I’m not vegan. I’m probably going to get a lot of hate mail after saying this, but rather than being strictly vegan, I believe in reducing my consumption of animal products, as well as buying meat that is sustainably and ethically raised. Even Jonathan Safran Foer who wrote a book championing veganism has confessed to eating a little animal produce in the evenings. (Note I’m not saying don’t be vegan, I’m saying I find it challenging to be 100% vegan. Of course, some foods may simply not be suitable for ethical mass production- without intensive farming (which often treats cows quite inhumanely), can cows produce enough milk to meet the world’s demand? Some people say yes but I’m currently not convinced.– which is why my household and I are slowly removing milk and milk-based products from our diet. We’re still struggling along, so you’ll occasionally see milk and butter popping up in my blog or Instagram feed, but we’re doing our best!) Nonetheless, I find it hard to cook meat free, which is why I often browse vegan recipes for inspiration. I totally believe that it is possible to cook vegan food that’s as tasty as non-vegan food, but it’s a skill I haven’t quite achieved, so I’ve collated this list of vegan Asian recipes to inspire myself, and hopefully you. (Piece of random info: I once spoke to a farmer who said that the best meat to eat, if you are concerned about animal welfare, is lamb as it’s not possible to intensively farm sheep. Does anyone know more about this?)
Note: all these recipes contain natural ingredients. I don’t feature recipes that call for “meat substitutes” as I prefer my food as unprocessed as possible. So the recipe might ask you to use tofu in place of meat, but it won’t ask for fake/vegan meat (which could have been made from tofu).
Vegan Asian foods that don’t include tofu!
I don’t mind tofu, but I know some people are allergic, so here’s a special section for tofu-free vegan Asian recipes.
Jackfruits are a particularly sustainable meat substitute as the fruit is massive. We used to have a tree by our pool, and whenever it fruited, we would have to beg people to take some jackfruit off our hands as we couldn’t finish everything.
If you’re tired of rice, why not make these vegan baos instead? They’re great for dipping into curry and soak up all the flavours instantly. Not a fan of pandan or matcha? Leave them out, or just substitute with something else that you like! Best of all, these mantou bao recipes are 1-rise, unlike the traditional version, making them much quicker to make!
If you’re going all the way in being healthy, and not only cutting out animal products but also sugar, try this no sugar added agar agar jelly. Agar agar is packed with fibre, and helps keep you full, so it’s a great diet food (assuming no sugar is added of course!)
There’s an egg shown in the photo, for non-vegans who want to egg wash their cookies, but the basic recipe is vegan (The 2 cookies on the top are not egg washed. Alternatively, you can use a vegan egg wash if you like the dark sheen on the cookies.)
Do you have a favourite to add to this list of vegan Asian recipes? For more vegan desserts, check out my vegan Christmas food gifts round-up!