(F/P)orn IV: Three humble imitations of Asian dishes

As the chilly autumn gusts reign sovereign, cycling long distances to your out-of-the-way specialty supermarket becomes less and less appealing. It is times like this that prompts us to revisit our spirit of invention in the kitchen.

In comes Autumn. Out goes the warmth and leaves.

In this short post, you will behold three attempts to imitate East/South Asian dishes using inexpensive and simple ingredients from Dutch supermarkets.

‘Vegetable replacement’ tofu

Tofu with soy sauce and spring onions, agadeshi style

Soy-tofu is one of the cornerstones of a vegetarian diet. It is therefore unfortunate that they are not that cheap in Dutch supermarkets. Fetching them regularly from Asian supermarkets is not a practical option.

Thankfully, there is an exceedingly simple workaround. Melt a few gelatine bladjes (gelatin sheets) in some warm karnemelk (buttermelk) and set the mixture in the fridge. By using karnemelk instead of normal milk, the resultant jelly has a much more tofu-like texture, with a sour taste mimicking those of acid-coagulated tofu’s.

Saté Rendang

Potatoes and rookworst rendang.

Beef rendang is in many ways an icon of Indonesian dry curries; wonderfully thick and tantalizingly pungent with flavours. But with the needed spices rare and expensive in Holland, replicating this dish here is not easy.

This is where comes saté saus (Satay sauce) into play; the omnipresent Indonesian condiment in Dutch supermarkets. Stir-fry some saté saus (preferably from Calvé) with some onions and rawit chili (Chili padi). Toss in some meat and boiled potatoes and there you have it: beef rendang that’s every bit as tasty, with less than half the cost, time and fats of the original.

Dutch Wasabi

Mierikswortel paste, with spinach for colour.

Sushi is never complete without wasabi. The latter, however, is not cheaply available in Holland. Thankfully, tucked away at the corners of eery Dutch supermarket is something called mierikswortel (horse radish). This root is actually a family member of the greenish Japanese horseradish. Apart from the lowered pungency, the taste is surprisingly similar to Japanese wasabi. The only problem is that it is white.

Solve this by pounding some spinach into it (for the chemically inclined: green food dye) and your wasabi lookalike is ready for the table.

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2 thoughts on “(F/P)orn IV: Three humble imitations of Asian dishes”

  1. :o
    Noooo, don’t use the low quality gelling agent, gelatine for your tofu =(

    If there’s vegetarian gelatine from Dr Oetker available (main ingredient is carrageenan and/or locust bean gum), use it instead for your substitute tofu, though it will melt if used in a hot dish.

    Otherwise, you can stock up some chinese agar agar and use it on karnemelk.

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