Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spicy Sichuan Potato Strips 川味土豆丝

I never really like potatoes as a kid - all bland and mushy - I would push them around my plate in the hope they would somehow appear smaller and I would be let down from the table.  Sadly it never worked.

It wasn't until I landed in China that my love for the ol' potato finally blossomed. Having never really associated potatoes with Chinese cooking, I was surprised to find them everywhere, cooked in all sorts of ways I'd never seen before.  One of my definite favourites probably looks the least like the potato I was used to - stir fried potato strips.   Below is a concoction I made this evening - won't be pushing this around my plate!

Spicy Sichuan Potato Strips  川味土豆丝


1 large potato
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
3 dried whole chilies
1 tsp Sichuan Pepper Corns
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
A good few splashes of Sichuan Pepper Oil
1 spring onion, chopped
Oil for frying


Slice the potato into very thin strips and rinse off the starch.

Heat a good bit of oil in a wok until hot and add the dried chillies, pepper corns, then the garlic.

Fry until fragrant before adding the soy sauce, salt, sugar and pepper oil.

Add the potato strips and coat with the spicy mixture.  Cover with a lid and leave for a few minutes.

Take off the lid and stir.  Test a potato slice to make sure it has cooked through.  If not, put the lid on again for a few minutes and test again.

Once the potatoes have cooked through, sprinkle a little more pepper oil, adjust seasoning if needed and garnish with spring onion.

Eat with rice.  Num num.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Unlikely Find

So it always seems to be the restaurants that I would usually try to avoid that often come to hold the most vegan surprises and today was another instance where I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.  While in Dublin for the day we took a chance and walked into Nandos and were pleasantly surprised by their range of vegan options.

While at first glance the menu screams 'Peri Peri Chicken', it is in fact littered with vege options.  Not sure which ones were vegan, I asked the waitress who came back with a funky tomb of a book on all the menu options, listing each one on a different page with, among other things, whether or not the dish is vegan, vegetarian or coeilac - they even did the same with all of their sauces and marinades - my stars!

As it turns out most of their starters are vegan, they have a great looking couscous salad and have a spicy soya and tomato burger patty in wrap and pita that, without the mayo, are completely vegan.  Super impressed I ordered said Veggie Pita and was not disappointed.  I would definitely suggest you give it a whirl!  And if you are into spicy, melt-your-face-off-sauces, this is the place for you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This Week's Fun Find

Myself and the fiancee work on the edge of Galway City with only one supermarket between us and home, and up until last week I HATED it.  You could often find me there at 6pm, wandering the aisles, grumbling to myself  as to why the oil was hidden by the laundry detergent and why it was seemingly so hard to stock just one flavour of soy ice-cream, just one.

And it was mid such grumble last week when a white packet struck my eye - an odd looking square stuck between the pre-made salad bags and packets of croutons.  I craned my neck and cocked my head, but still couldn't work out what on earth I was looking at.  But somehow I had the distinct feeling I was looking at something rather familiar.

Long story short I was there for quite some time before it dawned on me that I'd found tofu!  And not just any tofu - a huge block of tofu for only, wait for it...€2!  And suddenly I was no longer grumbling and I was no longer moping - instead I was off to find the fiancee to share my find!

After buying several blocks and getting her home, I found that not only was it huge and inexpensive, it was some of the nicest tofu I have had in ages.  So nice in fact I started slicing bits off and eating it raw (now that's a measure for ya!).

Where you can find it:  Dunnes Stores (hiding between the croutons and salad bags..)
How much is it:  Only €2!