Vegan Chickpea Salad Recipe with Oil Free Thai Dressing

Vegan Chickpea Salad Recipe with Oil Free Thai Dressing

As we approach a year since our plant based and vegan delivery service began in Bangkok, we’re sharing our recipe for chickpea salad. This simple dish has been one of the most popular recipes this past tumultuous year.

We hope this filling, oil-free, and healthy dish will also become a staple in your kitchen as well. The recipe is great for people with dietary restrictions, can be used as an appetizer, and versatile enough to include other vegetables you may have on hand.

Remember if you find this recipe helpful to consider making a donation to Courageous Kitchen. For our friends and fans Bangkok based, you can order this dish from our menu, where you can also find our delivery schedule and other details.

Enjoy this easy chickpea salad recipe and a beautiful addition to a healthy meal.

Chickpea Salad Ingredients

Serves 2
Utensils: Mixing bowl, citrus squeezer (optional)

  • 150g Cooked Chickpeas
  • 80g Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Large shallot, diced
  • 1/2 Japanese cucumber, diced
  • 3-4 Cilantro stems, sliced
  • Skin of a large chili, deseeded and sliced thin (optional)

Oil Free Thai Salad Dressing

  • 2-3 Limes, squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp CCV (Coconut cider vinegar)
  • 1-2 Tsp Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Black pepper, cracked (optional)

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
The oil free salad dressing means no surprise calories and plenty of Thai flavor. We paired the dish with durian curry (gaeng som), and nam prik ong chili paste made with tofu.

Chickpea Salad Instructions

  1. Chop and mix all of your ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix all the liquids for your salad dressing. Finish it by dissolving in your palm sugar.
  3. Adjust to taste and serve by pouring over your salad. Mix well and enjoy.

Credit: This recipe was written and contributed by Panisha Chanwilai of Thai Plant Based Recipes’ Facebook Group.

Thai Style Creamed Corn, A Special Black History Inspired Recipe

Thai Style Creamed Corn, A Special Black History Inspired Recipe

Today’s recipe share is a tribute to my grandparents for Black History Month. In memoriam we’ll be getting into the kitchen to make a dish called creamed corn. This staple side in southern cuisine is something you might find on the dining room table at family gatherings, or as a side at a favorite bbq joint. Today’s version though, brings Thai flavors to this dish and has been written to make it easily repeatable at home.

Thai style creamed corn, made with local organic corn and fresh coconut milk.

There’s so much Black History to share this month and always. And yes it’s important to know the most famous events and people, but learning the history of people you know can help make the month more meaningful. So I’m honored to share a little about my grandparents, whose shoulders I stand on today.

In particular, my maternal grandfather, whose cast iron pan never moved far from the stovetop. His name was Harold Dunson, but people knew him as ‘The Vegetable Man’. After working for US Steel in Birmingham, Alabama for 35 years, he retired but never quit working. Instead, he started a small business delivering vegetables on the west side of Birmingham for decades.

Some of my most vivid memories of my grandfather were of him waking early, likely 4 or 5am, to get a jump on the bunches of collard and turnip greens he would slice and prep for his customers. He powered through with hot coffee and the help of his favorite prep knife, that had been repeatedly wrapped in worn masking tape to make it easier to handle.

To help share about Black History with our Thai friends, these recipe cards were created by the team at the US Embassy in Bangkok.

When daybreak came, he’d already have breakfast on the stove by the time my sister and I woke up. The long day’s work required hearty morning staples like biscuits, grits, bacon, and fried fish. After all, he was delivering to Black neighborhoods long underserved by grocery stores. He provided senior citizens with limited mobility to have access to fresh vegetables and fruit by bringing them to their doorstep and allowing those with limited finances to buy ‘a dolla‘ of this and that from the back of his truck. All of this happened long before we invented the term food desert, in swaths of Birmingham with more liquor stores and fast food than anything else.

Now Mr. Dunson may not appear in your history books, but I can’t help but summon him in my work today. Even though I live half a world away from where he spent most of his life, his compassion for people and his quiet perseverance to serve them into his early eighties still inspires me.

Creamed corn served with black eyed pea empanadas (left) and Thai style creamed corn with both mild and spicy versions.

In remembrance of this hero, I’d like to share a dish from his cast iron pan called creamed corn. This isn’t the dairy and bacon grease laden recipe you will find on websites dedicated to southern and soul food. That’s no discredit to soul food, but having the traditional version too often can be unhealthy. Instead, I’m making a Thai style creamed corn with fresh aromatics, grilled or roasted corn, creamy coconut milk, and a bit of spice. The resulting dish should be smoky and creamy, sweet from your corn and coconut milk, and pack a mild spice kick.

I hope you’ll join me in sharing this recipe, and reflecting on where Black History has brought us today as a society, and in our individual lives.

The recipe is below, happy cooking and special thanks to the US Embassy in Bangkok for helping highlight this story and recipe with a video and Thai language recipe cards.

Thai Style Creamed Corn

This recipe serves 1 person or can be shared as a side dish. The recipe can be made oil free, gluten free, and vegan if desired.

Optional utensils include mortar and pestle, and non stick frying pan or wok.

Ingredients

  • 200g Corn (about 1 cup, optionally grill and cut off the cob for extra flavor)
  • 100ml Coconut milk
  • Oil for cooking (optional, since the coconut milk is rich in healthy fats/oil)
  • 1/2 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Quarter of an onion, diced
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves, smashed or minced
  • 1 Tsp Palm sugar
  • 1 Tsp Black pepper, toasted and crushed
  • 1 Tsp Nam prik pow chili jam (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Sticky rice flour slurry (1 tbsp dissolved into 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 Spring onion stalk tip, sliced thin to garnish
  • Sprinkle of Paprika to garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut your corn off the cobb if needed, and dice your bell pepper. Then prep any other vegetable you plan to include in your recipe.
  2. Over low to medium heat add your onion, bell pepper, and garlic to a small amount of coconut milk or oil.
  3. Sweat these aromatic ingredients until fragrant or lightly browned. Now add corn and stir fry briefly for 2-3 mins.
  4. If needed, add coconut milk, a tablespoon at a time to keep your pan from burning.
  5. When everything smells fragrant, add remaining coconut milk and allow to simmer, gently boiling.
  6. Season with a teaspoon of palm sugar, black pepper, chili jam (nam prik pow), and salt to taste.
  7. Finish by adding a tbsp of your flour slurry at a time and stirring in well. When your coconut milk is no longer runny, or the desired texture is achieved, turn off the heat.
  8. Plate and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and spring onion before serving.
Special Plant Based Vegan Menu at Err

Special Plant Based Vegan Menu at Err

Here’s a few scenes from a big weekend in Bangkok for the Courageous Kitchen team. For the first time, we’re popping up to serve a menu all of our own creation in a local restaurant. The menu is a testament to healthy eating, sustainability, and rustic Thai food. We couldn’t be more proud to have our student leaders participating and to share this event with you.

Our special plant based menu is being served at Err for a short time, during the Thai Vegetarian Festival.

The Courageous Kitchen leadership program gives students opportunities to grow as cooks and as well balanced young people. Although the coronavirus has limited our activities this year, this month has been busy. With the Thai vegetarian festival happening, we took our young leaders into the combonation restaurant of Bolan and Err, to serve our own plant based menu.

During the pandemic we have been taking our healthy cooking to the next level, even launching a delivery service for plant based vegan food. So were please to be able to collaborate with the rustic cooking of the team behind Bolan and Err. The invitation from Chef Bo and Dylan gives our students a unique opportunity to see behinds the scenes, in not one, but two restaurants. In addition to having a hand in making dishes from Err, which specializes in elevated Thai drinking food, our students all get their first peek at fine dining dishes from Bolan.

The Courageous Kitchen team prepping ingredients for their restaurant debut.
In addition to our menu, students were able to participate in the preparation of Bolan’s fine dining dishes as well.

The collab features two plant based set menus, one from Central Thailand and the other from Southern Thailand. Both sets feature our homemade soybean products, tempeh and tofu.

“The guests really loved your fried tempeh dish, now I want to taste!” remarked one of the waiters from Err. The dish they’re referring to is a special Phuket style fried curry paste and crispies piled on top of battered tempeh. The dish is called ‘tempeh tod kreung’ and the crunchy tempeh is a good match for the spicy and sweet paste.

Grilled eggplant salad with fried tempeh batons.
Fried tempeh buried in crispy, pulverized tofu bits or ‘tempeh tod kreung’

The most popular dish from the Central Thailand set is the red curry or ‘gaeng daeng tempeh’. While you can experience a Thai red curry at any Thai restaurant, this dish is special because of the curry paste is handmade, and the ingredients in the curry are representative of Thai biodiversity.

“When we talk about plant based food, many enthusiasts do make a point to eat locally and in season. This is similar to many of the teachings we hear from Chef Bo, whether in the restaurant or on her television show, she always uses her food to highlight the diversity of ingredients in Thai cuisine.”

In addition to the tempeh in the curry, there’s a trio of pea aubergines, winter melon and snake gourd. The latter two especially are often overlooked by restaurants, even though people at home in the provinces still grow and use these ingredients commonly in their cooking. Each of these ingredients are abundant during the rainy season, and because they all have a different texture, keep your tongue guessing with each bite of the curry.

The Central Thai menu set featured a special chili dip cooked in coconut milk and served with seasonal vegetables.

We’re relishing the experience to serve our supporters in Bangkok this weekend and learn from great chefs. We hope to take what we’ve learned into future endeavors, whether in our cooking classes or other training aspects of our leadership program. Never before has the overlap between food and health been so important, and we hope to shepherd our communities here and online towards better wellness as we grow.

Special thanks to the the Bolan and Err chefs and staff, and we look forward to collaborating on special events with them again in the future.

Our Plant Based Food is Now Available for Delivery in Bangkok

Our Plant Based Food is Now Available for Delivery in Bangkok

This month we’re launching a new delivery menu for plant based food for our customers in Bangkok. The menu combines Thai dishes we love to make in our cooking classes with our favorite homemade meals. The menu is geared towards busy families who want to save time in the kitchen without compromising their diets.

Thai mushroom stir fry (aka krapow) with holy basil and chili.

The new menu is an opportunity to extend interest in healthy cooking to people who haven’t had a chance to join our cooking classes. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about plant based eating in the Thai community right now,” says Panisha Chanwilai, our vegan cooking teacher.

“But when people look for plant based recipes online, they might assume it’s all salads and pasta. I want Thais to be proud of our own cuisine, which can easily be made into healthy meals.”

For instance, this month one of the featured dishes is tom kha soup. Thai food fans may recognize this dish as the calmer little sister of spicy tom yum soup. The dish is a soup is composed of coconut milk, made fragrant with classic Thai aromatics like kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, and galangal.

Besides the ingredients that make the dish tom kha, there’s a lot of flexibility to decide what else we would like to include. These variations are common to see from one Thai household to the next. One family may choose to include banana blossom, another prefers the soup with a variety of local mushroom, while still another adds extra chili jam to add heat and color.

Our version is made without any meat products, nor fish sauce. We also no longer use white sugar, and try to exclude oil in our recipes whenever possible. This addresses many of the common criticisms of trends in Thai food the last few decades, which can be oily, overly sweet, and scant on vegetables. However, when you have homemade Thai food, this isn’t always the case.

In addition to food, you can order our organic tempeh, tofu, and other food products as well.

Ready to try food from Courageous Kitchen? In addition to the meals, customers can order our homemade tofu, tempeh, and other food products. Orders are placed by Thursday each week, and the food is delivered to people’s homes every Sunday in a refrigerated truck. As always, proceeds from the sales will help us continue our mission to feed and educate during these uncertain times.

To order and receive the new menu each month, message us via our delivery order form.

New Vegan Burger Patties for Healthy Foodies in Bangkok

New Vegan Burger Patties for Healthy Foodies in Bangkok

We’re excited to share that our new veggie burger patties are now available for sale in Bangkok. The patties are the result of a lot of hard work and testing, as well as feedback from our healthy eating supporters. Consider them as a healthy and filling meal, that is also part of our efforts to encourage everyone to eat better and reduce food waste.

Our veggie patties have come a long way from the early versions we tested!
Veggie burger patties perfect for vegan, vegetarians, or anyone eating healthy.

The patties we’ve created aren’t like the ones you’re seeing swapped for beef at fast food restaurants. Instead of an imitation meat, they’re homemade patties created using a special blend of vegetables and herbs. The main ingredient for the burgers is okara, the leftover soy pulp from making tofu. We blend the pulp with mushroom, spring onion, and dried spices before hand making each patty.

Courageous Kitchen youth and volunteer chefs baking okara cookies together.

Before the pandemic hit, our tofu making class had been generating a buzz with healthy eating expats and visiting tourists in Bangkok. When the lockdown happened, although our classes had to stop, we continued making tofu at home and supplying a few local restaurants. To make tofu you need to squeeze the moisture out of the soybeans, leaving the fibrous part of the bean behind. While it may seem like a worthless byproduct bound for the trashcan, okara still has plenty of nutritional value.

To avoid food waste, we’ve been experimenting with using the leftover okara in different recipes. We’ve made a variety of spreads, pastes, and even cookies. However, the most popular of our creations have been the veggie burger patties. The soy pulp allows them to be dense and pliable, while still being soft on the palate and enjoyable to eat. That’s not bad for a leftover food product that might seem worthless at first glance.

After a few months of testing, our veggie burgers are finally ready to arrive in buns around Bangkok.

You can buy your vegan and vegetarian burger patties through our partner Farmtastic. The company also carries our tofu and tempeh products, and a lot of other interesting food items. We hope to make them available in more places soon, and we appreciate your support while we navigate new sources of fundraising during this pandemic.

For more info on all of our current items for sale, find the full list on our new Food Products page.

Sweet Potato Leaf and Lemongrass Soup Recipe

Sweet Potato Leaf and Lemongrass Soup Recipe

Often overlooked because of the delicious sweet potatoes themselves, the leaves of the sweet potato plant are nourishing as well. Sweet potatoes grow in the soil unseen, but above them is where all of the action is happening. Given enough space sweet potato vines are prolific. They will act as ground cover, stretching across your yard, and when given the opportunity to climb, will grab hold of nearby plants, posts, and fences. With plenty of sun provided, the heart shaped leaves stay ever stretching to find new opportunities to sun bathe.

Young sweet potato leaves on the end of a sprawling plant. The leaves are edible and have no bitter after taste.

Any gardeners reading are likely to join in our enthusiasm for these tasty leaves. The same can’t be said of regular potato leaves which can be toxic. Pumpkin, squash and other gourds have leafy vines, but the leaves have a sticky layer on them that needs to be peeled. Then there’s the incredibly popular cruciferous greens like kale which are well known, but sweet potato leaves are seldom as bitter, often being neutral tasting. This means they’re also good for introducing more green into the diet of young people as well.

A few ideas for cooking sweet potato include having them raw in a salad, or as an addition to a green smoothie. When harvesting them for a salad, look for the tender young leaves, often a deeper color than the larger leaves. For stews, stir frys, and any heavier cooking, the larger leaves hold up well. We use the beautiful new leaves as a colorful and tender garnish on top of other dishes as well. These leaves appear darker in color and more waxy looking, but lose this sheen as they grow larger.

Mix up your usual salad greens by adding sweet potato leaves. Here a young sweet potato stem anchors this salad (with the dark leaves), along with butterfly pea flowers and sesame seeds.
Often the young leaves are darker in color and more tender, making them a great for garnishing other dishes like this gaeng som curry with durian.

Today we want to share a bowl of simple, sweet potato soup. The recipe is versatile, allowing for lots of variations. Feel free to make it your own, using different vegetables and locally grown herbs if needed. The point is for the soup to be a vehicle for nutrition, and a champion for biodiversity. The flavor comes from the combination of soft and hard aromatics in the recipe, basil leaves and lemongrass, and should only be mildly sweet with an optional touch of heat from fresh chili. Enjoy the recipe below with a heap of sweet potato leaves, and any other nearby and nutritious ingredients you have to add.

Ingredients

  • Serves: 4-6 people
  • Equipment: mortar and pestle, pot
  • Prep & Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1L water or stock
500g sweet potato leaves
500g winter melon (substitute another soft gourd like zucchini if needed)
1 angled gourd, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
5 lemongrass stalks, smashed
6 shallots, smashed
4 coriander roots, smashed
3-4 fresh Thai chili (substitute with mild chili or bell pepper if desired)
1 tbsp of palm sugar
1 cup of soy sauce
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black soy sauce
1 bunch of lemon basil (or other sweet tasting herb leaf, like Italian basil)

The leaves on the sweet potato vine are dominant in the garden, and they’re tasty enough to be dominate your soup bowls too!

Instructions

1) Prep all your ingredients, washing and peeling as neccesary. Before you start cooking, consider which vegetables you’re adding that may need more time than others to cook.
2) Pound your shallots, coriander root, and lemongrass in a mortar and pestle. Or bruise with a heavy object.
3) Add water to your pot with these three aromatics (shallot, lemongrass, and coriander root) and bring to a boil.
4) When the soup is fragrant and lightly boiling, add any tough vegetables like carrot, followed later by soft veg like winter melon and angled gourd. Cook until soft.
5) Adjust your heat to low and season by adding your palm sugar, soy sauce, black soy sauce, and salt. Taste and adjust as needed.
6) Turn off the heat and add your fresh handful of lemon basil.
7) When serving remember to avoid adding lemongrass into your serving bowl. You can remove it completely, but leaving it in the soup will allow it to continue to add flavor to the broth.

The dominant flavors in this soup are the lemongrass and basil flavors, followed by a slight sweetness from the palm sugar and shallots.

This recipe is suitable for a large family of 5-6 people and may put a big dent in your garden. Don’t worry though, the sweet potato plants are resilient, and can survive your pruning and nibbling. Do let us know if you loved this recipe by donating to our charitable work, or signing up for one of our online classes. Then check back soon for more updates and recipes!