The Venial Vegetarian: Apologies to Asians

The Venial Vegetarian: Apologies to Asians

• I’ve never been able to get past the mental block of eating meat. I like to think that I’m logical enough that should I be stranded on a desert island with nothing to eat but cadavers, the will to live would rule supreme. I once proffered this opinion to an evangelistic vegetarian convert and she never spoke to me again. This pragmatism served me well on a recent trip to South Korea where the concept of vegetarianism is not exactly clear. “It’s just soybean”, Thomas Kang assured me, as I spread the homogenized paste on a cabbage leaf and took a bite, “with only a bit of shrimp”. Oops, sorry! He was all apologies as he guided me to fried and battered zucchini rounds. I savored the humble vegetable with relief and reached for a second one. Too bad it was battered fish.

• What’s a vegetarian to do, but cook up decidedly unauthentic alternatives guaranteed to have no fish sauce (shakes fist at Thai restaurants ) or errant morsels of meat that find their way into the wok? I know I’ve looked down my sharpish nose at those generic “curries” while guiltily making my own transgressions into a foreign cuisine.  So I offer abject apologies to authentic Asian cooks everywhere, while serving up my favorite non-denominational “Asian” dinner…fast, flavorful and free of flesh.

No Recipe Tofu: The tofu is delicate, not deep fried, in this dish. Perfect for soaking up the complex flavors in the spicy sauce.

Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry: This is a recipe adapted from David Crowley ‘s blog Cooking Chat. A feast for the eye, it combines the fresh crunch of stir fried vegetables with the roasted richness of cashew.

Ginger Noodle Salad: From Shinae Choi Robinson ‘s recipe, tossed with baby greens, sesame oil and juliened ginger. I didn’t have sushi ginger (“gari”) on hand so she suggested I make my own.

For Recipes, vegetarian anecdotes and pictures of my trip to S. Korea:

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190 Responses to The Venial Vegetarian: Apologies to Asians

  1. Rajini Rao says:

    Wait, have a bite of spicy tofu, Feisal!  😀

  2. Awesome post! Siromi Samarasinghe will appreciate this since she’s a vegetarian too 🙂

  3. E.E. Giorgi says:

    those look so yummy!! if I cooked vegetables as well as you guys do I probably wouldn’t even notice if I suddenly became vegetarian.

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    Buddhini Samarasinghe , it’s so hard to get veggie Asian food without the fish/oyster sauce…and I love the flavors of Thai, Korean and other Asian cuisines.

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Aww, thanks E.E. Giorgi 🙂

  6. Love those photos, the colours, the textures … I can practially smell them!  Now I’m hungry 🙂

  7. You’re a true cordon bleu.

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    Shah Auckburaully , not at all..just when I’m in the mood (you should see how I burn stuff when I’m distracted and don’t care to cook) 🙂

    Shaker Cherukuri , is that a well-known chain? I haven’t seen it around here.

  9. Rajini Rao says:

    Wow, their menu looks good, Shaker!

  10. Shrimps are a problem. A couple of months ago I got a tofu and algae soup in a Chines restaurant so good I wanted a second one. This time I didn’t tell them again I’m vegetarian and so on, so I guess they forgot about it and this second soup had lots of those tiny shrimps. 😦

    By the way, Rajini Rao, have you seen the post I’ve shared with you a while ago? Long onions cooked on flames and dip into a nuts and spicies sauce.

  11. I love the ‘trifecta.’ There may be nothing else to eat in the house, but you can always be 110% sure of finding Sriracha, Hoisin sauce and black bean paste around our place.

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Agree, John Jainschigg . I make my own Sriracha now..super easy and potently hot and garlicky..keeps in the fridge. Love the black bean paste and Hoisin sauce, what would I do without them 🙂

  13. Rajini Rao says:

    Víktor Bautista i Roca , no! I didn’t get a notification. Let me check your profile…

  14. Chad Haney says:

    It is difficult to make real Thai food without fish sauce. So go ahead and shake your fist at me.

  15. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ll stick my tongue out instead. What about the vegetarian Buddhist monks?

  16. At your leisure, please post recipe for home-made Sriracha? I’ve made vinegar-based hot sauces in the ‘American’ style, and tomato-/vegetable -puree-based ones with cooked and uncooked ingredients, but looking at the ingredients list on the mass-market Sriracha here, I’m seeing rather a lot of Xanthan Gum being used for (presumably) texture.

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    This Sriracha recipe is dead simple and tastes great:

    Here are my pictures of it:

    Jim Carver was experimenting with the fermented version. I’ll see if he posted a link. I guess you just leave the chilies in the vinegar until it gets all bubbly, then bring it to a boil to stop everything.

  18. Thanks so much! No Fresno chilies in the house, but we’ll see how it tastes when made out of some of this past season’s habanero crop! Mwa-ha-ha! Very interesting post on the capsaicin receptor channel, btw. 

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    I swear I feel a rush of endorphins when my capsaicin receptors are activated!

  20. Yash Kommula says:

    Wow. Gotta go grab a snack now. Lol, thanks for the share!

  21. Rajini Rao says:

    Sean Carolan , sometimes I try to fool myself then I get a whiff of something fishy 😉

  22. Rajini Rao says:

    After I went to all the trouble of explaining what I could eat to a very nice and friendly Korean waiter, he brought out a vegetable soup with abalone! I ate around it 😛

  23. Thanks for the awesome post Rajini!. I have been vegetarian since 2003, not due to religious reasons, or that I disliked the taste of fish/ meat but for ethical reasons. But recently I had to give up being a total vegetarian due to health reasons, my doctor warned me I wasnt getting enough nutrition, that I was under weight etc and I started eating fish. Also, I found that being a total vegetarian was causing some inconvenience to my hosts when planning the menu and eating out, especially during my recent trip to the US where I spent one month. So now I am not a total vegetarian, I eat fish.

  24. Thanks for the mention, Rajini Rao. We do eat meat a few times a week here, But we try to be pretty veggie focused in our eating, as evidenced by the 50+ vegetarian recipes on my Cooking Chat blog!

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    Siromi Samarasinghe , I think that vegetarian food is a bit low in protein unless one makes a conscious effort to have lentils and dairy. Traditionally, in India, our menus are naturally balanced from generations of eating vegetarian food. Here in the US, it’s easy to get lazy and fill up on carbs..that’s the only problem I’ve noticed. Otherwise, we get plenty of iron, other minerals and vitamins.

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    I love trying recipes from your Cooking Chat blog, David Crowley . Thanks!

  27. Tom Lee says:

    I’m not a vegetarian but I still appreciate the look of those dishes, especially  the tofu dish, looks a bit like Chinese mapo tofu in some popular Chinese restaurant around here in silicon valley, except that mapo tofu dish has ground pork and dry hot chili peppers in it. Other dishes also look good. Some Chinese vegatarian restaurants around here also offer a veggie mapo version which also tastes very good. 🙂

  28. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao Haha, that’s so funny! I wanted to tell you how it came out. It is really good. I just had some and it’s almost gone. After it fermented in the Mason jar, I just sealed it up and put it in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

    I did add some extra vinegar to it after that to be safe, but it didn’t need it. I think it did make it taste better though.

    If you wanted to sieve it and put it back in the jar that would be fine also. I just didn’t feel the need to do that in my case and it was fine.

    If anybody wants more details I can provide that, but this is so easy it’s pathetic. 😉

  29. Rajini Rao says:

    That sounds like a Szechuan dish, Tom Lee .

  30. Rajini Rao says:

    Jim Carver , it would be interesting to compare the fermented and unfermented versions for taste. Does the fermentation make it taste sharper or more tangy?

  31. Chad Haney says:

    There is no such thing. By having no possessions and having the humility to require the generosity of others, a Buddhist monk has to eat what is offered.

  32. Rajini Rao says:

    Oh my, it’s a good thing I finished dinner or I would be catching a flight to Florida Rashid Moore 🙂 It’s rare to find a Sri Lankan restaurant here in the US. Your oatmeal innovation sounds like a nice complement to the spicy veggies.

  33. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao I was actually surprised about how mellow it was and sweet-sour with good balance. I’ll make a post of it sometime soon because I’m about to be out. 🙂 Here’s what I learned real quick:

    I used Fresno and about 1.5 pounds makes about a pint, if you sieve it, it would be somewhat less.

    Stir it everyday to prevent oxidation on the top layer.

    Cool temperatures are best. I let mine go two weeks, if it’s really warm, you don’t want to let it go that long probably.

    You know I’ve never bought any commercially and don’t know what it costs or tastes like. Guess I don’t need to know. 🙂 At supermarket prices here, it costs about $5 a pint and I consider that a bargain. Just have to make more next time.

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    Chad Haney , depending on the sect, many (Mahayana) Buddhists are strict vegetarians as a matter of ahimsa or compassion towards life, similar to Hindu brahmins. It’s one thing to eat what alms are given but that’s not the same as seeking out and eating meat, of course. Ashoka, the Indian king who converted to Buddhism in remorse after the bloody battle of Kalinga, gave up his peacock meat and animal sacrifices (he was the one who sent his son and daughter out of India to proselytize). I’ve heard that  Buddhist temples in Japan and Korea are purely vegetarian, so I’m guessing it varies by country and sect. 

  35. Tom Lee says:

    Rajini Rao I think most Bhuddist monks in Asia are vegetarian, not just in Japan an Korea. I say most because some of them might break the rules privately which they won’t tell., like the Chinese kung fu master monk in the movie The Three Kingdoms🙂 Most Buddhist monks in Southeast Asia mainly eat rice and bean curd, especially fermented bean curd .

  36. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s what I thought too, Tom Lee , but I believe the Dalai Lama himself is not vegetarian (not a lot of vegetables in Tibet during the winter perhaps!).  Of course, personally, I believe everyone should eat whatever their tastes and conscience dictate!

  37. Jim Carver says:

    Mmm, fermented bean curd is good.

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    Tempeh is pretty strange, I’ve not made up my mind about it, lol. It can taste nutty and interesting, at other times it’s as heavy as a rock!

  39. Tommy Leung says:

    Rajini Rao same here. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to cook tempeh – I still haven’t quite got the hang of it yet!

  40. Rajini Rao says:

    How large are the pieces, Feisal? I once was served an enormous slab of it on my plate…whew!

  41. Norman M. says:

    Delicious and expansive recipes. I found easier to live as a vegetarian in Los Angeles because meat is not the central theme of a dish in many restaurants.

  42. Rajini Rao says:

    It’s easy to find vegetarian food in large cosmopolitan cities. Good chefs are really accommodating to their customers as well. My one funny story when I was put on the spot was when I showed up for a job interview at Johns Hopkins the department went all out to impress and ordered roast suckling pig 😛

    As much as I wanted the job, I couldn’t bring myself to eat it and had to confess that I was a vegetarian. Much chagrin all around (I did get the job, so all was well).

  43. Jim Carver says:

    Here’s one you don’t want to meet, bongkrek acid…yikes, it’ll kill you:

    “It is highly toxic because of its effect on the ATP/ADP translocation mechanism. It shuts this system down, preventing ATP from leaving the mitochondria and providing energy to the rest of the cell.”

    going back to Tempe bongkrèk.

  44. Tommy Leung says:

    Rajini Rao I live in Armidale – a town with a population of 25000 and the options are rather limited for vegetarians (and if you are a vegan, umm, good luck?). But I usually cook at home anyway and there are plenty of produce to make a good vegetarian/vegan meal.

  45. Jim Carver says:

    Feisal Kamil Yeah, it’s the coconut. The other substrates don’t have that problem. Only thing is, you don’t know if they used coconut in the blend.

  46. Rajini Rao says:

    OMG, bongkrekic acid is good only at the research bench. I had no idea that it came from that tempeh dish. The things one picks up on G+ 🙂

    Feisal Kamil , that dish looks great…if only I had kecap manis.

  47. Rajini Rao says:

    Tommy Leung , there are times when one tires of one’s own cooking, that’s the problem. Any time something becomes a chore, then the fun goes out of it. I’ve found the foodies on G+ to be great virtual cheerleaders 🙂

  48. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao I had never heard of it…whew! nasty stuff. Anything that can shut down metabolism at the cellular level…wow.

  49. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, good point Jeff Brown .

  50. Tommy Leung says:

    Rajini Rao oh yes, I agree – and that’s why it’s great to see people sharing vegetarian recipes on G+.

  51. Rajini Rao says:

    I study transporters, so I’ve seen it used as a tool in research. No more deadly than cyanide, which is a pretty effective respiratory poison 😉

  52. Rajini Rao says:

    Ahh, so quite accessible to us American noobs then! Excellent, thanks for the translation.

  53. Rajini Rao says:

    Hmm, good point David Haddad . When one is in a minority, the tendency is to be apologetic 🙂 There’s also a perception that vegetarians/vegans can be a sanctimonious bunch.

  54. Jim Carver says:

    David Haddad I don’t see anything wrong with that. She’s not condemning you for what you do.

  55. Rajini Rao says:

    I think David is asking why I’m being apologetic.

  56. Rajini Rao says:

    Evolutionarily, I have no doubt that humans evolved as omnivores. Not full fledged carnivores like the big cats (we don’t have those sharp canines and claws), more like bears. As a biologist, I recognize that it’s part of the web of life, and such.

  57. NEY MELLO says:

    Rajini Rao    I’m actually raw vegan most of the time. Don’t eat cow or pig. Just sometimes fish..but mostly greens and fruit and  rice etc.. actually…But I’m with you on the cadavers on the menu at the beach scenario. I would  encourage any hungry desperate person to eat my cadaver and make soup with my nice skeleton..before it rots!…I sure would not have much use for it in another dimmension…. and the stranded person would live to see their family again..once the rescuers arrive  🙂 😀 😀 Bon apettit!  My restaurant will be named  “Au Beau Cadavre”  😀

  58. Jim Carver says:

    From a sustainability point of view, we may all be vegetarians if we want to survive.

  59. Rajini Rao says:

    NEY MELLO  Hah, yes..once I’m dead I’m not going to be terribly fussy about what happens to my corporal self either. Which brings us back to Chad’s point about Buddhist monks..they eat what they’re given but they don’t cause the meat to be killed on their behalf. I see the logic there.

    In a lot of the world, meat is a luxury and eventually it may be so for most everyone, I agree Jim Carver .

  60. Jim Carver says:

    I’m sorry, but that’s just weird.

  61. Rajini Rao says:

    It sure is weird, Jim Carver . Fortunately, it’s not going to happen. Unless one is a Parsi…

  62. NEY MELLO says:

    Rajini Rao Most of us forget that nature eats all of us physically speaking. We may think we are at the top of the food chain but we are eaten by time and nature in the same way as we eat vegetarian or not. We will repay the lives of those plants or animals we ate by being eaten by worms or fertilizing the earth again with our exceptions….Lavoisier would concurr…Nothing is lost! 🙂

  63. Rajini Rao says:

    From dust unto dust…

    Well, this has turned from vegetarian to macabre 😉

  64. NEY MELLO says:

    Rajini Rao  Sorry! 😀 😀 I will be silent! 😀 😀

  65. Jim Carver says:

    The Major Tom’s a junkie one? Okay, have to go see…

    yep, thought so. I’m happy…hope your happy too…

  66. Jim Carver says:

    For me I always wanted to change the ending lines to: I’ve always done good things; I’ve never done bad things…I’ve always done everything out of the blue. I’m happy, hope your…

  67. Rajini Rao says:

    I like that ending…

  68. Rajini Rao says:

    Hungry, Panah Rad ? 🙂

  69. Panah Rad says:

    Rajini Rao I have actually not eaten anything today and have not felt hungry… it’s 11 PM… nothing …. let’s just say I went way overboard the past couple of days. 😀

  70. Rajini Rao says:

    It’s good to give that digestive system a break, but eat something! You don’t want your brain to be low on glucose 🙂

  71. Chad Haney says:

    In an ideal world all Buddhists should be vegetarian. Most Southeast Asian Buddhist follow the Therevada tradition. In that tradition the monks eat what is offered, even if it is meat. There’s a story that the Buddha ate a poisoned mushroom so as not to offend the family that offered it.

  72. Panah Rad says:

    Rajini Rao haha. Maybe tomorrow. Though I am thinking about taking this whole week off. I don’t feel like working. All this Christmas and New Year talk made me lazy 🙂

  73. Rajini Rao says:

    Take the week off …it’s more effective to take a complete break than muddle through the half days and short week!

  74. Jim Carver says:

    You know a really good detox for all the junk that you might have eaten? Free form amino acids, they provide building blocks for other things and don’t tax your liver breaking down the proteins and having to go through the urea cycle. Every time you break that amino acid bond it’s an ammonium ion.

    But I’m sure our resident biochemist knows that. 😉

  75. Thomas Kang says:

    What, Rajini Rao? I don’t recall trying to pawn of prawn-laden food. . . .

    I guess the last pic of the people playing baduk (go) near the palace are the potential cadavers you’d considering eating if trapped with them on a desert island?

    Also, I miss Jeju! Most importantly, I love the pics!

  76. Thomas Kang says:

    Great comment comments in this thread. Has anyone else read Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins? There’s a part in there where one of the characters goes off on a rant, offering up a vigorous defense of meat-eating by saying something to the effect of how animals all along the food chain had no problems eating one another until vegetarians came along to make omnivorous life much more difficult for everyone.

    I have no stake in who chooses what to put in their own bodies and have deep respect for people who make careful choices, so I mostly enjoyed the passage for its humorous aspect. The book was a terrific read, and I’d love to read it again sometime soon.

  77. Thomas Kang says:

    As for names of Chinese restaurants, I’ve always thought that Wok on the Wild Side or Wok and Woll would be good names. For Italian, my choice would be Pastaman Vibration or Jah Pastafari.

  78. Chad Haney says:

    A Thai restaurant closed. I think Americans couldn’t pronounce the name right: Phukit.

  79. Chad Haney says:

    I bet his brother owns Sofa King.

  80. Jim Carver says:

    I really don’t care where people get their esters. They are ubiquitous so personal preference seems to be the key.

    Many persons growing up in the so called West may not know how to get the right mix of esters in their diet. Meat was a way to prevent this because you are covered.

    Many persons who are forced to be vegetarian do not have the proper spectrum and suffer in many ways do to a poor diet. I’m not advocating everyone go out and kill something, I’m just saying it is more difficult to get what you need that way. There are a couple of key amino acids that are often lacking in the vegetarian diet and often need to be supplemented. 

  81. Chad Haney says:

    That was my next comment Feisal Kamil 

    With that, goodnight.

  82. Tommy Leung says:

    Thomas Kang from my personal experience in Australia and New Zealand, any Chinese restaurant that has a name that over-emphasise their “Chinese-ness” are red-flags. I can think of a few example – The Great Wall, Imperial Palace, The Asian – those are all real restaurants in Dunedin and they are all bloody awful. It’s as if with a name like that, they are desperately trying to say “No really, we are a Chinese restaurant! Never mind the awful food, just look at our name!”

  83. Thomas Kang says:

    My restaurants would only serve up imaginary food, and very delicious meals at that, with customers lining up to compliment the chef about the tasty food and clever name (Wok and Woll, I get it! Ha ha!) and revenues bursting at the seams. Every customer would ride off into the sunset with a full belly, satisfied to have eaten such a delicious meal at such a cleverly named restaurant with such tactful decor. My imagination wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I’m sorry to hear, though, that reality has to persist in the way it does down under. ^^

  84. Tommy Leung says:

    There are some good Chinese restaurants in big cities in Aust & NZ, but not so much in most of the places where I’ve lived in the last decade or so.

  85. Jim Carver says:

    Thomas Kang Virtual food? Oh I haven’t heard that one since Firesign Theater. Oh well, they never deliver into the Hills anyway…guess it’s tree bark again to night…:)

  86. Thomas Kang says:

    It may be tree bark for you IRL, Jim Carver, but you’ll be delighted to know that both Wok on the Wild Side and Wok and Woll deliver — with delivery people and order takers who understand everything you say and don’t yell at you for taxing their patience with special orders.

  87. Thomas Kang says:

    Feisal, that is the most amazing name for a bookstore.

  88. Deeksha Tare says:

    You’re a savior for us vegetarians Rajini Rao !

    You’re our mascot!

    Thanks!! 🙂

    Awesome food pix! 😮

  89. Jim Carver says:

    Thomas Kang Yep, I guess that was the evolutionary sequence: tree bark -> discover fire -> kill animal -> Take a Wok on the Wild Side

    Makes perfect sense to me. And doesn’t even require Jimmy Buffet. What more could you ask for except maybe a Margarita?

  90. Thomas Kang says:

    LOL, Jim Carver. Incidentally, it looks as if I’m late to my own Chinese-restaurant-naming party:

  91. Jim Carver says:

    Thomas Kang That is hilarious! Made me forget what I was going to say!   uh boy

    I actually wanted to get back to the delicious pepper concoction. Well maybe I shouldn’t call it that. How about, “Peppers From Heaven”? Guess that’s better than, “Peppers From Hell!”.

    Oh well, it tastes great and I now have my own formula. Yes Rajini, it worked and it’s really delicious. Time to scale up and go crock size.

    I would never make mine in plastic buckets though. Just have to buy some bigger crocks. Plastic = yuck.

  92. Thomas Kang says:

    Hilarious, Feisal. I posted this in the comment there, but here’s the link again to a famous past meme:

  93. Rani Widya says:

    Rajini Rao the bongkrek acid only comes from (contaminated) tempe bongkrek, which is made from coconut residue. The normal tempe uses fresh soybean. Come to the Netherlands and I’ll make you a delicious tempe dish. Or better yet, visit Indonesia and just hit any random local restaurants (Bandung, as Jeff Brown mentioned, has plenty)

  94. Ulf K. says:

    I really like to read your posts! 🙂

  95. Gretchen S. says:

    I’ve made my own chili paste before and now I want to try this sriracha recipe; yum.

    My favorite tempeh is julienned and then cooked until it’s crispy-crunchy in something that tastes of ginger and a little soy sauce, but I’ve never managed to get it that crispy at home when I tried to replicate it.

  96. vegetarian/non-vegetarian only is fine as long as not making a kind of rule of it.Has to have a balance of both.While vegetarianism is good but if we would be at a place where no vegetables available we will have to starve of food.I think vegetarianism is more of a Indian practice.I think in India things are turning the other way round a bit atleast as far as cities are concerned.

  97. Thomas Kang says:

    Shinae Choi Robinson I don’t know whether I was more disheartened or relieved that others had thought of that name, too.

  98. Chad Haney says:

    Thomas Kang here’s the furniture store Feisal Kamil and I were referring to.

    Rajini Rao I haven’t figured out tempeh either.

  99. Andi Ra says:

    hmm, yummy, I like that…

    I might even prefer it than eating meat now…~_~’

  100. Thomas Kang says:

    Thank you, Chad. I had no idea that you were alluding to a particular photo when using Sofa King as a phrase, usually preceding “awesome,” but now I do. It reminds me of the list of unfortunate URLs, such as (Men’s Exchange), http://penisland (Pen Island), and so on.

  101. Chad Haney says:

    There’s a lot of stuff on the Interwebs that’s Sofa King funny.

  102. Rajini Rao says:

    Tsk. Two Wongs don’t make a Wright, as the Asian twins found out when they tried to fly a small plane for the first time.

  103. Thanks for this, Rajini Rao.  I, too, have eaten bits of creatures that friends thought were in too-small-to-count portions.  These recipes sound delicious, and I’m off to read your blog!

  104. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ll take that as a compliment, Tony Kocurko 🙂

  105. Yoon-Mi Kim says:

    Oh wow, love the photos… I know so little about Korea it’s always lovely to hear stories and see the sights.

    If you want more Korean vegetarian recipes – have you heard of Maangchi Kim? I normally make more of her meat dishes, but her vegetarian ones are yummy too – Especially, the pancakes, pan-fried tofu, potato and beansprout ones… YUM!

  106. Yoon-Mi Kim says:

    Just had a wee peak and not to perpetrate the myth you’ve got going on re Koreans and vegetables but there is a beef dish in there – I’m sure it’s an accident though!

  107. Yoon-Mi Kim says:

    Ah…there’s a vegetarian version that uses mushroom instead of beef. Dang, I really should learn to find out all the facts before posting willy nilly!!

  108. Rajini Rao says:

    Yoon-Mi Kim , thanks so much for the link, I’ve added Maangchi to my Foodie circle and will be test driving her recipes and reporting back to you. 

    S. Korea was a special experience. Thomas Kang drove me around the Gangnam district, then we had a leisurely walk through an old town open market with street stalls and tea shops. I spent a whole day touring the island of Jeju with a charming old gentleman as my cab driver/guide. Finished up with the infamous Korean sauna experience where I was scrubbed within an inch of my life..emerging new and shiny (for a little while, at least). I posted some pix of Jeju earlier

  109. Rajini Rao says:

    I’m just like that too, Yoon-Mi Kim . I type as fast as I talk, and faster than I can think 😉

  110. Chad Haney says:

    Blame it on the booze Yoon-Mi Kim 

  111. Jim Carver says:

    Wow Rajini, they are really getting formal…Dr. Rao? Well we certainly wouldn’t want to call the good doctor late for supper! 😉

  112. Rajini Rao says:

    Jim Carver , As my husband once told the neighbors, I’m not the kind of doc that does any good 🙂

    (To be fair, he was just trying to forestall late night calls from parents with sick kids).

  113. Jim Carver says:

    That’s funny. When my brother got his in chemistry he proclaimed, “Now I’m a doctor! (but I still can’t cure anybody.)”. Later on, we did figure out how to cure some people. 🙂

  114. Chad Haney says:

    My barber was telling me about his kidney problems and feet pain. I couldn’t convince him that I wasn’t a physician.

  115. Jim Carver says:

    Chad Haney Could be gout. I say lay off the red meat and drink steam distilled water. One or two glasses of dry red wine may help also.

  116. Chad Haney says:

    I’d hate to give medical advice if I was a physician, due to the litigious society. Not being a physician makes me even more hesitant. BTW, he’s diabetic and is on beta-blockers due to a MI.

  117. Rajini Rao says:

    I thought red wine aggravated gout …because of the purines and oxypurines (also in beer). Yeah, I agree with could have told him to stay off the alcohol although he may have expressed his unhappiness at the recommendation with his shears.

  118. Chad Haney says:

    Forgot to mention he doesn’t drink alcohol.

  119. Rajini Rao says:

    Oops, there goes our theory. I guess your hair is safe after all.

  120. Jim Carver says:

    Chad Haney Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving friendly advice though. Now that you said he has diabetes…I’m sure it’s gout. He’s got bad circulation in the extremities and that is not helping as the compounds fall out of solution. He needs to avoid uric and oxalic acids.

  121. Rajini Rao says:

    The trick is to say something harmless but useful at the same time, without being too specific. Accompanied by sympathy and a big tip 🙂

  122. Chad Haney says:

    I don’t go there anymore because I found a better looking “barber” closer to my house and she doesn’t ask questions.

  123. Rajini Rao says:

    She’ll give you answers, then 🙂

  124. Jim Carver says:

    Chad Haney He probably can’t, well in that case unsweetened pomegranate juice or green tea would be good. Need to try and get those compounds back into solution and that’s hard…hence the distilled water.

    His job doesn’t make it any easier also…standing on your feet all day you know. I suggest walking if he’s not too far gone.

  125. Thanks for sharing your thoughts plus a feast for the eyes Rajini Rao When will Web 12.5 be here? ( you know the one that allows you to smell and taste the holograms being shared) 🙂 

    (Interesting …I had a similar experience when sharing identical thoughts with a non-vegetarian friend — about reverting to my omnivorous nature if I had to —  I guess the thought is quite… umm unpalatable for most people)  🙂

  126. Yoon-Mi Kim says:

    Rajini Rao She doesn’t really post much on G+, I think she’s far more active on FB, but her recipes really do kick some major ass!

    Hehe, your Jeju post took me to Thomas Kang’s post re Korean woman and their never-aging beauty, which led me to an article re Gangnam Style… I do so love G+ (only when I have time though, when I’m in a rush, it sucks not being able to follow every link!) 🙂

    Jeju island looks fantastic, I can’t wait to go back some day.

    Chad Haney 😛 How did you know that was my go-to excuse? What, meet me once, and you think you know me? 

  127. Chad Haney says:

    I meant to say, you must be tired from a long day at work, Yoon-Mi Kim 

  128. Rajini Rao says:

    John Christopher , I should admit that I don’t always practice what I preach 😉 In theory, I would like to be a perfect creature of logic. Like Spock, pointy ears and all! 

  129. Rajini Rao says:

    Yoon-Mi Kim , you’ve met our Dr. Haney? Where are the HIRL pix? 🙂 

  130. Chad Haney says:

    Alas, only in a HO but let me tell was that some HO. Ooops

  131. Acting in the interest of self preservation could be both logical and… impulsive (?) I would think Rajini Rao 

  132. Jim Carver says:

    Yoon-Mi Kim Sometimes Dr. Rao’s posts can be hard to follow because they are rather active and get unwieldy at times. Plus we go off on tangents. Sometimes the tangents are the best part though.

  133. Yoon-Mi Kim says:

    Hahaha…and what colour and make would the car you run to be Chad Haney?…..

    Jim Carver I agree! The tangents (and puns) are often the best part 😀

  134. Chad Haney says:

    That’s a quiz for you Yoon-Mi Kim

  135. That sounds like a lovely spread of recipes! =o)

    FWIW, my favorite response to the hypothetical question of “If you were stuck on a desert island with a cow (or chicken or whatev), would you eat it then?” is to ask back to them, “Well… What is the cow eating?” =oD

  136. Thomas Kang says:

    Sean P. O. MacCath-Moran

    Me + cow/chicken + desert island = no major worries.

    Me + tiger + life raft = major worries.

  137. Jim Carver says:

    I’d save the cow for milk, the chicken for eggs, and then go fishing. After all…I still have some backups if the fishing doesn’t work out. 😉

  138. Hmm… So on your hypothetical island, Jim Carver, there must be a cow and a bull (in order to keep the cow pregnant and lactating), as well as sufficient resources to maintain all these beings. For my part, I think I’d rather just enjoy and share in the resources that are keeping all of them alive and kicking, buuut that’s the fun part about these fantasies — we each get to have them our way, eh? =o)

  139. Thomas Kang says:

    Looking at my comment again, I should have said: Me + tiger + life raft = major worries + deep philosophical reflections. Depending on how one thinks of it, the idea that a tiger in a raft could trigger such reflections could be very serious and deep, or riotously funny (because life itself is funny).

    Jim Carver About those backups. . . . The chicken sounds good for two, maybe three meals if you stretch it out. I suppose you could prepare in advance by gathering salt to preserve as much as of the meat from the cow as possible, but any scenario on that island where backups are required sounds bleak.

    Also, just for fun assuming that I didn’t pack any fishing line or tackle with me on the trip, I’m curious what would be the best way to fish. My first (armchair) instinct would be to make a spear, but then there’s the question of how to carve it out.

    As I start to work thinking of a better tool as I start gnawing away on a long branch with my teeth, flashes of recognition that I will probably suck at spearfishing might crop up from time to time — the best on that island, of course, because I’m the only one on the island. Those thoughts will be interspersed briefly by the idea that I still have two backups, then maybe I’ll abandon all of this and build a fire instead, in case a plane flies overhead. More than anything else, though, I’d probably be hungry and tired and traumatized by whatever caused me to be stuck alone on that island, and just want to crawl into a fetal position and sleep until I woke up in my bed again. Then, as I’m still gnawing away to shape the spearhead, I will be able to picture myself from a meter away, pitiably gnawing away on a branch that’s not going to do me any good for the foreseeable future, then notice that I don’t even have a soccer ball to talk to, and end up crying like a frightened baby.

    After writing that, I’m happy that I’m not booked for any cruises — not that I wouldn’t be even happier if I were actually booked for one. ^

  140. Thomas Kang says:

    Fantasies are fun. All the fantasies here have to do with eating, including thinking about eating the food in Rajini’s pics.

  141. Great – thanks Thomas Kang — now I’m thinking about his recipes and am hungry again.  >=o/


  142. Thomas Kang says:

    We’ve gone full circle, and an island is circular as well. What I find interesting is how my hunger was alleviated in the one or two moments it took to make this brilliant observation (that an island is circular), but the moment I was done making it the hunger returned.

    This tells me that instead of gnawing on the tree bark to shape the spearhead I might perhaps try running away from the hunger by writing down every thought that passes in my head, letting my hypergraphia run its course on the tree barks or on the beach. In the end, however, it’s the pictures I’m staring at above every time this notification lights up that matters, and the hunger keeps returning, calling my name and gnawing at me, like the telltale heart. . . .

    Of course, I should note that it’s lunchtime here. Since it’s a Saturday, I’ll be lazy and just settle for what’s around the house, then pick up some tofu when I head out later, grateful that I’m not stuck alone on a desert island.

    I wonder if I’m writing to fight off my hunger or because I actually have something to say. I never read Ellen DeGeneres’s book My Point…And I Do Have One, but right now I’m really getting it. My apologies!

    Or is it Rajini Rao who should be apologizing? After all, it was her arrangement of the photons in the 300 x 400 rectangle above that started all of this! Then there’s Yoon-Mi Kim one comment over, talking about more food. . . .

  143. Jim Carver says:

    Thing is…I hate coffee, sugar (mostly) and bacon. This puts me at odds with most people. I don’t care; I’m used to it.

    I just want you all to eat well and that could include some meat (hopefully not too much) or not. Thing is, we should try to regulate what our body requires as opposed to getting too much. That regulation factor seems to have been lost on modern culture. Any thoughts on that?

  144. Thomas Kang says:

    I haven’t heard a lot on this beyond the evolutionary biology explanation that our genes are still geared to hunting and foraging and gathering days and so learns to store away whatever fat the body can. 

  145. Jim Carver says:

    Thomas Kang I think you are right. Seems to have gone awry somewhat with the Western culture with the love of sugar and other carbohydrates. Seems that the balance is lost. I’ve noticed also that the old adage of “Fat folks are happy.” doesn’t seem to be true. Seems to be just the opposite actually.

  146. Thomas Kang says:

    I think that might depend in part on how one defines “happy.” It could be that “Fat folks are happy (content),” or in the process of becoming content (by eating more), but certain not happy as defined by a state of bodily health.

    I’m also curious whether that kind of saying or stereotype might have originated in a much leaner past, where food abundance was hard to come by.

  147. Jim Carver says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised about that Tom. Could even go back to Kings and Queens always being a little pudgy and being well fed. And what about Santa…?

  148. In China a friend explained she was vegetarian so they brought her a vegetable dish. When she pointed out the little chunks of bacon the waiter said: “That’s just flavor”

  149. Rajini Rao says:

    Hahaha, wonderful anecdote…thank you Jason Goodrow .

  150. Jim Carver says:

    Oh good, the good doctor is in. So what are we going to talk about tonight? I’m ready for anything and have my unstable wikis fired up.

    Noodles are on the grill and I’m ready!…oh no! Me biscuits is a-burnin’ ahhhh!

    Have to get back to ya…

  151. Rajini Rao says:

    Noodles sound good..but how do you grill them? 

    I’m behind on my reviewing of manuscripts, having been shamed into catching up by the editor himself. So it’s back to work for me until I’m done 🙂 

  152. Jim Carver says:

    Oh I see, work is never done a? I know the feeling. Our pipe broke in the cold weather and I’m trying to catch up. Actually I was just kidding and looking for ideas for dinner. I’m just so out of ideas…

  153. Jim Carver says:

    I was actually humming the old Rolling Stones song for a while, “Doctor please, Sappora please, outside the door, she took four more…what a drag it is getting old.” 

  154. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, love that song 🙂

  155. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao You know most people don’t know that’s what it says? It’s about ‘ludes. You’re smarter than the average bear so I know you get it. 🙂

  156. Rajini Rao says:

    Mother’s Little Helper The Rolling Stones is mixed up in my memory with Valley of the Dolls . I was too young to read it but the premise of the song and the book (film?) made an impression on my adolescence self.

  157. Jim Carver says:

    Oh really…mmm didn’t know about that. Yeah, I’m slightly older…it was all about methaqualone though. I tried a 714 once. Never went back.

  158. Rajini Rao says:

    At least for the duration of this meal, Paulius Miškinis ;D

  159. The bok choy loos DELISH!!

  160. Léa Jay says:

    awww Tofu is my addiction! This tofu dish looks incredibly delicous to me! Yummy

  161. Shubham Rai says:

    its ma favourate veggi in the world…..wth pee seed

  162. Thanks Rajini Rao! 🙂

  163. Kapil Ranade says:

    I wonder how tofu would taste in place of paneer in a palak-paneer . . .?

  164. Rajini Rao says:

    Kapil Ranade , now that’s an interesting experiment. I’ve actually not tried tofu with Indian masala of any type 🙂

  165. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, I was quite perplexed by that observation, I’m guessing some spelling/language challenges were in operation 😉

  166. Chad Haney says:

    Not surprised that Feisal Kamil couldn’t pass up pee.

  167. Chad Haney says:

    You know there’s an island in Thailand for that, Ko Phi Phi.

  168. Rajini Rao says:

    You will be given a yellow card in loo of a demerit.

  169. Chad Haney says:

    I have to poo poo that idea.

  170. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ll drink to that. With Peenot Noir .

  171. Chad Haney says:

    We can meet at Outback for dinner. That’s better than outhouse.

  172. Rajini Rao says:

    Is that in Australia or incontinent?

  173. Chad Haney says:

    It’s a chain with plenty of stool at the bar.

  174. Bilal Tanoli says:

    i can’t see it before

  175. Chad Haney says:

    hi Magd Nagaty Do you like tofu?

  176.  i have and did easily when a white american woman/lecturer told us students(1986-1989) what goes into many meat products

    this sacred planet need more vegetarians and opposition to capitalism!!!!

    i my case i live on uk what i want every day and blend into society but am not part of it>oh i dont have a car either!!!!

  177. Azad Agrawal says:

    World is knowing fast about “0” negative of being vegetarian.

  178. Wood olivia says:

    It’s my favorite. Look delicious! More tofu, more beutiful.

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