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Monday, June 11, 2007

the vegan diaspora

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As a child of the digital age, I can't even begin to enumerate all the reasons the internet is awesome. Sure, there are the drawbacks, and there are issues, and there are a lotta freaky peeps out there, but there are so many cool things about it.

For starters, it has a remarkable ability to demarginalize those who reside at the outer reach of their day-to-day societies. It's like a great gathering place (for a whacked out video, check this out) and the enormous power is that it can take individuals who are scattered everywhere (i.e., the diaspora) and bring them together. You can start by talking about ex-pats of various countries, and all the various communities that exist online for them to commisserate and trade stories....but what really piques my interest is not only the extent of the vegan diaspora, but its power and popularity.

You see, at best guess, there are not a heck of a lot of vegans in the western hemisphere. I've heard guesses ranging from 5 to 10 per cent of folks being vegetarians (primarily lacto/ovo), but of the vegetarians, only about 5% are actually vegan. So when you compare the number of vegans out there (maybe 0.5%?) to the number of vegan food just have to wonder.

This is something that struck me when I was looking through the listings on blogtopsites (if you scroll all the way to the bottom of my blog, you can see that I'm part of this ranking, and I seem to range anywhere from 100 to 175th, depending on the time of week and how much I've posted). Take a look at the top 15 sites, and 2 of them are vegan. And there are tons of vegan sites in the top 100 sites. Waaaaay more sites than one would have expected, given their proportional representation in the online populace. I can only surmise that like so many other communities, vegans have discovered the real gathering and convivial power of the Internet. And that's cool. I get a lot of hits on this blog coming from people either directed from vegan web sites, or different google searches.

I don't have a lot of conclusions to draw from this, all I can do is add to the diaspora ;) So this entry is a vegan offering. Like the shrimp skillet, this is also very quick, pretty healthy and darn tasty. Hubs gobbled down two plates and I thoroughly enjoyed my own serving. Even better, this recipe serves 6 so there's lots left for my lunches this week.

Green Curried Kidney Beans with Coconut Milk

1 onion, chopped
cooking spray
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 T thai green curry paste (I used 2. It was spicy, but not ridiculous)
1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can coconut milk
1 lime (grate zest, then juice it)
2 T brown sugar (or a little more)
1 T soy sauce (use fish sauce if you aren't vegan/vegetarian)
1 cup sugar snap or snow peas, trimmed and halved
1/3 c. chopped coriander
4 cups cooked jasmine rice

1. (Put rice on to cook). Sauté the chopped onion in a large skillet coated with cooking spray (medium heat). Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

2. Add curry paste, sauté 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk. Gotta love the easy canned goodness of this recipe.
more fast food hehe

3. Add kidney beans, diced tomatoes, lime juice, lime rind, sugar and fish sauce.
black beans, canned tomatoes, coconut milk

4. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for a few minutes (take this time to prep your peas!). Add coriander and snow peas. Let simmer for about 2-3 minutes (I like the peas to be crunchy!). Serve over basmati rice. :)

tasted as good as it looked

This was reaaaaallly tasty. I'm normally a little ambivalent with kidney beans, but this was a great use of them. Yummy. The sweet creaminess of the coconut milk was fabulous with the bite of lime and heat. And I LOVE coriander, so that was good too. You could equally substitute basil and it would be terrific. You could also use red curry paste (incidentally, that was my initial plan, but I was out of it).

And I'm also loving the big pile of leftovers.
leftovers are awesome

(hehe - hubs likes more rice and I like more stuff....can you guess whose lunch is whose?).

Thanks for reading! :)


Anonymous said...

How can this be vegetarian, never mind vegan, if it contains fish sauce?

Unfortunantly, there really isn't a animal-free version of this condiment.

PeachBellini said...

I think it looks yummy.

Re anon: I'm sure that vegans will realise that fish sauce is to be omitted:-)

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

anonymous - I realized that this morning when I woke up and came on the blog to fix it. You can substitute soy sauce for an equally tasty effect. :)

athena - during the course of vegan week back in January, I got accustomed to the occasionally jumpy nature of some vegans. :) I just remind myself that at least I'm trying. :)

Janet said...

Hi Leslie - I think it looks great DESPITE the fact that it doesn't have meat... :-)

Jes said...

I adore that there are so many vegan blogs--and it's true, in "real" life we seem so separated!

kickpleat said...

it's funny because i've got a whole bunch of vegan friends so i don't know if that's weird or not and as a result have been doing a lot of vegan cooking. your curry looks great!

HumanUnit said...

Thanks so much for all of your coverage of all things vegan. I must admit that I've never really had an interest in that type of cooking, but it's been on my radar screen as of late for environmental reasons and also, my little brother's just decided to go vegan. It's great to have resources available. Maybe it'll stop my mom from worrying so much ;).

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you used jasmine or basmati rice. The recipe lists jasmine but you say basmati in the text. The pictures look like jasmine.

Someone Out There said...

Hi Leslie - I'm not a vegan but I am totally going to try some of your yummie looking recipes!
Thanks for posting them =) ~bunnihuggles~

Samantha said...

That looks very tasty. I will try this one. I took a Thai cooking class and they recommend salt as a substitute for fish sauce.

Susan Voisin said...

This looks terrific. I've got a vegetarian fish sauce recipe somewhere, and I may just dust it off and give your recipe a try.

You raise a very interesting topic here. Vegans have been "gathering" via the internet since it began, so blogging is just the next step. In fact, I think the vegan community in general is late to blogging; when I started my blog 18 months ago, there were less than 5 vegan blogs that I could find. Vegans then were using message boards to share their recipes. But in that 18 months, something happened and now every vegan I know has a blog. And that's a good thing! :-)

Anonymous said...

I liked this a lot, and this is a great easy recipe to start some Thai variations from. I'm thinking the same sauce method for tofu or cauliflower would be really good too. Thanks Leslie!

As a foodie vegetarian, I definitely appreciate your vegetarian content! I found your blog on a suggestion from a WB'er, and I a m so glad I did!

Oh, and for the vegan version, I use soy sauce as a replacement for fish sauce all the time. Even in pad thai. A lot of my recipe books actually give this suggestion. It It seems to work, although I'm sure the fish sauce would give a more complex flavour.

One question, did you find it sour? I think I'll use less lime next time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting it. It was a total hit with my family and I have a picky 16 year-old who is almost a vegetarian and a husband who is not that inclined towards ethnic dishes. So thank you again! :)

Foxy Renard said...

Okay, I made this tonight and it is to.die.for. However, I substituted crushed tomatoes for diced (the boy hates chunk in his tomatoes) and used a 28oz can -- left out the kidney beans, replaced with chicken, and then spooned out a bunch of the curry/sauce before adding basil/snowpeas, then added back more curry paste and coconut milk to get it more curry-ish. The mix is now officially Thai tomato soup for lunch tomorrow. Hah. But SO good.

arjay said...

i find this blog very useful since i am just starting to become a vegan myself. would u mind if i put you on my links? just to help spread the good news :-p

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