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Random holiday eats, and an all purpose spicy sauce recipe

Summer says: think about holidays. My wallet says: are you having a laugh?
Summer says: go on, you'd like to get on a plane and go somewhere exotic, wouldn't you, hmm? You even get excited about airplane meals, let alone the actual holiday bit. Wallet says: seriously, are you having a laugh? It's all looking a bit empty in here.
Summer says: holiday! do it! Wallet says: hahahhaha. No. Seriously, no.

Kitchen says: you've never been to Japan, Vietnam, or Korea, but how about we pretend you're going on a little holiday, hmmm? Go on, use your imagination and a few saucepans and we'll see what we can do.

Alright then, kitchen, I like your plan. Japan first. I'm going to make some sushi, because the weather is hot, and sushi suits it, and sushi loves some raw veggies for company.

And it doesn't mind cooked veggies either, so what about we steam some tenderstem broccoli, and coat it in a sauce of tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce and mirin? Maybe we'll bake a big batch of tofu too, because that stuff can can a double life as a sandwich filling the next day. That's assuming you've got any leftover, of course. What about miso soup too, with some greens floating in it? You like greens, greens go with everything.

And if that's the culinary equivalent of running around a city, stopping to see the sights, wandering the streets checking out the cool buildings, pausing for coffee and local vegan treats, walking on, getting back to where you're staying late in the evening and passing out knackered, this is more like a day on the beach.

You know that feeling when you find a packet of vegan friendly dumplings, and you think 'I'll buy two, just in case I don't see these again any time soon?' Well, that's this. Finding a packet of Korean veggie dumplings and having it day after day, it's like you're having a beach holiday, just reading a book, lying in the sun, day after day after day. If you want to make a bit of a change, make yourself some salad, and adapt the bibimbap sauce you made the other day to make a spicy salad dressing.

If you like a bit of variety, there's always a bit of bibimbap. I've never made bibimbap before, but I've eaten a fair few of them. This dish isn't anything like any of them really, apart from the fact there's a load of vegetables on some rice. So this isn't really a bibimbap in anyway. I guess it's the holiday equivalent of when you go and eat the tourist version of the local dish, and you pay way too much, and it's nothing like the locals eat, but the view's great, the food's OK, and you're so chilled out because you're on holiday, you don't really care.

Here's some lemongrass tofu in a bowl, with some noodles. It's simple, it's energising, it's perfect for hot weather, and leaves you feeling better than before you gave it a try - like a few days on the beach.  That's about as much holiday metaphor as I can stretch out of these four dishes. I think I gave it a good try, wringing out dodgy similes like water from a beach towel.

A bit like holiday packing (noooooo.... I can't stop!) this was a bit of a faff, because it was silken tofu rather than the more robust stuff that I normally use, and I spent half the cooking time trying to stop it collapsing into some weird tofu gunk. I think I just about managed it. I'm pretty sure if the Brownies were a vegan organisation, I'd get some sort of badge for this.

Here's my all-purpose sauce recipe - it works as a topping for bibimbaps (or non-specific rice dishes that resemble them), you can make some cracking tofu by using it as a marinade, and you can mix with vegan salad cream or mayo to make a spicy salad dressing.

All purpose spicy sauce
Make however much you want!

One part sesame oil
One part rice vinegar
One part maple syrup (optional)
Four parts goachang

How you do it
Mix all together and enjoy

All purpose spicy sauce sauce salad dressing
One part spicy sauce
One to one-and-a-half parts vegan salad cream or mayonnaise

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  1. You're certainly managing a brilliant set of summer holiday eats, even if the travel part is tricky to manage :-) Your sushi is impressively neat and those dumplings look delicious!

  2. My wallet has the same sense of humor as your wallet. :-) Fun eating trip around Asian! I've been parked in sushi town for awhile myself, using the same ingredients, skinny broccoli and tofu but all stuffed inside of the roll - makes for a extra fat roll.

  3. We must all be feeling the same cooking vibe — even before I saw your post I was craving sushi. Last night we had rice paper spring rolls, and tonight I'm thinking sushi with tofu on the side, or a noodle bowl. Pretty photos!

  4. My wallet didn't let me travel this summer, so I feel your pain.

    Delicious looking meals, and now I must figure out goachang...

  5. I've not made sushi for ages and now I can't stop thinking about it!


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