Isa, you win. This was my first time eating toasted coconut and oh my, why did I wait this long?! Anyways, here is the recipe, cut in half because that was how I made it.

Coconut Rice
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 a can of coconut milk
  • cinnamon stick
  • pinch of salt
  • lime zest of one lime
  • toasted coconut flakes
Take the rice, water, milk, cinnamon and salt in a pot and bring it to a boil. Stir cover and turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. After this give it a stir, add the lime zest, cover and let it sit off the heat for 10 more minutes. While it sits, toast the rice in a dry pan over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve topping the rice with the coconut.

The last thing I made to make this meal complete was some collard greens. I sauteed them on medium heat with a little bit of oil and a splash of white balsamic vinegar.

OK, my review of this meal.. I will start with the seitan. Overall, this was really good. It has sweet, spicy, salty and sour elements to it and the seitan cooked up so much better than the store bought. My only criticism is that the jerk is really not traditional. I found it was really lacking in spice. If I made it again, I would up the spice big time because that is what I think of first when I have jerk. Spicy! I have to say though Isa is a master at combining spice.

The rice - simple, easy and tasty. I will make this again. I also will never forget to use a little toasted coconut on my rice when I want to sweeten it up a bit.

And, the collards... well I make these at least 2-3 times a week or some variation of it. I like them, they take 10 minutes from start to finish and it is a tasty way to get a serving of veggies. Oh and one last thing. It is a must to serve this meal with some Jamaican beer and preferably on the beach if you happen to be lucky enough to live on one.

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