Banana Relish

Deliciously simple vegan recipies anyone can make

Thai Coconut Curry

It’s taken me a lot of experimentation to create a great (and simple) curry. Many of the recipes I’ve followed took hours and rarely ended up tasting great. The coconut recipes I tried were too sweet and resembled ambrosia creamed rice and many others just tasted awful.

I’ve been refining this recipe for about 6 months now and I'm finally happy with it! It's pretty easy to make, it tastes great, and making your own fresh curry paste will impress your friends.

Prep Time 20m
Cook Time 25m
Total Time 45m
Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. To a pestle and mortar, add the minced ginger, chopped coriander leaves, kaffir lime leaves, dried red chilli, lemongrass stalk and cumin. Crush with the pestle (the lemongrass won't crush, but ensure the stalk breaks) and then add 1 tbsp of water and crush into a paste.

  2. Remove tofu from packaging and wrap in 2 sheets of kitchen roll. Place the mortar on top and let sit to press the excess water out. If using frozen tempeh, then soften in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to a blender (Nutribullet works best) and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  4. Prep the vegetables by chopping the onion, carrot, broccoli, zucchini and pepper. Set aside.

  5. Preheat a large wok on a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of coconut oil. While the wok is heating, finely mince a large clove of garlic and then fry in in the coconut oil for 1-2 minutes. (Make sure the wok isn’t so hot that it burns the garlic).

  6. Add the chopped onions and fry for 2-3 minutes or until soft.

  7. Add the broccoli and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.

  8. Prep a large pot of water and bring to the boil for cooking the basmati (check the packet instructions for the correct volume of water and cooking time).

  9. Add the carrot, red pepper, zucchini and spinach to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  10. Remove the lemongrass from mortar and add the curry paste to the wok, stir well to ensure all the vegetables are covered in the paste. You should get an incredible fresh, oriental smell exploding in your face when you do this.

  11. Chop the tofu or tempeh into small cubes and add to wok.

  12. Add the full tin of coconut milk and stir well.

  13. Sprinkle in the turmeric and then start slowly stirring in the tomato sauce (don’t add all of it at this stage). You’re aiming for a dark golden-red colour for the sauce.

  14. Crank up the heat until the sauce starts to bubble and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

  15. Wait a 2 minutes then add the basmati rice to the pot, bring back to the boil and then simmer for 10-12 minutes (or according to packet).

  16. Taste the curry sauce as it simmers. If it’s too sweet, then add more tomato sauce. You can add more turmeric to control the colour and if it needs more of kick, add some more chopped chilli. Optional: add a tsp curry powder for extra flavour

  17. In the last 8 minutes add the tomatoes and snow peas

  18. When rice is cooked, drain and rinse with boiling water, then add to plate. Tip: use a large coffee mug to create a mound of rice on the plate, then ladle the curry around it.

  19. Throw on a few fresh coriander leaves and serve.

That’s it! If you want to be really fancy with your presentation, cook some red rice in a separate pot and add this to your basmati to punctuate it with colour. The red rice may take a little longer to cook (~25 mins) so make sure to start cooking it just before you fry your garlic.

Authentic Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

I was taught how to make this incredible Pad Thai in Bangkok last month by a local chef, it's simple and quick to make and tastes delicious!

Prep Time 10m
Cook Time 5m
Total Time 15m
Serves 1

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Make the peanut sauce using this recipe

  2. Wrap tofu in kitchen roll and press under a heavy object for 10 minutes

  3. Pre-soak noodles according to package instructions. Take 2 mins off the cook time as we'll be cooking them in the wok later and want to avoid them becoming sticky

  4. Prepare the vegetables by coarsely chopping 1 tbsp tomato and 1 tbsp onion; mince 1 tsp garlic and crush 1 tbsp of roasted peanuts in a pestle and mortar. Cut carrot into thin matchstick slices.

  5. When tofu is pressed and noodles are ready: heat a wok on high heat and add 2 tbsp of coconut oil

  6. Add the carrot, onion, tomato, garlic and tofu and fry until the garlic is brown (1-2 mins)

  7. Add 3 tbsp water and the pre-soaked noodles and toss to coat (30 secs)

  8. Add 1 tbsp mixed light & dark soy sauce, 1 tsp coconut sugar, mixed bean sprouts, spring onion and crushed peanuts. Toss for 60 seconds

  9. Sprinkle 1 tsp chilli flakes (or more/less to taste) and a squirt of fresh lime juice and cook for 10 seconds then remove from heat

  10. Serve with peanut sauce slathered on top and some roasted peanuts. Enjoy with chopsticks!

Don't forget to upload a photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #bananarelish

Peanut Dipping Sauce

This delicious and versatile peanut sauce is super-easy to make and takes only 5 minutes. It can be used as a dip (perfect for fresh spring rolls) or added to this authentic Pad Thai dish

Prep Time 3m
Cook Time 2m
Total Time 5m
Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Chop 1/2 a tomato into coarse chunks

  2. Crush 3 tbsp roasted peanuts in a pestle and mortar

  3. Heat a small wok with 1 tbsp coconut oil to a medium-high heat

  4. Add chopped tomato and fry for 1 minute

  5. Crush the tomato in the wok with a spatula

  6. Optional: add 1 tsp red chilli paste for heat

  7. Add 6 tbsp coconut milk, 2 tsp coconut sugar, 1 tsp lime juice and 1/2 tbsp mixed dark & light soy sauce

  8. Cook for 60 seconds (or until warm) and then turn off wok

  9. Drizzle 1 tsp of coconut milk on top and garnish with a few peanuts

Don't forget to upload a photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #bananarelish

Vegan Lentil Burgers & Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

These delicious lentil burgers are super-filling and pack a real meaty punch. Try the orange-infused cashew relish for extra flavour.

Prep Time 80m
Cook Time 40m
Total Time 2hr
Serves 2

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak 75g of cashew nuts in a bowl of boiling water for 1 hr to soften.

  2. Add softened cashews to food processor or Nutribullet and add 1 tbsp of cashew milk (or soya milk). You can garnish with a small amount of orange zest or leave it as is, both are equally tasty! Blend into a relish and adjust zest as desired. If mixture is too thick, add in a little extra milk to loosen.

  3. Prep fries by slicing sweet potato into large thin strips. Spray an oven tray in coconut spray (or Frylight) and evenly spread fries before spraying the top with coconut. Season with oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper (adjust according to your tastes) and ensure an even coating.

  4. Add lentils to pot and cover with 1.5 cups cold water (or according to package instructions) and bring to the boil. Cook for 18 minutes.

  5. While lentils are cooking, thinly dice the shallot and preheat oven to 200c

  6. When lentils are 2 minutes away from being cooked, add 1 tbsp flaxseed meal and 2.5 tbsp cold water to a food processor and pulse. Let stand for 2 minutes.

  7. Place the fries in the oven to cook for 30 minutes, turning at the halfway point.

  8. Add lentils, chopped shallot, 1 tbsp tomato puree and 1 tsp oregano to food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides as needed. You want a nice firm mixture with the lentils intact – don't blend into a puree.

  9. Remove from the processor and use your hands to mould into burger patties on a flat surface.

  10. Heat a pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil.

  11. Fries should now be around the halfway mark (15 mins), remove from oven and toss. Add a little more seasoning and spray with coconut oil before placing back in the oven.

  12. Add burger patties to the hot pan and fry each side for 2-3 minutes. Prep another oven dish by oiling the base with coconut oil

  13. Place burger patties in the oven dish and cook for 10 minutes alongside the fries.

  14. In the meantime, slice two wholemeal burger buns, top with spinach and you're burger toppings of choice.

  15. When the burgers are cooked, remove from oven and add to the buns, smother with the cashew relish and serve with the hot, spicy fries.

Don't forget to upload a photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #bananarelish

Creamy Almond Butter Bucatini with Thai Salad

Want a quick 'n' easy pasta dish with a little asian vibe? This almond butter bucatini takes just 30 minutes to cook and even my non-vegan friends love it!

Prep Time 15m
Cook Time 15m
Total Time 30m
Serves 2

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190c

  2. To make the sauce; in a bowl, whisk by hand:
    2 tbsp lime juice
    3 tbsp maple syrup
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    4 tbsp smooth almond butter

  3. To make the salad dressing; in a bowl, mix:
    1 tbsp maple syrup
    2 tsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp lime juice

  4. Prep the salad by laying a bed of spinach on the side of the plate and top with thinly sliced yellow pepper and matchstick carrots. Cut the cucumber into 4cm slices and then quarter lengthways. Add 1/2 tsp of sesame seeds to garnish and slice a fresh lime in half and serve on the side to drizzle. Garnish with thinly chopped spring onion.

  5. Heat a pot of boiling water and cook bucatini according to package instructions (~12 minutes).

  6. Spread almonds evenly onto an oven dish. Coat with coconut spray (or Frylight).

  7. When bucatini is 3 minutes from finish, heat a wok on medium heat with 1 tbsp sesame oil and place almonds in the oven to bake for 5-6 minutes (make sure they don't burn).

  8. When bucatini has finished cooking, add straight to wok and cover with the almond butter sauce. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  9. Remove bucatini and server – spread the cooked almonds on top to garnish.

Don't forget to Instagram your dish! #bananarelish

The Secret to Cooking Delicious & Firm Tofu

When you try to cook tofu for the first time, it's often a frustrating experience. If it's not prepared properly, it ends up a soggy mess that lacks texture and taste.

Well, cooking tofu needn't be a dark art – it's actually quite easy when you know how. In just three steps, I'll show you how to make tofu that is delicious with a firm (optional: crispy) texture! It resembles the same texture as Quorn chicken and can be added to almost any dish.

For this you should use firm tofu (not silken) – you'll be able to get it in most supermarkets or your local Asian supermarket.

Step 1. Press It

This is the most important step – you need to remove as much of the water as possible.

Remove the tofu from it's packaging and wrap it in two layers of kitchen roll (ensure it's completely covered) and then place a heavy object on top.

This will make a mess, so place it in the sink or worktop and don't press it near your mobile phone or anything that may get water-damaged.

I like to use a large wooden chopping board to press, but any heavy object will do. Ensure your pressing-device is evenly balanced on the block of the tofu to prevent it from forcing it out of shape.

Press the tofu for 15-20 minutes depending on the level of firmness you prefer.

You can press it for a few hours if you like, I usually don't because it's not convenient and the next step will help to really firm it up.

Step 2. Bake It

Pre-heat the oven to 190c and cut the tofu into cubes or strips and place onto a lightly oiled oven-dish and coat the tofu in oil. Tip: spray it with coconut oil because it's easy, and tasty!

Optional: You can marinade the tofu at this point in your favourite sauce or blend of spices, or you can simply add the baked tofu into your main dish after cooking.

Cook the tofu for 15-20 minutes or until it's golden brown on the outside.

Step 3: Fry It

If you like a bit of extra crisp, then heat a pan with your favourite oil, add some spices and fry the tofu on all sides for 1 minute each. One of my favourite quick 'n' easy spice blends is cumin, paprika and a drop of fresh lime juice (add cayenne pepper for heat).

You can skip step two if you like your tofu a bit softer. Just press it, then cut it into thin slabs and fry each side for 5-6 minutes before cutting it into cubes.

There you go, super-easy and delicious tofu in no time!

The 5 Best Vegan Restaurants in Bangkok

I recently visited Bangkok and although I was slightly apprehensive about travelling as a recently converted vegan, Bangkok turned out to be a vegan paradise and the entire week I tried dish after dish of delicious and incredible food.

The list below are my favourite picks that you simply MUST visit if you're in Bangkok. These are vegan only restaurants so you don't need to worry about what's in your food. They're a little pricer than eating street food or visiting the Jay Restaraunts but it's worth it for the piece of mind and the quality of the food is excellent. In saying that, the prices were still ridiculously cheap compared to eating in the UK.

A note on Jay Restaurants: these are buddhist restaurants that serve accidently vegan dishes and are scattered through the city.

I only visited one was severely disapointed. The meal cost £1.20 for one dish, but it lacked flavour, the service was awful and the restaraunt was a little run down. I'm not suggesting that all Jay restaurants are like this, but the places I'm about to mention are in a league of their own and more of a gourmet experience.

1. Veganerie Concept

The Veganarie is a bakery and cafe-style restaurant in Sukhumvit and was without a doubt, my favourite spot to eat in Bangkok. It blew my mind every time!

They serve a selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites – all completely vegan. From waffles and pizza to most desserts, cakes and buns.

The food here is so like the real thing, it's hard to believe that it's actually vegan. My favourite dishes were:

Vegan Pulled Pork Burger

Inside

BBQ Pulled Pork Burger (made from mushrooms and served with home-made fries, coleslaw and mayo. Simply amazing, the texture and flavour was just like eating the real thing.

Pizza: You can order a small gourmet pizza (or several) as a main or as a side. It's topped with vegan sausage and is exploding with flavour on top of a rich, Italian tomato sauce.

Vegan Banoffee Waffles

Banoffee Waffles: probably the best thing about the Veganerie is the desserts. You can indulge in plenty of sweet favourites. The banoffee waffles were my favourite. Tip: order them with coconut ice cream ❤️

Vegan Chicken Waffles

The actual restaurant itself is beautiful and is one of the few places I visited that reflected a high-end western restaurant, they have lots of cool vegan decor – like their wall of vegan hashtags and a giant map where you can pin where in the world you're from.

The staff are super friendly and it's obvious their deeply passionate about veganism and their food.

Price: Around £6-8 for for 2-3 courses.

How to get there: Take the BTS Sky Train to Phrom Phong and walk through Benjasiri Park (it's a lovely walk, especially in the evening when the locals are out playing sports).

2. May Veggie Home

I ate here almost every day, they have a wide range of dishes available on the menu so it's difficult to get bored. From curries, stir fries and appetisers to mock-meat dishes.

Tofu & Cashew Stir Fry

My favourite was the tofu and cashew stir fry with brown rice. If you fancy a side, order the vietamnise spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce or the bacon wrapped mushrooms.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Vegan Bacon and Mushroom Rolls

Fried Tofu with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce

They also have a bakery in store where you can order desserts, buns and cakes to eat in or take away. I only tried their ice cream, which was the first time I've tried ice cream since going vegan and it definitely didn't disappoint.

Other notable dishes were the Panang and Massaman curry (you'll get to try Thai basil, which is incredible).

Massaman Curry

The restaurant is very peaceful inside and the staff are really polite and friendly.

Prices are around £3 per course.

How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to ASOK and it's 2 minute walk down Ratchadaphisek Road.

3. Raw Food Bliss

I always had it in mind that eating raw vegan food would be plain and boring and wow, was I wrong! I decided to open my mind to raw and visited Raw Food Bliss at the Rasayana Retreat and it was one of my favourite food experiences to date.

Raw Vegetable Spring Rolls

Raw Eggplant Lasagne

I had the vegetable sushi rolls to start and the eggplant lasagna for my main – incredible. The best thing about this dish, was that it actually had a meaty flavour to it! It may sound strange to eat a raw lasnage, but this masterpiece was exploding with flavours.

The best was yet to come, as I still had to try the banoffee pie and it was hands-down the single best dessert I've ever tried – a delicious bed of fresh bananas topped with cocoa and sweet cashew cream. It's worth coming here just for this! I'll definitely be adding this to my list of things to learn to cook.

Raw Banoffee Pie

The cafe is located outside at the Rasayana Retreat in a very quiet and peaceful area of Bangkok surrounded by trees.

How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Phrom Phong and it's a ten minute walk along Soi Saeng Mukda.

Prices are around £3-4 per course.

4. Banana Family Park

This is a hidden gem that I accidently discovered while watching an unrelated Youtube video. The Banana Family Park (or Baan Suan Pi) is a small food course serving only vegan food. I only got to try one of the restaraunts, but it was so good I went back for another two courses right after my first one!

Vegan Omelette

The first dish was a vegan omelette – made from rice paper and filled with delicious veggies and tofu). It's another dish on my list of things to learn!

Tofu Satay Skewers

Tofu Spring Rolls

After that I tried the Tofu satay skewers, cooked in a rich sauce and the tofu stuffed spring rolls. The whole thing was absolutely delishious. My only regret was not going back for more!

Prices are only 35 baht (70p) per plate and you get a free bowl of vegetable soup.

How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Ari and it's a 3 minute walk. The foodcourt is pretty well hidden from the street view, keep an eye out for a small alleyway on your right with a cafe and people sitting at tables in the alley – walk past it and you'll find the foodcourt inside.

5. Ethos

Ethos is cozy little vegan restauarnt located near Khaosan Road – you can sit on the floor and eat Japaneese style or sit at one of the tables. They have a huge menu of vegan dishes – mostly asian and thai style. I had the coconut curry and it didn't disappoint.

Coconut Curry

Prices are around £2-3 per course.

How to get there: take the BTS Skytrain to Siam and grab a taxi to Khaosan Road (about 30 minutes – £2). Alternatively you can take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin and take a water taxi along the canal.

There are a few other vegan restaurants beside Ethos that I unfortunately didn't get to try, like Mango and May Veggie Home, so give them a go!

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