I met Pam over a year ago when I held a macaron class to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. She signed up for the class and we got along straight away (it helped when I found out she worked in the food industry!). When the class ended, everyone left, but Pam and Kath stayed for lunch and that was the start of our friendship. Today, Pam is not only a great friend to me, but she is equally close to my siblings. She has an open invitation to all our family gatherings.
I learned this recipe from Pam. It comes from her Ama (grandmother). If I remember correctly, her Ama used to make this and another dish, Misua noodles, whenever it was someone’s birthday in their family. Then her Ama would personally deliver the food to each family. What a lovely tradition! One night Pam made this and the Misua for our family. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday but the amount of work she put in to the two dishes made all of us feel like it was!
I could eat this every day. Actually, that is a fact. There was a period where I must have eaten this for dinner two straight weeks – sometimes lunch and dinner. This is one of those dishes that tastes so good and is so filling that you don’t miss the fact that there is no meat! Two things I’ve changed – I’ve omitted the fresh lumpia/spring roll wrappers but you could easily purchase this from the frozen section of your grocery. I also omitted the sweet garlic sauce that you pour over the spring rolls. This recipe makes a lot – enough for at least 6 people. It also keeps well so great to make ahead.
- 50 ml vegetable oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons chicken powder
- 4 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
- 300 grams green beans, diced into 1 cm pieces
- 500 grams firm tofu, drained and diced into 1 to 2 cm pieces
- 200 grams crushed peanuts
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Coriander leaves for garnish
- Optional: Cut nori sheets for garnish
- Fresh lettuce leaves to serve
- In a large pot, heat the oil and add the onion, saute until translucent. Add the garlic and chicken powder (for seasoning)and cook for two to three minutes.
- Add the grated carrots and cook until wilted, around 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted, around 10 minutes. At this stage, you will notice a lot of liquid seeping out of the vegetables. Add the green beans continue to cook around 5 more minutes. You are looking for the beans to soften but retain some bite.
- Finally, add the tofu and mix into the vegetables and cook for another two to three minutes. (Optional step:Pam drained the vegetable/tofu filling before assembly.)
- Make the crushed peanut mixture by processing the peanuts, sugar and salt in a food processor for a few seconds
- To serve, place a heaping spoon on to the lettuce leaves, add the crushed peanut mixture, top with coriander and nori.