On 5th June 2013 the United Nations celebrated World Environment Day (WED). The company where I am attached with co-celebrated this year’s theme “Think. Eat. Save”.
Our Business Unit has – probably – the best representative in our company to present this year’s WED. My colleague is 100% vegan!
The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 when he co-founded the British Vegan Society. Vegan initially meant “non-dairy vegetarian”. In 1951 the society extended the definition of veganism to mean “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.”
My colleague was first a vegetarian in 2001 when she became a full-fledged vegan a few years later. Her choice was for both dietary and ethical reasons.
She presented the background and facts on PowerPoint, focusing on this year’s foodprint and GoGreen campaigns without reservation. It was an eye-opener for the rest of the “carnivores” in the meeting room that day. 😀
By the way, the main difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that vegans exclude any form of animal-related products, such as eggs and dairy products including (animal) milk, cheese, butter, ghee and yogurt.
While planet earth is struggling to provide earthlings with sufficient resources to sustain the burgeoning population, food production is either lost or wasted, rather unnecessarily.
My colleague gave an example of the high consumption and pressure on natural resources in livestock and meat productions. Did you know that approximately 16,000 litres of water goes into a cow’s food to make one hamburger or 13,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of beef, while less than 2,000 litres of water is needed to produce 1 kg of wheat?
I did not know then, but now, I know…
A Vegan Lunch
In between the meeting, we paused for a 100% vegan lunch, complete with a Vegan burger!!
… and ended with a vegan dessert. These two cakes were specially baked by my colleague. There were absolutely no traces of animal products in the cakes! You figure it out…
Mock meats and fish
I remembered eating “mock meats and fish” at a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant many years ago when I was a young girl tagging along after my Dad and Mum. I remembered enjoying the “meat” and “fish” dishes, not knowing or even thought of asking what ingredients went in the “mock meats”. They were so tasty and meat-like. Period.
I realised seitan (or wheat gluten) is the “culprit” in making imitation meat. Honestly speaking, I love the texture, albeit it’s chewiness 😉
Vegan food is becoming increasingly available in our local supermarkets and restaurants. The commercially packed bio-time (organic) products are really popular in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Not so long ago, I bought a packet of seitan (gluten “meat”) and tofu (soybean curd) at Colruyt (a Belgian family owned retail corporation).
Well, of course, you could make your own tofu, just like how I did mine, from scratch! Please check out this post: I did it! I made my own TOFU !!
The message rallied by my colleague was still fresh in my mind. Think before you eat and help save our environment!
Well, I thought, what better way to start that in my own kitchen 😀
By the way, if you don’t already know, gluten has the highest protein concentration which is a staple of a vegan diet, and then comes tofu (from soya beans), nuts, other beans, lentils and seeds.
Believe you me, it was a tall order for me to toe the line, especially with my living with three carnivores! LOL!
Anyway, I was glad I came up with this wholesome and healthy dish of Sweet & Sour Tofu and Seitan !
- 250 g packet organic Tofu (rinsed briefly and cubed)
- 200 g packet organic Seitan (cubed)
- 5 cm piece fresh ginger (peeled and julienned)
- 5 stalks spring onions (washed and cut on the bias)
- 1 yellow bell pepper or capsicum (cut in strips)
- 1 red bell pepper or capsicum (cut in strips)
- 2 carrots (peeled, shaped in gear wheel and cut in rounds)
- 2 tomatoes (cut in chunky cubes)
- 1 onion (peeled and cut in strips)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced in coarse sea salt)
- Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
To make the Sweet & Sour Sauce (Note, I did not indicate any measurements – except for the water – as this is my recipe. Please feel free to adjust according to your taste. As a saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”) –
- 500 ml water
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
- Honey + Sugar, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Tomato sauce
- Rice wine (cooking wine) – optional
Take a large bowl and add all the ingredients for making the sweet and sour sauce. Stir and set aside. Pan fry the tofu, seitan, bell peppers or capsicums and carrots separately until lightly browned using only one wok or frying pan. Sauté the minced garlic and julienned ginger and add all the separately fried components back to the frying pan. Add the thinly sliced onion and spring onion. Stir fry for a minute or two, making sure that you do not over-cook the ingredients, and then pour the sweet and sour sauce, stirring lightly to combine, until the sauce thickened. At this stage, visual contact is important. If the sauce is too thick, add water, if too thin, add corn flour. Finally add the tomatoes and taste for final seasoning before plating up.
This dish is best served piping hot and fresh with steamed white rice and generous sprinkle of roasted peanuts and cashew nuts. The nuts gave the dish a different dimension with lots of flavours and textures. A healthy dish to die for 😉
Et voilà !
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