Today was a good day in my meat-free challenge, I think I just needed to get over the mid-week hump (a phrase I can’t usually stand to use but felt apt this week). So I’m going to put a different spin on the struggles of my week without meat.
I wasn’t at work today so I found myself with plenty of time on my hands to make some vegetarian delights and I used that extra time to my advantage. And to watch some TV I wanted to catch up on but mainly the whole vegetarian food thing.
To be honest, I thought it was going to be a boring day today. I bought a bag of lettuce and a pot of fresh soup yesterday because I was tired of coming up with these wild and wonderful recipes but, for some reason, I felt inspired this morning.
I’m blaming it on the soup. I’ve owned lettuce before and it’s never acted as a culinary inspiration, that I can recall.
The soup in question was a pot of GLORIOUS! Vietnamese Supergreen and it really wasn’t something I normally buy. I just saw it and figured, what the heck? I’ll give it a spin.
This soup is pretty damn awesome. I’d say my only criticism is that it says that the pot is 2 servings. Come on, GLORIOUS! what is this? A serving for ants?
I went full pot because of course I did.
I love South Asian flavours like Thai and Vietnamese and this soup perfectly hit the spot. It’s a sort of light pea soup which is full of lemongrass and lime (and I’m pretty sure I could taste some ginger in there…). It was also quite filling (the whole pot, half wouldn’t have been enough) because there’s stuff like quinoa and lentils in it.
It’s annoying because before I started this challenge, I was convinced that vegetarian soups were just like water with vegetables in or cream of tomato. I was happy with my sense of superiority as I enjoyed giant chunks of meat in my soups. Then something like this GLORIOUS! soup comes in and proves me wrong.
Because for some weird reason, I’m quite averse to eating ready-made meals I always like to include something homemade alongside it. With this being a soup, the only reasonable thing to do would be to make my own bread. It only seems fair.
I did a little research and found some amazing ideas for different breads to make until, eventually, I closed my laptops and decided to just make steamed bao buns. It was genius! They’re simple to make, incredible to eat and would be perfect to have with a Vietnamese soup.
I filled mine with some homemade pickled red cabbage, cucumber and avocado and when I dipped it in, it was glorious. I’d just like to say that I’m not proud of that pun but it is the right word.
I steamed the bun in lemongrass water so there was a light flavour there which meant that the flavour of the soup blended perfectly with the flavour of the bun and the occasional crunch and tanginess from the pickled vegetables added a bit of excitement to the smoothness of the soup.
Did I just say that crunchy vegetables were exciting? Sweet Lord, who have I become…
Before I say anything else as sad, I’ll just tell you how to make the buns now and then walk away…
3 Cups of Strong White Bread Flour (probably a bit more at hand, just in case)
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Active Yeast
Teaspoon of Salt
Teaspoon of Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water
Small “Glug” of Nut Oil
1 Lemongrass… quill, I think they’re called
Greaseproof paper (don’t use foil, just trust me on that)
- Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the warm water. Make sure it’s fully dissolved
- Mix the flour, rest of the sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl and make a well in the centre
- Pour in about 1/4 of the water/yeast and stir it in
- Pour in and mix in the oil
- Add the rest of the water in 1/4 amounts. If the mixture seems a bit wet, grab a handful of flour and stir it in
- Dust your work surface with flour, take the dough out of the bowl and give it a good kneading
- Keep working it until the dough is nice and smooth
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball and put it back in the bowl
- Cover the bowl with a dish towel and leave it somewhere warm until the dough just about doubles in size
- Punch that dough back into shape, or just press it down, your choice
- Rip off a handful of dough and roll it into a ball
- Squash the ball into an oval shape
- Lightly grease a piece of greaseproof paper which is roughly the size of the oval, you’re greasing on the side which will rest on the dough
- Using a chopstick, press an indentation in the middle of the dough and then fold the dough over
- Remove the chopstick
- Put the bun on top of another piece of lightly greased greaseproof paper and put it somewhere warm, not hot… warm. This is to let it prove again
- I steamed mine in a normal metal steamer because I don’t own an actual bun steamer and it actually worked alright
- Put the lemongrass in a pan of water and get the water boiling
- Put the steamer on top with the lid and leave it for about 8-10 mins
- Take the bun out and leave it to cool for a little bit. I actually burned my hands on mine, so don’t do that. It hurts.
- Fill your bun with whatever you want and then, if you’re really in this for a good time, dunk that bad boy into your soup. Seriously, it’s a revelation.
In case you were wondering, I wasn’t paid for this blog. I just think people should be congratulated on a job well done and GLORIOUS! did a good job.
If you’re doing the National Vegetarian Week Challenge, drop me a message and give me some inspiration. Otherwise, I’m going to spend the weekend eating eggs…