Tag Archives: Chinese vegetarian dish

Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes to Usher In the Lunar New Year

Sweet potatoes get swapped in for chicken in this clever take on Kung Pao.
Sweet potatoes get swapped in for chicken in this clever take on Kung Pao.

Start the Year of the Dragon off with a bang with something fiery and inspired.

“Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes” certainly isn’t traditional fare for the Lunar New Year, which starts on Saturday. But the dish certainly makes for an exciting and enticing new addition to the celebratory feast. Plus, it’s perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who enjoys twists on the classics.

This fun recipe is from “Veg-Table” (Chronicle Books, 2023), of which I received a review copy. It’s the newest cookbook by Los Angeles-based Nik Sharma, a former molecular biologist turned James Beard Award-winning, best-selling cookbook author, photographer, and recipe developer.

He brings his scientific background, precision for recipes, and love of big, bold flavors to bear on this collection of vegetable-focused recipes. It’s not a strictly vegetarian cookbook, but even when animal proteins are included, they play a more supporting rather than starring role.

The cookbook features more than 50 types of vegetables with recipes organized by plant family, including such temptations as “Kimchi Creamed Corn,” “Crispy Salmon with Green Curry Spinach,” “Cauliflower Bolognese,” and “Carrot, Apple, and Harissa Soup.”

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Going Bonkers For Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Your new favorite way to enjoy tofu.
Your new favorite way to enjoy tofu.

“This is like fried chicken!”

That was the startling remark my husband exclaimed upon digging into “Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce.”

And if you know his nickname is Meat Boy, then you know that is truly saying something about this entirely plant-based dish.

Crispy as can be, these pan-fried, sesame seed-coated planks of tofu get dunked into a spicy, garlicky sauce for a dish so addictive that even those wishy-washy about tofu will clamor for seconds and thirds.

This fabulous recipe is from “The Woks of Life” (Clarkson Potter, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the first cookbook by Bill, Judy, Sarah, and Kaitlin Leung, the New Jersey family who shot to fame with their eponymous The Woks of Life blog. It started out in 2013 as simply a personal way for them to document their family history through food. It has since turned into a sensation, growing into the most popular online English-language resource for Chinese cooking.

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