Tag Archives: Mexican

Vegan guide to Oaxaca – Oaxaca de Juárez

ACS_0027Oaxaca city is well known throughout the culinary world as the place to go in Mexico to get mole. That rich, decadent sauce, screams “Mexican Interior Cuisine” and Oaxaca supposedly has all seven versions, Mole Poblano (red), Mole Verde (green), Mole Negro (black), Mole Chichilo, Mole Amarillo (yellow), Mole Coloradito, and Mole Manchamantel but I think the most common around here is Mole Negro which is known for its chocolate although a few of them have chocolate. It isn’t sweet at all, the chocolate isn’t sweetened before it’s put in but the mole itself can be made sweeter with plantains or dried fruit. If you’ve never tried it before it doesn’t matter because even though there are supposedly seven versions there are actually seven thousand and every single one that you try will be different. I didn’t have too much trouble sourcing vegan mole, many of them start with lard or a pork or chicken stock and then some have meats simmered in them. But, other versions are plentiful and waiters had no trouble telling me if it was meat free or vegetarian, they can barely ever tell me in Texas! I bought some vegan mole to take home from the little store by the The Rayón Pochote Organic Market off Rayón, they had a couple varieties and I’m sure you could find some at Bambuu organic.

La Jicara / Calabacitas Tiernas
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It took me a while to figure out that these are the same restaurant! I think one is the name of the space which also holds a book store, an art shop, and a children’s shop. The menu only has a couple vegan things, the waitstaff didn’t speak much English but the chef noticed my dilemma and came over and spoke with me. She spoke terrific English and gave me the scoop. I was dying to try the seitan stuffed chile relleno and it sounded better than the menu of the day which was also all vegan, and I think it always is. The relleno wasn’t fried which was a nice change although I wished it would have had some rice and beans. We were stoked that they also had a little market section where we bought chocolate bars, vegan cookies for the airplane, and more mole. We also tried their dessert, a chocolate mousse which was maybe a bit to healthy tasting for me, probably date-sweetened. I would definitely give it another shot

Le Campane
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This spot was one of my favorites, it had a whole vegan section with multiple options including their housemade seitan. I wish I could have tried more but we were in a hurry because we were meeting someone later. I had the mole tamales and they were delicious. My friend got the soy al pastor tacos and they were even better. I really wanted to try the picadillo but it didn’t have olives so I couldn’t refuse the tamales which I had been craving all day. They also had tacos dorados with mole and mushrooms and a Mediterranean seitan which DID have olives but I wanted Mexican food. Travel is tough!

Cabuche
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This was my most favorite place, after I saw the Vegetarian Posole at the very top of the menu there wasn’t anyway I was getting anything else. This hominy soup is usually made with pigs but not at Cabuche! You could get the broth verde or rojo and then pick your vegetables and add additional toppings. I added avocado because I love it in a hot soup. This was an amazing meal. The verde was very much like the version I make at home but it had mushrooms instead of seitan which I am definitely going to try next time. They also had huitlacoche tacos so don’t miss this spot!

Hierba Dulce
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The only all vegan spot that I know of in Oaxaca is Hierba Dulce and they are legit. We were so excited to be seated in their beautiful courtyard lined with fencepost cactus. No one spoke English but the menu was all in English which made it super easy. The service was so nice, they kept adjusting our umbrella to keep us out of the sun and were so friendly. They make their own vegan cheese, manteca (which usually means lard but here was coconut oil based, bread, and almond milks. I was overwhelmed, as I usually am with all vegan spots and I ended up getting the avocado toast and empanadas, which weren’t what I’m used to as empanadas, this was more like a taco, but they were really good. I was very excited to see vegan queso fresco on my empanada! A very rare treat! My friend tried the huitlacoche tacos and they were terrific. Note that they are only open for breakfast and lunch.

Boulenc
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This bakery is where it’s at, we had the best chocolate drinks and bread. I was jealous though, of everyone else’s pastries. I, again, had the avocado toast, I sure felt like hipster in Oaxaca eating avocado toast everywhere but it was usually the best bet for breakfast that was all vegan. I loved the interior of this place, many places had these really cool textural lamps and the one at Boulenc was so neat. Definitely a good place to hang out for while.

Chilhuacle Rojo

I couldn’t go here because you have to make reservations to have dinner, it’s only open until 1, so if you are planning a trip, make it happen. They also do cooking classes and you can learn how to make vegan mole.
Zandunga
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Somewhere along the way I listed this place as having vegan mole, but when we got to this really adorable restaurant with a beautiful bar we found they didn’t have anything vegan on the menu and I thought I’d just get drinks. The waiter told me that he would happily get the chef to make me something vegan and they prepared me a delightful mushroom packed Tlayuda which is a grilled tortilla filled with stuff and topped with beans. Since you only really see them in Oaxaca I was excited to get one. Sometimes cocktails come made with this special salt that has worms in it, which I did not think to look out for, but my waiter checked with me and gave me regular salt with my mezcal margarita. So nice!

Voces de Copal
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We stopped in here to see their incredible display of alebrijes but I never wanted to leave that colorful patio so we stayed for a little while and drank chocolate. Don’t miss it.

Los Danzantes
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This fine dining restaurant was recommended to have vegan friendly mole which was the case, there just wasn’t much to put it on. My best bet was the huitlacoche rellano which I wasn’t too excited about because I had the same thing for lunch but I went for it. The portion was small and since it was so fancy they didn’t have rice and beans so I was not totally satisfied. But, the service was excellent, it started to rain and they immediately moved us to a better table and then brought us blankets. My friend went on an errand while I hung out for a little while and our waiter kept bringing me shots of mezcal, so that was lovely. The outdoor seating was dramatic and definitely worth a visit.
VeganGuide toOAXACA

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Sunny Days in Texas: Zucchini Migas

Migas are a regional Mexican dish created to use up leftovers from the night before. Traditionally, cooks fry up some onions, peppers, and spices, add the leftover meat, and then scramble with eggs and cheese and then mix in last night’s tortillas. Restaurants in Austin have about a zillion spins on this, sometimes using chorizo or queso instead of cheese, or using tortilla chips instead of dried out tortillas and, of course, the migas breakfast taco. So… maybe not quite a zillion but more like 10 different ways. Mr. Natural has the best tofu version I’ve tried.

I think the first vegan food blog in Austin that I was aware of was Two Vegan Boys.  Krys is always cooking up amazing vegan comfort food for her family and has lots of tips on being frugal and gardening. I was really excited that she donated her recipe for Zucchini Migas to the Sunny Days zine because I love migas and everyone always need more recipes for zucchini!

It took me quite a while to get the technique for making migas right. I think the trick is to keep a low heat once you add the tofu and to turn over the tofu instead of stirring it. The recipe called for firm tofu but for some weird reason I only had soft tofu on hand and I was pleased that it worked so well. I also ended up baking some tortillas to make chips because I didn’t have any on hand. Next time I’ll use queso instead of cheese and serve with some roasted potatoes. Or migas con hongos is always good too.  It is a great flexible recipe, now I’m even more excited to try her homeade oreos, also in the zine!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Tortilla Ball Soup

Pretend I became world-famous, say for convincing former president George W. Bush to go vegan which led to him renouncing his war mongering past and convincing all the republicans to go vegan. Eventually, terms were argued, legislation was passed, and everyone realized that animal cruelty was wrong and they wanted to thank me for starting the chain of events that led to animal liberation by having a wonderful dinner. I think they would come up with something exactly like this. I love Mexican food, dumplings, and soups; they are three of my most favorite things to eat. But my relationship with olives is paramount. I mean, I keep an emergency olive at all times. Maybe when I am world-famous everyone will!

Last week I made Black Bean Soup with Masa Dumpling. I really liked the idea of it, but the dumplings were a little boring. I wanted to put something inside them that was salty or spicy and all these ideas were rattling around my head. And then it hit me, as usual, the answer to my culinary quandary was olives, in this case, jalapeño stuffed olives. I liked the dumplings in the black bean soup I made, but it seemed like they would go better with something else. Tofu Mom put them in Lentil Stew which seemed like a good idea but since the dumplings were so thick I thought a thin soup would be better. That is when I realized that tortilla soup was the perfect answer! This is the first time I ever made it. Usually, it is the one vegan soup that I can always find so I never thought to make it at home. I should have made it sooner, I liked my version a lot better than Mr. Natural’s and Kerbey Lanes and it was really fast and easy. I also made a lot so we would have leftovers. I wrote down the recipe but there are two caveats, there was extreme olive going on in here. If you are not a fan you could try just the pickled jalapeño which I think would work out well. I didn’t make the broth very spicy since there is jalapeño in the dumplings and it was spicy enough for me. If you love spice, add a couple jalapeños to the broth early on, the more seeds you leave in the spicier it will be.

Tortilla Ball Soup

For the Dumplings

Mix
1 Cup of Instant Masa Flour
1 Cup of Broth or water
1 Tablespoon of salt if using water
knead for 5 minutes and then let sit for an hour

For the Soup

Roast 1 Poblano in the oven or on the stove, then remove the charred skin, seeds, and stem

Chop 1 yellow onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and 2 carrots.

Heat 1 Tablespoon cooking oil in a soup pot

Saute onion, garlic & carrots until brown, about 5 minutes

Add a cup of Corn, the poblano, 1 Tablespoon of ancho chile powder, and 1 tsp cumin

Stir for a minute and add 8 cups of broth, 1 tsp of celery salt, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 2 cups of soy curls (or beans) and 1 14oz can of tomatoes, roughly chopped

Cook for 10 minutes

Form the dumplings, take about a heaping tablespoon of the masa dough and flatten in your hand. Put the olive in the middle and roll the sides around it until the olive is all sealed up. Then, carefully roll the dough a little between your hands so that it is a circle and then place in the soup. Repeat until you have used all the dough. Then carefully stir the soup making sure to not tear the dumplings and cook for 10 more minutes. Add salt & pepper. Serve in bowls and top with green onions, cilantro, and nutritional yeast, if you like. Enjoy!

Vegan Panuchos for Cinco de Mayo

I have learned a lot about traditional Mexican ingredients from Diana Kennedy’s book From My Mexican Kitchen. Although at times it can be very tedious and she often suffers from a xenocentric point of view I love  the exhaustive information about traditional ingredients and styles in Mexican cooking. The book explains many techniques and although there aren’t a lot of recipes there are several great sections including one on antojitos (Mexican Tapas). I have been obsessed with the panucho method and pictures since I saw it; the idea is that you make some stewed beans and then stuff them in the middle of a tortilla, fry them up, and then top them with whatever you like.

Ms Kennedy recommended topping them with marinated onions which I also tried for the first time and loved! I couldn’t find any of her suggested ingredients so I marinated the onions in lime juice and a little orange juice for a couple hours. They were so good and added a lot of sweetness to the dish, I will make them in the future as a taco topping.

For the Yucatán style beans I cooked black beans in a crockpot with some salt and bay leaves. When they were done I sauteed a 1/4 cup of chopped onion, a Tablespoon of epazote, and a whole habanero. Then I took 3.5 cups of Black Beans and their broth, blended them, and then added them to spices and cooked until the texture of a paste was achieved, about 15 minutes.

Then it was onward to the the tortillas! I had fresh masa so all I had to do was roll pieces into a ball and then cook them on the stove over medium heat. You flip them once, just after the bottom starts to change color, again for the top side, and then flip it once more and if you are lucky it puffs up.

Then you very carefully make a slit in the side of the tortillas and open it up like a pocket.

You then stuff some of the bean paste inside.

Then you flatten the tortilla back together and pan fry it!Then I covered them with vegan chorizo and the marinated onions.I also made some pico de gallo with the first tomatoes of the season. Hooray for the return of the tomato!

Dinger got really worn out from watching me cookWillow remained steadfast at her post waiting for food to fall

Then I at too many panuchos because they were really awesome.

mmm panuchos

VeganMoFo- Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said “Rock out with your Guac out!” and I laughed because it reminded me of the wonderful dinner that I had last night.

I was starving when I got home and wanted to make dinner as quickly as possible. Luckily I had a sweet potato that was already baked in the fridge and some avocados that were sitting in the window and finally perfectly ripe.

I sauteed some sweet peppers, a jalapeno, and a lot of garlic on the stove while I made some guacamole to tide me over. Then I added black soy beans, chopped swiss chard and frozen corn and cooked for another 3 minutes. Then I added the mashed sweet potato, salt, pepper, and lime and I would have added cilantro and olives but I didn’t have any! That really shows how desperate my need is to go shopping.

Then I wiped out the pan, rubbed a tortialla with oil and put in a quarter of the mixture, shaped into a half moon and then fried while I formed the next one. They both fit into the pan and took just a couple minutes to get crispy on each side while I cleaned up the area. I can’t even explain how tasty these were. I liked them much better than the cheese ones that I used to make back in my college days. The whole process took about 15 minutes, used one pan, and was relatively healthy (Swiss Chard!) and super tasty. The leftovers were formed into a burrito and eaten cold by yours truly seconds ago for a very delectable lunch.

I assumed that “Quesadillas” meant something cheesy so I looked it up in Wikipedia. I found that

The word comes from Spanish, and literally means “little cheesy thing” (from queso, or “cheese”, + ada, an adjectival suffix, + illa, a diminutive suffix).

I looked up sweet potato thinking I could make a cool new Spanish vegan word and found it translates like this

sweet potato~ potato sustantivo
boniato m, batata f, camote m (Andes, Méx);

So I am at a loss for what to call it. Batatadilla? Pequeño Potato Sustantivo? If any of you speak any Spanish and have any ideas please post them!