I'm always creating new recipes. For one, I have to keep you all happy by sharing new recipes. For two, I get bored with making the same thing all the time. And third, now that we're in Tanzania I need to create new recipes based on what is available here. Today I'll share the process I go through to create my recipes so you can create your own recipes and keep things exciting in your kitchen. This is the same process I used to create all of the yummy recipes in my Food For The Soul From Ama's Kitchen recipe book.
For instance kale salad was a staple recipe in our house when we were in Atlanta. In fact I have 4 kale recipes in my recipe book Food For The Soul From Ama's Kitchen. None of them work as is here in Tanzania.The kale is different here. And until I started growing my own I hadn't seen any in the markets. Or at least I didn't think I had. Around here collards, kale and the like are all called sukuma wiki. Now that I see what my 1000 headed kale (the variety of seeds available here) looks like, I may have indeed seen it at the market. It looks very similar to my collards. Here is a fresh picked bunch from my garden.
I also can't find dulse flakes here. No organic shoyu. No chipotle pepper powder. No nutritional yeast either but I did get a friend to bring some when she went to the states last fall. That's just the basics.
It's time to create some NEW kale salad recipes.
So how do I do it? Today I'll show you how.
Start with a existing recipe
As with the kale salad, many times I already have a recipe in mind that I want to change, veganize, improve on, or update. Or maybe I had something at a restaurant that I liked and I want to recreate it. In this case I started with the basic Opare Kale salad recipe.
Or this week I felt like some lentil soup. While it's probably getting warmer where you are, it's starting to get colder here. That coupled with the rainy season makes for chilly evenings. So I took to the internet to find a lentil soup recipe. I found two that sounded good to use as a starting point.
Decide what sounds good and what you don't like
Not a problem with the kale salad. It's OUR recipe! I like it all. However with the lentil soup, the main recipe I planned on using as a jumping off point called for ¼ cup oil. Now, we've been avoiding as much oil as we can, (you can find out why here) so that needed to go. I also thought the spice amounts needed boosting.
Figure out what ingredients you have and what replacements you have
Here is where my challenge started. Unfortunately for my kale salad there just aren't replacements for some items. But I can use fresh hot peppers instead of the chipotle pepper powder. I can add shredded carrots instead of sprouts. I substituted regular soy sauce for the shoyu. The first try I didn't have any avocado so I also added fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
For the lentil soup I used coconut cream (which I have in abundance) instead of the oil to make it creamy. I used a herb mix instead of the thyme because that's what I had on hand. I also used miso paste added to water instead of vegetable broth.
Make it and assess it!
Ok, so the kale salad was NOT good. The cucumbers just didn't go. The tomatoes didn't either. And the dark soy sauce was too much! It made the whole thing look like it had been sitting around for days. This one was a fail. But it taught me things that made the next try better.
The soup however was right on point! It was so good we ate it all up. I can't wait to make it again. And I promise to post the recipe some time in the future.
Repeat and make changes until the recipe meets your satisfaction.
I went back to the drawing board with the kale salad and decide to just keep it simple. I didn't add anything that wasn't a replacement for something else. Except I did throw in some sesame seeds. I used a lighter soy sauce. I added avocado slices. The result was very tasty. I'll keep refining and adjusting and working on creating more kale salad recipes Tanzanian style.
Now it's your turn!
If you already make your own recipes share any tips or techniques you use. If you DON'T then now it the time to start. Pick a recipe for something you used to make that isn't vegan. Or pick a recipe that you've been wanting to try. See how you can make them fit your plant-based or raw vegan lifestyle and your taste preferences. Then come tell us how it turned out in the comments below.