- Each individual recipe should be seasoned enough to stand up on it’s own but not enough to overpower anything else it’s going to be served with.
- Take it easy on the spice. Although recipe amounts are exact to my taste, you may not like as much spice as I do or you may want more. Better to use less at first and add more later, then add too much fire and burn your face off. Spice blends are my custom recipes. Google some spice blends and make your own. This is especially important if you have to take it easy on the spice level.
- Don’t be afraid to switch it up. These techniques are tried and true, Feel free to use different spice blends and cooking liquids to change the theme of these recipes to make your own vegan masterpiece.
- If you don’t have certain ingredients, don’t worry about it. Use what you have to do what you can, this is the essence of cooking. If you don’t have any crazy spice blends, salt and pepper will do it. If you don’t have coconut milk, just use water or stock or whatever you have. If you don’t have different types of vinegar for the collards, just use one or the other. Southern style traditionally leans more towards the distilled white. I used a few different ones to build levels of flavor that complimented the finished dish, you don’t have to do that to make some really good collards. If you don’t have access to lemongrass paste, any other flavor element will work (e; ginger, cilantro, garlic, curry, chilies, etc). If you don’t have baby peppers, any peppers will do. If you don’t like or can’t have salt, don’t put any. That goes for any of the ingredients. If you can’t or don’t have collards, cabbage will do there as well. You can make it work if you are determined enough.
- If you mess it up or you don’t like how it comes out, make a note of what you liked or didn’t like and try again. That is how you get better at cooking.
Serves 4 – 6
28 ounces jackfruit – (2 cans) rinsed, drained and shredded
1 shallot or 1/5 of a white onion, julienne
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp jerk seasoning (mine was a bit too spice for the judges so may want to tone it down a bit if you don’t like a lot of spice)
Coconut oil of your choice, I used coconut oil
1 – 2 regular sized cans of high fat coconut milk (low fat coconut milk is too thin for this preparation)
Himalayan pink salt to taste
1 cup coconut crystals
Avocado oil to taste
- Saute the onions and garlic over medium high heat until just starting to become translucent.
- Turn the heat up and add the jackfruit then saute until the jackfruit starts to get some good color. Season to taste with the jerk spice, coconut crystals and salt. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Deglaze with coconut milk and stir to get all the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pan. Once deglazed, add enough coconut milk for the jackfruit to be just above the level of liquid and cook down until liquid is the desired saucy consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve hot or allow to rest cover until service, or place in storage container and allow to cool uncovered until room temp then cover and place in the fridge.
Lemongrass Carrot Puree
Makes 1 quart
1/2 pound white or yellow carrots, scrubbed or peeled and chopped
water as needed
salt as needed
2 – 4 oz lemongrass paste (you can use gourmet garden or something like that, or make your own)
- Place chopped and cleaned carrots in a stock pot and cover with water. Season the water with any spices of your choosing, salt and 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and allow to boil until the carrots are cooked to mush. You should be able to smoosh a piece in a spoon no problem.
- Strain carrots and reserve the liquid. In a high powered blender, puree the carrots with the rest of the lemongrass paste or as much as you like. Add some of the reserved boiling liquid, just enough to loosen up the carrots as they puree. You will need to tamp or spoon down the mix a few times. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Puree until completely smooth.
- Once completely smooth, pass through a fine strainer with a plastic spatula.
- Fill sauce bottle and reserve for service or place in storage container and allow to cool uncovered until room temp then cover and place in the fridge.
Curry Collard Greens
Serves 4 – 6
5 pounds large collard green leaves, stemmed, cleaned and rough chopped
1 large yellow onion, julienne
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 quart reserved carrot lemongrass water
3 – 4 inches of charred ginger (fresh ginger that use been held over an open flame until fully blackened and partially cooked on all sides)
salt as needed
pepper as needed
4 oz curry powder (if you have an issue with spicy foods, try making your own blend)
1 pint distilled vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sherry vinegar
juice and zest of 2 – 3 oranges (about a cup of liquid), strain the juice
2 coconut crystals or sweetener of your choice
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
coconut oil as needed
vegan butter as needed
- In a large stock pot, saute the onions and garlic over medium low heat until translucent then add the curry powder. Stir to incorporate. Allow to cook until the curry is aromatic.
- Add a little of the reserved carrot water and a few handfuls of collards to fill the pot. With tongs or a wooden spoon, stir down the collards until they begin to wilt. Once wilted, add some vinegar and a few more handfuls of collards. Repeat the process of wilting the collards with the steam of carrot water and vinegar, alternating between them all, until all the collards and carrot water and vinegar are all in the pot. Add the coconut crystals and milk, stir to incorporate. Add the charred ginger and submerge. Taste a piece of collard.
- Reduce heat a little and allow the liquid to simmer until it starts to thicken or reduces by half. Add the orange juice and reduce by half again. Taste a piece of collard.
- Add butter, salt, pepper and orange zest to season to taste. Taste a piece of collard.
- Continue cooking and seasoning and tasting until the collards are no longer bitter or harsh, are tender and fully cooked but still have some bite, and the liquid has a rich saucy consistency.
- Serve hot or allow to rest until cool enough to handle or place in storage container and allow to cool uncovered until room temp then cover and place in the fridge.
serves 4 – 6
7 – 8 leaves of purple cabbage, finely shredded
7 – 8 leaves of green cabbage, finely shredded
juice and zest of 4 limes
2 tbsp of lemongrass paste
salt to taste
2 tbsp avocado oil
- In two separate bowls, whisk two limes worth of zest and juice with a pinch of salt and a tablespoons of avocado oil.
- Toss the different cabbages in the lime dressing in each of the different bowls. Season to taste and allow them to sit for at least 10 – 15 minutes at room temp or overnight covered in different containers..
Lemongrass Carrot Puree
LunchBox or Baby Peppers
Crispy Plantain Chips or Fried Sweet Plantains
Lemon oil or avocado oil, optional
Crystalized salt, optional
To make yourself a plate, spoon or squirt some sauce on your plate. Put a spoonful or two of the collards in the middle of the plate and top with a spoon full of the jerk jackfruit. Top with the two types of shredded cabbage, sliced baby peppers and plantain chips or fried sweet plantains. Garnish with lemon oil or avocado oil and some nice salt crystals.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Tai Dempster