Lentil Soup with Tomato and Spinach

Minoo prepared four recipes for the South Arm Community Kitchen held at the Bethel Church. It looks like that we will continue to meet at the Bethel Church until the summer break in July. We appreciate very much for Bethel Church’s generosity to allow us to use their well equipped kitchen for free.

For the starter, Minoo selected a lentil soup recipe. Lentils require soaking (some overnight) before cooking due to the presence of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and tannins. Lentils can be used to make soup, salad or cook with rice to add protein to the vegetarian diet.

Here are some recipes that I had blogged before about lentil:

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This soup gets a gentle heat from jalapeno pepper and a burst of added flavours from freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly roasted spices. The addition of tomatoes and spinach also adds freshness to the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow lentils, washed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peel and dice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste

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Source: Minoo

The spinach can be substituted with other green vegetables like kale.

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Indian Cuisine: Dal Mong

The second dish which Santoosh shared in the Caring Place Community Kitchen is called Dal Mong. Dal Mong is great to be eaten with roti or rice and vegetables. It is a thick stew. Dal is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat.

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Dal is a kind of dried lentil. It is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat. Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish. Lentils are a good vegetable source of iron. Iron is particularly important for adolescents and pregnant women.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dal, wash and drain
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • coriander leaves, chopped

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Source: Santoosh

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Indian Cauliflower (Phool Gobi)

Santoosh shared three Indian recipes in the Caring Place Community Kitchen. We were very eager to learn from Santoosh. We love to cook ethnic food. Such demonstrations broaden our knowledge on the multicultural cuisines we find in Vancouver.

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The three recipes were Indian Cauliflower, Dal Mong and Indian Roti. These are her staple food.

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Santoosh is seen here demonstrating how to make Indian Roti. I will not blog about how to make roti because I had blogged about how to make roti here.

Can you guess how old is Santoosh? We were surprised when she told us she will be 80 years soon. Her secret to have such good complexion is to apply milk on her face daily 30 minutes before she takes her bath. She also shared with us that she eats a clove of raw garlic daily and she incorporates lots of garlic and onions in her cooking. She never had a cold for the longest time.

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The above is an Indian Cauliflower dish that Santoosh shared called Phool Gobi. The bright yellow colour comes from turmeric.  Cauli in from Latin which means cabbage. Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and Vitamin C. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane which protect against cancer. It also contains Indole-3-Carbinol, a chemical that enhances DNA repair and acts as an estrogen antogonist which slow the growth of cancer cells.

Turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory agent and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. Some may use turmeric in skin creams as an antiseptic agent for cuts, burns and bruises.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size head of cauliflower, cut into flowerets
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon powder for sprinkling

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Source: Santoosh

Serves 4 to 5

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Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant on Buswell Street, Richmond

It was lady meet day again. Polly and I coincidentally was thinking of going for vegetarian on that day. I recalled Madamme Yek told us during this meal that one of their favourite eating places is 4 Stones Vegetarian Restaurant on Westminster Hwy. So, Polly and I went to 4 Stones. It was unfortunate for us that 4 Stones closes on Monday.

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Polly recalled she saw Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant after she went groceries at Park Village the week before but she cant recall exactly where is it’s location. Veggie Bunch used to operate on the ground floor of the Richmond Public Market but we never eat there before because Ben, Arkensen and Nanzaro are meat lovers. Vegetarian does not appeal to them.

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After making a few rounds the block of Park Village, we finally found Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant on Buswell St. It is actually located behind Great One Supermarket. You can park at Park Village parking lot if you want to dine at Veggie Bunch.

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Veggie Bunch is an all you can eat place. There are 16 items on the buffet to choose from. The price for AYCE lunch is $10.99. If I remember correctly, AYCE dinner is $12.99. Polly told me that Veggie Bunch served more varieties when they were at the Richmond Public Market. Although Polly has not eaten there, she knew one of the staff who used to work there and sometimes, when she shopped at the RPM, she would drop by Veggie Bunch to say hello to her friend.

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Among the 16 items, there are 2 soups, 1 dessert soup and some steamed buns at the very far end of the buffet table.

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We started off with the soups. The two types of soup are a sour and spicy soup and a herbal soup. The herbal soup tastes a bit like Bak Kut Teh and it has shiitake mushroom and some kind of glutens which are quite chewy.

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The sour and spicy soup is too acidic, lacking the sweetness from meat. It’s the least favourite among the two soups.

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The above are my two rounds of food. Among the items are:

  • stir fried vermicelli
  • fried rice which has a chewy texture like sticky rice
  • crispy vegetarian spring roll
  • stir fried cabbage and another green vegetables which is nicely done, i.e. still crisp
  • spicy eggplants
  • pan fried radish cake
  • deep fried bean curd skins (which is called “so ngor” or vegetarian goose),
  • tofu, etc

I kind of feel guilty because I over ate at buffet as I always do. But, the good thing is that they are all vegetarian food. Here are some highlights of the items on the buffet … (more…)

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Spiced Squash and Corn Chili

The second dish prepared by the seniors at the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors is a vegetarian chili dish. This is a healthy and hearty dish for the cold winter.

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The Spiced Squash and Corn Chili has a little kick in it and it utilizes butternut squash which is in season. The addition of walnuts adds a little crunch to the chili.

Butternut squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, C and E, manganese, magnesium and potassium.

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, about 4 cups
  • 2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder or according to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or according to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coriander and ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes or according to taste
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika or according to taste
  • 3 bell peppers, mix colors, chopped
  • 1 can corn nibblets
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)

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Source: unknown

Serves 8 to 12

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Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine on No 3 Road and Browngate, Richmond

LOL! Meatatarian is actually a word as much as vegetarian is a word. See this wikipedia article. It appears that the Inuit people are known meatatarians.

Anyway, this post is not about meat but it is about a vegetarian restaurant. I love my meat and I need meat everyday. If I don’t have meat for a day, it feels like I had not eaten. That is the main reason why I had not written much about Vegetarian restaurants.

Over the years we had only blogged on two vegetarian restaurants: Simply Vegetarian and Purity Vegetarian. Unfortunately both restaurants we wrote about had since closed.

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When Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl invited us to join them in a vegetarian dinner, we immediately agreed. We enjoy going out and learning about cuisines that we are not familiar with.

The Spicy Vegetarian Restaurant we went to is located on No 3 Road and Browngate Road in Richmond. This is on the same strip mall as Jubilant, one of our family’s favourite restaurants.

Parking in this strip mall is difficult not only because it is small but this small strip mall had a few very popular restaurants. It is quite impossible to find parking during peak dining hours. So sometimes it is best to park across the street where there is a paid parking lot.

But you get a better chance parking if you go to Spicy Vegetarian. You see, some of the lots are reserved for certain restaurants and Spicy Vegetarian has a few lots that is not always taken. When we got there, there was a cone marker on the lot. We got someone to remove it by saying we are dining in Spicy Vegetarian.

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The Spicy vegetarian Restaurant is of average size. There are about 10 tables of various size from 2 to 10 people per table. It is also clean and well maintained. Not many Chinese restaurants are this neat but I always expects that vegetarian restaurants are above other Chinese restaurants.

We met both Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl for the very first time that night. They are relatively new bloggers on Food for Buddha. I only found out lately that Buddha Boy had been following chowtimes for a long time and had posted many comments under another handle. Both Buddha Girl and Buddha Boy are knowledgeable about food, particularly Chinese food. They came from families with a background in the business. So it is great to hang around them because they are such an information trove.

Buddha Girl made reservations for four people that night. However when we went in none of the tables that had the “Reserved” sign were for us. Instead we were asked to get seated on one of the free tables. As I understand it, the tables marked “Reserved” were specially for their VIP customers from the temple or something like that.

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We left all the ordering to the experts. What I was very interested in is trying vegetarian food that is made to look like meat. LOL! Yeah, I am just amazed at how vegetarian cuisine had progress to such a state that they can create food like that.

Anyway, their top dishes is on the top left menu above. So it you are not sure what to order, you might want to consider those dishes.

Here is a couple of tidbits of information we learned:

Vegetarian restaurants are always the busiest on the 1st and 15th day of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is because those two days are designated as vegetarian days for some Buddhists.

In Taiwan, for Buddhists who follows the religion strictly, vegetarian dishes cannot have garlic, chives, green onion and cilantro. This is because they believe  these vegetables … (more…)

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Baba Gha-Hummus Sandwiches

Minoo also prepared some Baba Gha-Hummus for making Baba Gha-Hummus Sandwiches for the South Arm Christmas Craft Fair fund raising. Minoo was given a lot of ready made hummus and all she did was to roast some eggplant to make Baba Gha-Hummus. If you’ll like to make Baba Gha-Hummus from scratch, here is the recipe.

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Baba Gha-Hummus Sandwiches is a sandwich with middle eastern twist. It is not a common sandwich that you’ll find in the store.

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While the fillings of the sandwiches were prepared by volunteers from the South Arm Community Kitchen, the assembly of the sandwiches was done by another group of participants from the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors and also 4 teenagers volunteers on the morning of the craft fair. This team was led by Phil. Thank you all who volunteer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tubs hummus
  • 1 large eggplant, roasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 60 sliced whole wheat bread

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Source: Minoo; makes 30 sandwiches

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Pasta with Tomato Paste and Peas

This was the last kitchen at South Arm Community Kitchen before we break for summer.  Minoo made a pasta dish as requested by one of the new member who loves to learn how to make a pasta dish.

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The pasta dish which Minoo demonstrated was Pasta with Tomato Paste and Peas.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

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Source: this recipe is adapted from food network.com

Prep time: 15 minutes;  Cook time: 15 minutes;  Serves 4

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Spinach And Chickpea Fritters

The second recipe demonstrated by Minoo in the South Arm Community Kitchen is an Indian recipe. It is Spinach and Chickpea Fritters. These vegetarian fritters can be served as an appetizer or snack.

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Minoo served the Spinach and Chickpea Fritters with a store bought mango chutney. The fritters are fried to very crispy and they are great snacks with vegetables in it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (available at Middle Eastern, Indian or health food stores) or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • mango chutney, for serving

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Source: adapted from food network

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes; Serve 6 to 8

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Classic Texas Caviar

During the holiday season, we are often greeted with party food which are high in salt, fat and sugar.  This Classic Texas Caviar is a wonderful appetizer for potluck as it feeds a crowd.  It is very filling and flavourful, and full of healthy protein and fiber.

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The Classic Texas Caviar recipe is adapted from Pam Anderson and it serves a large party.  Ken and Frank made this healthy appetizer.  Ken and Frank are the oldest seniors in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors.  Can you guess their age?

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Ken and Frank are two of the active members of the cooking club.  Check back the next post to see if you guess their age right?

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8 ounce) cans black-eyed peas or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced, optional
  • 1 small onion, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

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