The Vegetarian

East Asian Recipes

Vegetarian Bi Bim Bap


Vegetarian Jap Chae

Korean Omelette rolls

Agedashi Tofu


Miso Soup

 Vegetarian Bi Bim Bap

- Korea

My version of a popular Korean dish. This dish does require some effort in preparation, and if serving fewer than 4 people you are likely to have many vegetables half left-over... for example half a daikon radish. However, it is such a yummy dish that you could eat it twice in a week, and you can change the vegetables to something which you are more likely to use the next day. There is not much actual cooking required.
Feel free to experiment, and add your favourite vegetables. I feel that the daikon radish, the bean sprouts and the spinach are irreplaceable - in that it "doesn't feel right" if they are not included, but the other vegetables, and tofu could be varied.

- serves 4 people

Glutinous rice/Japanese rice - enough to serve 4 (eg.3 rice cups, or 2 metric cups) - cook as usual.
 Bean sprouts - 2 handfuls, rinsed in water and drained.
1 Daikon radish - small
4 eggs
4 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 small zucchini
1 small carrot
1 small packet of firm tofu.
2 handfuls of shitake mushrooms (or your favourite mushroom)
4 tablespoons of korean hot pepper paste -see picture
2 teaspoon of crushed garlic.
sesame oil
sesame seeds
rice wine vinegar
light soy sauce
oil for frying.
-Have a separate bowl ready for each vegetable.

Prepare the rice as usual and set aside.

Weight the tofu (wrap in clean tea-towels in a plate and place another plate with some weight on top of this). This will squeeze some liquid out of the tofu.

Peel and slice the daikon radish, carrot and zucchini into thin 5cm long strips (or julienne). Keeping them in separate piles. Wash the spinach and remove large stems.

Mix together equal parts of mirin and rice wine vinegar, for example 4 tablespoons of each. Taste and adjust to obtain just the perfect mix of sweet and acid. Once perfected, divide this mixture into two separate bowls. Add the sliced carrot to one bowl, add the sliced daikon radish to the other and let them sit in the liquid to absorb the flavour. If you can do this the day before the result is better.

Boil a pot of water (or microwave) and dunk the spinach in to blanch it. As soon as the spinach turns a deeper green colour, move it to a bowl of cold water. After cooling, drain the water and flavour with a dash of light soy sauce, a sprinkle of sesame oil and some crushed sesame seeds.

Wash the bean sprouts. Drain of water and flavour with a dash of light soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame oil.

Wash and slice the mushrooms, fry on low heat in a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil. When the mushrooms shrink and look cooked, add a dash of light soy sauce. ( I have used king oyster mushroom in the picture)

In a teaspoon of oil fry the garlic and a teaspoon of salt. As the garlic just starts to brown add the zucchini. Stirring, continue to fry until the zucchini is warmed through and coated in garlic. Set the zucchini aside in a separate bowl.

Unwrap the tofu. Slice into small pieces (your preference of size). Heat some oil and fry the tofu until all sides are just brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with some light soy sauce.

Finally fry an egg for each person (4 eggs) - sunny side up. Make sure to leave the yolk runny.

Now the fun part. In 4 large bowls arrange the rice - making a mound of rice in the centre of the bowl. The larger the bowl the better. Surround the rice with the various vegetables, trying to display them as triangular areas around the rice. Place the Korean chilli paste either on the rice or in a small dish to accompany the bowl. Place the fried egg on top and serve.

For some reason, I feel a yearning for some Miso soup when I eat this dish... oh and best eaten with chopsticks to be able to savour the individual flavours.



This delicious and healthy dish is well-known throughout the world now. It is a tragedy if you don't know how to make your own - the beauty of sushi is that it is healthy and you can use whatever fillings you prefer!
I will of course use my favourite fillings.
Sushi rice and seaweed sheets are now available in the Asian section of most supermarkets.

-to serve 2 people.

Sushi rice - 2 rice-cooker cups of raw rice. (rice-cooker cup is 160ml)
Nori sheets (dry seaweed in sheets)
1 egg
soy sauce
handful of mushrooms - your favourite variety.
handful of alfalfa
1 avocado.
1 small capsicum.

Prepare the rice as usual, but time it so that it should just finish cooking just when you are ready to roll the sushi.

In a bowl, beat the egg as you would for an omelette. Add a dash of soy sauce - just enough to change the colour of the egg mix to a light caramel colour. Lightly oil a large flat frying pan, and fry the egg mixture a little at a time to achieve thin, flat omelettes.
Once the omelettes have cooled slice them into long thin strips.

Wash and slice the mushrooms. Saute with a little oil and soy sauce, until cooked and set aside to cool.

Slice the avocado into thin strips. Clean the capsicum and cut into similar thin strips.

Lay out the nori sheets shiny side down (use a bamboo sushi rolling mat if you have one, but this is not necessary). Spread a thin layer of the still warm sushi rice onto the nori sheet, but keep about an 1 inch strip of nori sheet at one edge empty of rice. Thin the layer of rice as much as possible, and keep it as even as possible. Use your hands, and the back of a large spoon- some water on your hands and the spoon will help to stop the rice sticking to you and coming away. Make sure you have left 1 inch of empty nori sheet along one edge. Keep a shallow, wide dish of water beside you... it comes in useful.

Arrange the filling ingredients, in a long strip across the rice. This strip should be about 1 inch in from the edge opposite to the edge of nori that was left empty of rice.

Once you have arranged the filling to your satisfaction, roll the nori and rice over the filling. Continue to roll until the empty edge of nori sheet. If the rice is still warm, the sushi should stick together quite easily. If not, then use some warm water on a finger to moisten the free edge of nori sheet to make it stick to the roll. Set aside with the newly stuck on edge down to the table.

After you have rolled as many rolls as possible with the rice you have, commence slicing the rolls. For this use a sharp knife, dipped in water. The water will help the knife to slice through the nori sheet without deforming the roll too much, and stop the rice sticking to the knife.

Arrange neatly on a serving platter and enjoy. Try with some wasabi paste and soy sauce.

Try this website - for some pictures on how to roll the sushi.

 Vegetarian Jap Chae (Chap Chae)


I love sweet potato noodles... they have such a chewy texture and they look transparent!

250g Sweet potato noodles
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sesame seeds - lightly toasted
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
5 spring onions- sliced
1 packet of fried tofu puffs - cut each in half.
3cups of bok choi leaves - sliced lengthways, and stalks removed.
1 cup of snow peas - de-stringed and sliced lengthways
1 carrot - chopped to matchsticks
1 red onion - sliced thinly
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
200g of mushrooms (shiitake if possible) - sliced

You will probably need to visit an asian grocery store to find vegetarian oyster sauce, and tofu puffs(in the fridge).

Mix the sesame seeds, spring onion, sesame oil, mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar and oyster sauce together.

Break the sweet potato noodles in half and then boil in a pot of water for about 5 minutes - until soft but still chewy. Drain the noodles and set aside.

In a large nonstick wok heat up 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, add the red onion, mushrooms, tofu puffs. Stir and fry for a few seconds. Add the noodles and the sauce mixture and continue to stir over medium high heat. Simmer and stir until the noodles absorb almost all the sauce.

Add the bok choi leaves, snow peas and carrots and mix into the noodles until the bok choi and snowpeas begin to deepen in colour. Remove from heat and serve immediately to a cold container to cool down the noodles.

Is delicious when eaten hot or after refrigerating!

 Korean Omelette Rolls

Personally I think this is a great way to use up some left-overs.
-serves 2 as a side dish.

3 eggs
1 spring onion
1/2 a small carrot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 sheet of seaweed (nori)
+/- chilli

Slice the spring onion and carrot as finely as possible. I used a potato-peeler to make thin carrot slices before slicing them again with a knife into thin sticks.

Beat together the eggs, spring onion and carrot. Season with salt.

Oil a non-stick pan and fry the mixture to make an omelette.

I'm afraid I didn't have a square pan, however next time I think I will try using my sandwich press... might be yet another good use for the sandwich press.

Next place a sheet of seaweed (nori) over the omelette and roll together. Slice through the whole roll crossways to make 1/2inch thick slices and serve.

Note that my omelette was made in a round pan - therefore a round omelette was rolled over a square sheet of nori- leaving a free edge of just nori sticking out of the roll. I found it was quite difficult to cut through the edge of nori which was on the outside of the omelette. Next time I will try to make a square omelette, and will probably make it a little thinner.

I think this would be great with some Korean hot pepper paste added too.

 Agedashi Tofu

 - Japan

Japanese (soft) Tofu

Corn flour

oil for deep frying

+/- salt

+/- pepper

+/- 1 spring onion

+/- pickled ginger

+/- wasabi

+/- soy sauce

+/- dashi

+/- mirin

Weight/Press the tofu. Line a large flat based dish with lint-free paper towels or kitchen hand towels. Carefully place the tofu on this. Place more towels on top of the tofu. Place another flat dish (a reasonably heavy one e.g. 500g) on top of the towels. You should now have - flat dish, towels, tofu, towels, heavy dish. Leave it for an hour.

In an hour check the tofu and change the towels - they will be soaking!

Repeat the process. Usually the tofu will be dry enough after 2 rounds of this.

Coat the tofu in corn flour (+/- salt and pepper mixed into the corn flour) - it sticks easily to the slightly damp tofu. Two coatings of corn flour is adequate. After the first coating let the tofu sit a minute - it will become damp again so that you can apply a second coating.

Heat up oil (I prefer olive oil) in a large pan and try to deep fry all the tofu in one or two batches. Fry until just golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Serve and eat immediately! - They will become soggy if you let them sit for too long. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly sliced spring onion, pickled ginger and broth. I prefer a broth made with soy sauce, dashi and mirin in  a 2:2:1 mixture. Or you can also sprinkle with sesame seeds or roasted seaweed (nori) strips.

Gyoza or Dumplings

1 packet of gyoza wrappers (these are circular)


Tofu or mock fish

potato or sweet potato



Herbs such as spring onion, chives, coriander

Lemon or lime juice

salt and pepper

Precook the tofu and potato, spinach and carrot, until soft. Be careful not to overcook the spinach - a quick blanch is adequate. Finely chop the herbs.

Mix all the filling ingredients together and mush together until you have a consistent mix of tofu, potato and herbs. You don't want to have large pieces, but you want some texture to remain. Add salt and pepper and taste. Keep adjusting until the salt and pepper are perfectly balanced. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Next fill the gyoza wrappers. Hold one wrapper cupped in your left hand and spoon in a tablespoon of filling. Then with both hands fold the wrapper in half. Wet the tip of one finger and wet the inside edge of the wrapper. Pleat one side of the wrapper starting from the centre and working your way out first to the left then to the right. Only one side of the wrapper is pleated, and the two sides are pressed together to form a tight package.

Gyoza style - use a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan to first fry the bottom of the gyoza. Then add some water and close with a tight lid until the whole gyoza is steamed through and translucent.

Dumpling style - use a steamer and line with baking paper. Steam the gyoza without frying.

Serve with a salty/sweet/spicy sauce. For example mix some soy sauce, mirin and chilli together. Delicious!

 Miso Soup




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