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Recipes from the Hong Kong Vegetarian Society
IVU News 2-97

Do-it-yourself Milk Substitutes

photo These can be used in much the same way as cows milk, with much the same results. The amount of water needed for blending will differ according to the oil content of the various nuts, seeds, grains or beans, how finely you grind and strain them, and the humidity that day. The results are best consumed fresh, but may be prepared in advance and will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. For a quick cold milk substitute, use three or four ice cubes instead of half a cup of the water. The following recipes are a general guide. You can adjust the sweetness (try adding dates, or use fruit juice instead of water), add flavouring (vanilla essence, ginger, carrots, carob powder, bananas or any fruit in season), or alter the liquid volume to suit your taste.

Basic Nut or Seed Milk Recipe

Use almonds, cashews, coconut, sesame, sunflower, etc. or try combinations.

  • ½ cup nuts (if almonds, remove skins with boiling water).
  • 2 teaspoons maple or other syrup (optional).
  • 2 to 2½ cups water, or sufficient to produce the required consistency and concentration.
Blend using a little water to produce a creamy mix, continue adding the remaining water and blend for several minutes before straining through a thin cloth. The remaining pulp can be blended again with a little more water. [NB: straining produces a smoother texture, but also removes the bulk and fibre.]

Grain Milk

This is less well known, but worth trying. Rice milk can be made using well cooked rice. For corn milk, use cornflour. For oat milk, use rolled oats. Use well cooked grain, add sweetener and/or flavouring if required and sufficient liquid to produce the right consistency. Blend until smooth. Chill. Try mixing grains and nuts: e.g. rice and cashew milk.

Soy Milk

There are many good brands available, but this can also be made at home. Soy milk may be used for hot or cold drinks, but tends to curdle if added to boiling liquid.

Soak 1 cup dry beans overnight. Drain and blend until very smooth, using 2 to 3 cups of water. Add the pureed beans to a large pot containing ½ cup of very hot water.

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent the beans from sticking. When foam suddenly rises, turn off immediately and pour through a thin cloth. Press out the milk.

Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Taste and flavour. Serve hot or cold. The pulp remaining after the milk is extracted is called okara and is highly nutritious. It can be used in breads, cakes, veggieburgers, casseroles, soups and pies.

Almond Mayonnaise

  • 100 gm finely ground almonds; 235 ml water.
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder or French mustard.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or syrup.
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder.
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger; pinch of salt (optional).
  • 200 ml sunflower, safflower or other light oil (olive oil produces a rather strong taste).
Ingredients should be at room temperature. Blend all the ingredients well, excluding the oil. Slowly trickle the oil in through the hole in the top of the blender in a continuous stream. Adding the oil slowly will make a successful mayonnaise. Cool in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. The flavour may be varied according to the mustard, bouillon powder or other seasoning used.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

(A healthier version of a traditional Chinese sauce.)

  • 2 tablespoons oil.
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger.
  • 1½ tablespoons cornflour.
  • 2½ cups water.
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar.
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
  • a cup apple juice concentrate.
Gently fry the ginger in oil. Mix with the water and cornflour. Add remaining ingredients. Boil, stirring continuously, until thickened. Pour over stir-fried vegetables and/or tofu. Serve with rice.

Tofu Pepper Pot

  • 3 firm tofu squares.
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 250 ml hot water.
  • l large stick celery, thinly sliced.
  • 150 gm button mushrooms.
  • l large dill pickle (cucumber).
  • 2-3 tablespoons cranberry or raspberry jelly.
  • salt/freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs, e.g. parsley, basil.
  • 2-3 tablespoons margarine or oil.
1. Cut each beancurd square into three long strips and each strip into diagonal inch (1 cm) slices.
2. Fry tofu slices in fat until brown (fry longer if a more chewy texture is preferred). Drain.
3. In the same fat, fry celery and then mushrooms until soft.
4. Sprinkle with flour and cook until slightly brown.
5. Add stock and boil before adding jelly and tofu.
6. Season to taste. 7. Serve with rice or pasta garnished with herbs.

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