"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘Latin’ Category

Vegan Bobó de Camarão

I love the memories of consistent home cooked meals with friends and family around. Growing up, this was more of a weekly event but later with my friends, I recall more of a monthly get together. What is especially on my mind is the times of hanging out with my Brazilian friends. One friend specifically, Janaina, did the cooking. Today she is a chef and it’s of no surprise to me. Her food was always amazing! I must have asked for the Bobó de Camarão so many times that I had no choice but to learn how to make it. I guess you will have to ask her for the non-vegan secrets but for now, I will share the recipe as I veganized it! This was a dish that I made in December for a work holiday party. 

Bobó de Camarão is a delicious Brazilian dish made with shrimp and a beautiful puree involving coconut milk. This dish is inspired from the region of Bahia, Brazil. There are probably a few different ways to make it and I’m confident that this way is up there among the best. 

This is the recipe how I made it using an extra large pot!

Shrimp– I used fake shrimp that actually resemble the real ones quite well except for the texture which may take a little getting used too. It’s vegan though!

Onions– 1 red onion
Scallions– 1 bunch
Garlic– 3 cloves

Tomatos– 3-4 medium sized
Bell peppers– 2- 4 colorful ones
Cilantro– 1 bunch
Water- about 4 cups but use your judgement
Tomato sauce– 1 or 2 cans
Coconut milk– 1 or 2 cans
Yucca– I use 1-2 frozen packages but you van use fresh too
Sazon con Azafran– 1-2 packets. I hear they have MSG free ones! 
Talisca– Azeite De Dente Talisca 1/5 bottle

  • Begin with a sauté using the oil, garlic, onions and scallions.
  • Add in the tomatoes and bell peppers, chopped and diced finely (and water to almost cover it)
  • Add the Sazon, salt, pepper and cilantro
  • Once this gets going I add in more water and really let that build flavor
  • Next I use the canned tomato sauce.
  • Later if I want it even thicker I may add a small can of paste. What’s interesting is watching the color and flavors of this puree as it changes and builds momentum.
  • Once this has absorbed and cooked, I add in the coconut milk. I use between 1 and 2 cans depending on the flavor and how much I am making.
  • Next I add the shrimp.I like the shrimp from MAY WAH. This VEGAN SHRIMP is a different taste for many, but certainly one that you can get used to that doesn’t harm shrimp or other fish caught from the shrimping industry; not to mention that they are bottom dwellers- so they are not the healthiest of the seafoods to begin with. Here are the ingredients: INGREDIENTS• Water • Konjac Powder • Beta Glucan • Modified Potato Starch • Paprika • Sugar • Sea Salt • Carrageenan • Alginate • Calcium Hyroxide 
  • The yucca I cooked first in a separate pot. I blend it in a good food processor- this is where I had a problem. The yucca burnt out my Montel Health Master and yes I am mad about it. I had to resort to my regular and smaller food processors. This was not easy. Perhaps I needed more liquid or perhaps I just needed a new high end processor like the Vitamix that I got for Christmas. In any case, I added this yucca to the mix but was not able to achieve the floating masterpiece that she so eloquently and deliciously makes.

To recap the secrets: Work in steps, build the flavor, track down the Brazilian oil.. and then learn how to float the yucca on top like a dumpling! Have fun with it!

Thank you Janaina for inspiring me how to cook and thanks for the final tip- I needed to add more of the actual puree to my yucca mixture in the blender. I guess it’s not Montel’s fault after all. Just kidding, I always take responsibility for my cooking errors no matter how many!

Vegan day 120: The V-Spot Cafe in Brooklyn

I finally made it over to the V-SPOT Cafe in Park Slope! I have been waiting for them to reopen after their renovation. Now their new hours only include Thursday through Sunday. They have a side business in catering their vegan food to many of the NYC health food stores- it’s their retail division and you can access information about it on their website. Still- I wish they were open every day or at least 6 days a week! Vegans need to eat too! lol
This is definitely one of my favorite places to eat- mostly because it’s in Brooklyn 
and it’s LATIN VEGAN!

For months, I have been craving their kale tostadas and their bandeja paisa so I knew exactly what I was going to order! Bandeja Paisa is a famous Colombian dish known to really have everything on it: rice, beans, plantains, sausage, pork, beef, eggs, avocado and arepa! I have actually eaten it many times- even in Colombia! Those days of super indulgence and mega meats are gone for me- luckily, since I like my new and improved waistline!

SO.. the kale tostadas were delicious- hands down! I love them and could have even ordered more! The picture doesn’t show the beans or sauce which are under the kale. We also ordered the summer roll- another favorite of mine which was simply perfect– light, crisp vegetable taste tightly rolled as one piece with an incredible peanut sauce on the side. 

My bandeja paisa was pretty good and definitely fulfilling! 
I remember it a bit different the last time I had eaten there. I think they changed up the “vegan beef”- I am not a fan of the vegan ground beef. I think before it was soy but I’m not sure. The arepa was delicious as were the rice, beans and other protein “meats”. Honestly, I will have to try it again- it’s been even better in the past. The maduros looked a little overcooked but I guess not because they were really delicious.

My friend had the seitan quinoa dish which looked good but had a slight burnt taste to it. Quinoa should taste nutty if anything but not burnt. Quinoa cooks fast- if you remember back last month in my blog, I think I burnt it like twice before I got it right- AND I KNOW HOW TO COOK IT– I was just multi-tasking! If you ask me… if you burn something- you have to throw it out. Don’t give me the top part thinking that the burnt flavor didn’t travel up lol. I’m not saying that’s what they did- my friend liked it just fine! I’m just picky I guess but very polite. The seitan part of it was made really well- super delicious!

I think I am starting to look like a food critic because they gave us dessert on the house which was the highly recommended carrot cake- and it was delicious for sure! Our waiter was absolutely a sweetheart!

While we were finishing up, we saw a few more exciting vegan items come out- french fries and buffalo wingswho says you can’t have fun being vegan! It may not be the healthiest but for sure animals were pardoned and parts of our environment saved!

I jokingly wanted to steal the hot sauce- it was that good! They sell their own line of products so maybe the next time that will be available and a cute little V-Spot tee shirt! 
I love this place no matter what and I will be back again- I wish they would open earlier in the week– I’ll just put that thought out into the universe for now!
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Sunday April 29th 2012 blog]