We’re coming to the end of January, ALREADY! And this month has gained a couple of renowned nickames around the cyberworld. Hashtags #drynuary and #veganuary have more than 2M posts on Instagram & Twitter, so I can’t help but end the month with my own vegan version of a most beloved dish here in Germany!
- 2 cups of cooked lentils
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of pineapple, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- cooked rice
Cheating or not, I’ve had the prepared lentils in the fridge for some days now, and this was an awesome meal-prepping trick that saved my afternoon as I came home starving after work! So, if you also manage to have your lentils ready, all you need to do is prep the skillet and get to work! Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the onions, carrot, jalapeño, ginger and garlic cloves. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the pineapple cubes – golden raisins also work nicely here! Finally, sprinkle in the curry & turmeric powders and salt, giving it all a good whisk.
Once the sauce starts looking smooth, add the lentils and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened enough to your desired consistency. Serve with rice and a sprinkle of lemon juice. This favorite is all over viet and chinese restaurants here in Germany, but once you see how easy to make it is, you’ll enjoy preparing it quickly at home with fresh ingredients of your own!
Asian restaurants worldwide are definitely a thing. Chinese restaurants seem to exist everywhere you go, and Viet cuisine has also become quite the popular go-to for a quick, cheap meal. What is it about them that makes them so successful anywhere they pop up?
I can’t even begin to imagine how many Asian restaurants there are in my city, let alone Germany. But I do know for a fact that the Chinese food here doesn’t compare one bit to that of the United States, AND much less to the one back home in Honduras. It seems the local Chinese cuisine varies from place to place in order to adapt best to the local flavors. Luckily enough, the basic taste is always there and I randomly find myself craving a good bowl of chop suey or a yummy coconut curry dish, which in most fast food chains here in town, a fusion of Chinese & Thai is the norm.
In any case, both cultures have embraced the ever-growing trend of veganism that is slowly becoming a very feasble lifestyle, considering all the options there are of great substitutes for your most beloved ingredients. Vegan dishes are a must in German menus now and lentils have gained some popularity being quite the super food and used broadly for most vegan dishes as a great substitute for ground beef, for instance. The supermarkets have also levelled up their game with aisles of vegan produce, ranging from vegan sausages to vegan bechamel sauce, even vegan eggs! What?! Yep. Look it up.
So, your chance is up to even try out the #veganuary challenge – maybe 2023?! – but don’t despair, I promise I will be embarking on a journey to inspire you to try cutting some meat off your diet – not only for the proven health benefits a more vegan diet has, but also as a step forward in making our world a better place. The damage and the strain the entire food industry is putting on our planet is old news, so it’s about time we actually start working on that ourselves. Baby steps.