Posts tagged mango
Vegan food in Thailand!

I wanted to write my foodie experiences in a separate post to this one so here you go!

Fist thing I'm gonna put out there... Fruit! So much amazing fruit!! For example, on the last day I bought 4 beautifully sweet ripe locally grown mangos for the equivalent of less than £1 - you wouldn't even get one mango for that in the UK and it would not have tasted anywhere near as good either.

I also want to briefly mention here (though I'll also be writing a separate post at some point) about water! In Thailand everyone drinks bottled water. I knew it would be hot and I didn't want to be caught short. It just so happened a couple of weeks prior I had a conversation with a colleague about a water filter bottle called Puritii that is so sophisticated, you can even filter swamp water if you wished! Of course I was intrigued and I knew my trip to Thailand would be a perfect opportunity to try it. He gave me a bottle to put through it's paces and so I'll fill you in on that in due course, plus it makes an ideal opportunity to talk about water quality- a topic many have asked me about recently.

Anyway, back to Thailand food! Here are my overriding thoughts (obviously these are purely based on my limited experience)...

Things I found tricky/surprising about Thai food:

  1. Not many people understood what 'vegan' meant- vegetarian is very common but vegan not so. It seemed a little odd to me since it's a culture that naturally doesn't use dairy so it's only the egg (and fish sauce) that would need consideration.

  2. There is fish sauce and egg in many meat free dishes so I had to be very careful as it wasn't always obvious.

  3. In hindsight I should have got familiar with the phrase for vegan- which is 'jai' however his refers to Buddhist veganism which also does not include garlic or onion and I feel that would have been even more limiting in options and flavour.

  4. There don't seem to be any beans and lentils anywhere! The veggie protein of choice is tofu which is eaten in abundance. I do not eat it much at home, but was happy to switch whilst I was there. I did miss lentils and beans though!

  5. Even though there is an abundance of veggies, their are very few leafy greens- I found I was craving some spinach and kale. Morning glory is the only readily found leafy green in the markets so I ate as much as I could.

  6. Chocolate- it did not seem to exist! I was surprised that I missed it, not so much in a craving for sweet things as there was so much sweet stuff, but more as a desire for a little indulgence since there was no dessert I could eat- other than fruit, or mango and sticky rice (so good!) I did cook a chocolate cake though- see below!

  7. Thai people put added sugar in everything, even many of the fruit smoothies have added sugar unless you specifically ask for them without. All the seemingly herbal teas come sweetened with syrups as well. It seems crazy to me since the diet is naturally sweet.

Things I loved about Thai food:

  1. The amazing fruit needs reiterating here! I also tried durian for the first time- an acquired texture, much more creamy that I anticipated. I also loved their mini bananas, much sweeter then what we have in the uk.

  2. Lots of veg heavy dishes with light sauces. Limited gluten as most are accompanied with rice or noodles of some description. I liked the lightness of the meals (but I did eat a lot!)

  3. Lots of veggie/vegan restaurants in Chaingmai, once you knew where to look. They all served plenty of delicious vegan options which made life much easier! One of my favourite restaurants we went to was Bamboo Bee. I tiny little research with only 4 tables and a lot of customers- we had to wait an hour before we could be seated. The place is run by Bee herself and the dishes are organic vegan, yet such amazing value. A huge meal for 4 people (and we ate a lot of dishes) was well under £20. She also has an book with all recipes that I plan to buy and recreate- particularly the sauces as I could do with some new ideas in that department.

  4. Fresh coconut- I reckon if you were stranded on a dessert island you could survive a long time on coconut, drinking the water and eating the meat-such a perfectly packaged food!

  5. Mango and sticky rice. This was one of the first dishes I had at a little open air market. So so good, made with sticky rice, coconut milk, sugar if some kind and a whole fresh mango. Yes I know, total carb alert! I would love to try and make my won versions as a treat.

  6. I didn't feel very bloated through my trip, even though I was eating so much much sugar fruit, which is great as travel and change if routine often affects my digestion.

 

I made two big jugs of delicious fruit smoothie to share with everyone on my last day, the recipes are below of you fancy recreating some of your tropical bliss as we move slowly into summer!

I also made my much loved banana chocolate cake for both a leaving party and a birthday... I made 4 cakes in total (following the same recipe I first made here in Lanzarote!) I had very limited utensils, no oven (only a microwave) and no measuring tools BUT it still worked surprising well and everyone loved it! It certainly helped satisfy my chocolate craving.

The original choc-banana cake!

The original choc-banana cake!

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

I managed to track down the cake ingredients at a local market... But it took ages as hardly anyone understood what I was trying to say! We had to use a translation app on the phone and show them the Thai phrase each time. Even then we went from stall to stall until we found what we needed. I thing the stall holders were quite bemused ;-)

I did eat a lot more carbs during the last two weeks that I have in a long long time. However in the past when I have tried a carb heavy diet (a year ago I experimented gin 80/10/10) I felt very bloated and it did not work for me well at all. Yet I did not feel at all bloated in Thailand. The two main differences were lack of beans- not sure if this combination of food works better!? And also the difference in climate. I am a big believe in eating locally grown foods in accordance with climate for optimal results. I now feel as though it's less an issue of the ratio of carbs/fat/protein but more an issue of the relationship to climate. Something I'll be export more. 

I'll leave you with a few foodies photos taken thought out my time in Chaingmai. All photos were taken on my phone. 

Plus scroll down for my smoothies recipes... 

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon - how cool?)

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon - how cool?)

For the smoothies I used fresh coconut meat which was amazing as it left little chewy pieces of coconut in the smoothie. This was in large part accidental due to the power of the basic blender I was using, if using a more highly powered machine it will be smoother, unless you stop blending whilst there are still some visible specks of coconut.  

Recipe: chocolate, banana, coconut smoothie

Makes approx  1 litre

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coca powder

  • 5-6 mini bananas (approx 3-4 regular)

  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)

  • 1 cup ice

  • 1 cup water

Recipe: banana mango, coconut smoothie

Makes approx 1 litre

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango

  • 3-4 mini bananas (approx 3 regular)

  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)

  • 1 cup ice

  • 1 cup water

Do you want to know what my favourite meal was.... yup, mango and sticky coconut rice served from a street trader ;-)  I already have my sights set on recreating the recipe... but since I haven't yet had time since returning this recipe looks like an easy start... though this one is more traditional!

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Green Smoothie Challenge- revealed!

You may recall that last month I took it upon myself to undertake a 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge.

It was inspired by this post which presented the concept of trying something new for 30 days. In the spirit of discovery and self-development I went for it!

So now the 30 days are up…what have I learnt?

Did I come to love the Green Smoothie?

Well I have certainly found my preferences and have also come up with a few ideas in terms of preparation….more investigations yet to come on that.  I didn’t try a new flavour every day since I usuall made up a large pitcher and then froze two portion for following days, so roughly a new flavour combo every three days.

I quickly discover my favourite fruit mixer….mango! The intense sweetness and the high pectin content make for a super smooth smoothie capable of disguising a lot of greens! Also the yellow colour makes for a refreshingly coloured smoothie whereas red berries create more of a green sludge…not so easy on the eyes! I found that with mango I could use lots of different types of leafy greens without really noticing the difference.

This guide is also a really great resource in making your own.

Here are a selection of my smoothie combinations:

  • 2 cup spinach, 1 small banana, 2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup water
  • 2 baby gem lettuce, 1 cup water, 1 medium banana, 1 cup tinned peaches
  • 2 baby gem lettuce, handful spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 1 tbs cacao powder, 1 cup water
  • carrot cake smoothie
  • 2 cups lambs lettuce, ½ cup cucumber, 1 apple, 1 banana, pinch cinnamon, 1tsp maca powder, 1 cup
  • 1 large cup frozen strawberries, 2 cups spinach, ½ tsp fresh ginger, 1 large cup water (tasted odd)
  • 1 cup fresh mango, 1 ½ cup mixed greens, 1 cup water
  • 1 cup mango, 1 cup apple, 1 cup lambs lettuce, 3 romain lettuce leaves, half an avocado, 1tbs maca powder, 2 cup water, ½ cup apple juice
  • 1 cup spinach, 3 leaves romain lettuce, 1 stick celery, 1 apple, 1 banana, ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup spinach, 5 basil leaves, ½ cup blueberries, 1 tbs cashew butter, 1 tsp maca powder, 1 tsp carob powder, 1 cup water, 6 dates (tasted horrible)
  • 1 cup mango, 1 large cup spinach, ¼ cup cucumber, ¼ cup orange juice, 1 cup water, 4 large fresh mint leaves (best flavour)
  • 1.5 cups spinach, 1tsp coconut oil, 1tsp maca powder, 2 tsp cacoa powder, 1 tsp super greens powder, ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup strawberries (based on this shake)
  • 1 orange peeled, ½ mango, 1 scoop hemp protein powder, 1 tbs ground flax or chia, 2 cups mixed greens, ½-1 cup water (hemp powder was gritty- see note below)

(they all make anywhere between 1 and 3 glasses worth)

    Key things I discovered:

    Using red berries turns the smoothie a sludgey dark colour, using banana/apple/mango keeps it a lighter green  colour. If using berries (Particularly blue berries) add cacao/carob so that it looks chocolatey and not sludgy.

    Celery and cucumber  and mint leaves were refreshing additions.

    Fresh mango is my favourite fruit mixer, fresh is much better than frozen as it has a sweeter stringer taste.

    Apple makes the smoothie a bit frothy, not my preference as it isless smooth than banana/mango on its own.

    Fruits with a high soluble fibre content work best at creating a smooth consistency. Use mango, peach kiwi or banana.

    Really cold smoothies make the taste of the greens much less noticeable

    I had a play with combining proteins, fats and superfood powders in my shakes. The protein just didn’t work for me as I found it gritty. I have since had an idea of a simply recipe that would provide for the fats and proteins separately so the smoothie can be drunk in its pure and simple state. More on that to come!

    So the ‘Citrus Mango Cooler’ has become my ultimate smoothie combination:

    • 1 cup mango
    • 1 large cup spinach
    • ¼ cup cucumber
    • ¼ cup orange juice
    • 1 cup water
    • 4 large fresh mint leaves (mint is optional but extra refreshing)

    This is also great frozen and then served as a granita…more on that to come too!

    So am I going to keep it up? Well I have a few more experiments up my sleeve…. I wouldn’t necessarily continue with a daily smoothie in its current form, partly due to cost since that amount or organic fruits and veg consumed each day soon adds up! I will keep you posted. 

    In the mean time if you are not already a Green Smoothie convert…give it a try and find out you own favourite combinations. What have you got to loose?

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    Angel delight

    I know the name of this dessert will confused many of you...because Angel Delight is simply a British phenomenon. I did a little search to see what the US equivalent was and there didn’t seem to be one (feel free to correct me if I am wrong!)

    Angel Delight is an instant powdered pudding mix whisked with milk to create a mousse-like custardy sweet dessert. It comes in various flavours and is something of a childhood staple in the memories of most of the UK population.

    So, I wanted to create a healthy vegan equivalent that cuts out the dairy, the sugar and all the scary 'unknowns’ of the powdered packet mix. I think I’ve cracked it…well it certainly went down well for dessert when I layered it up in little glass bowls and served it up for my family at the weekend.

    ‘Angel delight’ makes your perfect creamy moussey parfait.

    Give it a try, I know you are curious now!

    There are so many flavour combos you could try, here I went for strawberry and mango (I preferred the strawberry out the of two), but you could also go for other berries, banana, chocolate or maybe even orange although I think fruits with a higher level of natural pectin would work best as they would give the creamiest result when combined with the tofu.  I made my dessert by mixing the ‘base’ i.e everything but the fruit, then divided it into two before mixing in the fruit separately. The key is to blend really well.

    Chill first (to allow the cashew and coconut butters to thicken slightly), then either serve it straight or with fruit and granola crumbs as I did here…basically layer up your own parfait. So pretty!

    Recipe: Angel delight

    Serves 1-2 (can easily be doubled)

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup silken tofu
    • ½ cup fruit (mango/strawberries)
    • 1 tbs cashew butter
    • 1tbs coconut oil melted
    • 1tbs agave plus a pinch stevia if needed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1tbs tapioca flour (or alternative thickener)

    Method

    Mix all ingredients together in a high powered blender (ideally with whisk attachment) until smooth. Pour into serving bowls and chill for min. 30 mins prior to serving.

    Seving suggestion: Layer up different flavours with nuts/granola in between and chunks of fruit on top.

    This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

    This recipe is shared at: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

     

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