Monday, 7 March 2016

Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew

A Paleo lifestyle for me isn't all about meat, I grew up with meat free days whether it was consciously or unconsciously. My mum followed the Buddhist calendar and following certain ancestral ceremonies we had vegetarian days at home which I really loved. Her Vegetarian stew is one of my favourites eaten with steamed rice and fermented bean curd. 

Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
I've modified her recipe to make it paleo friendly as it originally contained fried tofu cubes and 'fake meat', made from all sorts of flours, sugar and additives. Soy sauce has been substituted with wheat free tamari (or you can also use coconut aminos). This version is as good as my mum's original recipe to me and I'm so glad to add this to my collection as my mum and I now live in different countries. 
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
This Vietnamese vegetarian stew is a great recipe to use up all the left over vegetables sitting in your fridge, so feel free to change up the list of vegetables. I really recommend okra if you have some (I didn't have any in the fridge and forgot to buy some for this recipe). A mixture of different mushrooms is also delicious! 

Mum's Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins approx
Serves: 4-6 

You will need (feel free to change up the vegetables with what is in season or in your fridge):

  • 1 small bitter melon
  • 1 medium to large Japanese eggplant (the long thin ones)
  • 1 medium carrot 
  • 1 medium daikon radish
  • 1/4 white cabbage about 400gm
  • 200gm fresh straw mushrooms (they are also available in cans but I try not to use canned goods, feel free to use whatever fresh mushrooms available)
  • 150gm fresh shitake mushrooms or 30gm dried shitake (soaked for 2 hours, stalk trimmed off)
  • 250gm green beans 
  • 3 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos (buy tamari from iherb or amazon or buy coconut aminos from iherb or amazon)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (buy on iherb or amazon)
  • Pepper (buy on iherb or amazon)


  • If using dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Soak mushrooms in room temperature water for 2 hours and remove stalks
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
If using dried Shitake mushrooms soak for 2 hours

  • Squeeze excess water from shiitake mushrooms and set the water aside (do not discard)
  • In a small saucepan add 1 tsp olive oil and set on medium high heat
  • add shitake mushroom with a pinch salt, few grinds of pepper and 1/2 cup of reserved shitake water, simmer and stir constantly until liquids evaporate completely
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Simmer shitake mushrooms until liquids evaporated

  • prepare the vegetables as followed and set aside:
  • Slice carrots 5mm thick
  • Slice daikon and eggplant 1 inch thick then quartered lengthways 
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Slice daikon and Japanese eggplant in 1 inch pieces then quarter
  • halve bitter melon and remove seeds then halve again lengthwise and cut into inch long pcs
  • cut the cabbage into 1.5 inch wedge then cut into chunks
  • trim the beans and cut in half
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Toss the veggies together in a large bowl
  • bring a large pot to medium high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp tamari and 1 tsp salt
  • add straw mushrooms and stir for 1 minute
  • add 1 tsp ground pepper
  • add prepared vegetables, mix well and add 1/2 cup reserved mushroom water
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
add the remaining veggies to the straw mushrooms
  • cover and leave on high heat for 10mins
  • uncover, stir the vegetables well and add the shitake mushrooms
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Add shitake mushrooms
  • taste the liquid (not veggie) for seasoning (more salt, tamari and pepper to taste, the more pepper the better!) 
  • simmer with lid off for further 5 mins to reduce the liquid
  • allow to cool for 20 mins before serving or room temp even better when the flavours are infused
  • Serve with rice and preserved fermented beancurd (found in asian grocery stores) or eat on its own! Lasts 4-5 days in the fridge

Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Hope you enjoyed this recipe :)

May xx
Love, create, explore & inspire


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