First thing's first, Happy New Year from the Vita Team! To mark the beginning of 2022, Veganuary is now underway whereby people are being encouraged to try vegan dishes throughout January and the rest of the year.
Last year's edition of Veganuary saw a record half a million Brits sign up to cook up some vibrant plant-inspired dishes.
This trend is set to exponentially rise in the near future, with this market's worth expected to hit £6.1 billion by 2025.
Chinese Herbal Vegan Recipes
The Chinese have always had a slightly different perspective on healthy eating, focusing primarily on, 'Food being a crucial medicine for health'. The role of medicine and food intertwine in Eastern culture, with many ingredients being prized for seasonal health benefits.
With that being said, we've outlined some Chinese herbal recipes for you to try as part of Veganuary 2022.
Check out our favourites below...
1) Red Bean Buns
For those with a slightly sweeter appetite, these Red Bean Buns are a delicious snack that originates from Beijing and Tianjin Han.
- 500g flour
- 10g baking powder
- 250ml milk / water
- 5g yeast powder
- 50g sugar
- 250g uncooked red adzuki beans
- Knob of butter
Method - making the bean paste
1) Place the beans into a pressure cooker/pan and cover with water.
2) Simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes.
3) After this time, release the water vapour and heat the butter in a wok, then add the cooked beans together.
4) Mash the beans with the back of a spoon and continue to stir until mixed thoroughly.
5) Add in the sugar, stirring evenly throughout to make a thick paste. Once this has thickened, turn off the wok.
6) Let the bean paste cool, then roll the paste into small balls (size of a walnut).
Method - making the dough
1) Place the flour into a mixing bowl, then add the yeast, baking powder to mix.
2) Pour in the milk/water and stir until the dough starts to form.
3) Knead the dough by hand for up to 30 minutes (time well spent, we promise).
Method - bringing everything together
1) Divide the dough into small paste balls, rolling these out big enough to stuff with the red bean paste filling.
2) Place the dough flat in your hand, placing a bean paste ball on top while enclosing the dough around it.
3) Bond the two together, but ensure you don't distort the rounded shape.
4) Place the bean paste buns (sealed side down) on the bottom of the steamer, then cover the lid and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the buns to puff up in size.
5) Make sure to check on them between the 20 minute mark.
6) Once they have risen to a higher position, steam them for a further 15-20 minutes on a slightly higher temperature setting.
7) Remove from heat after this time, let them stand for 1 minute.
8) Serve & enjoy!
What’s special about Red Adzuki Beans?
Red Adzuki Beans are a vibrant ingredient to a number of dishes, with some great health boosting benefits. They may be able to aid weight loss, aid digestion, manage blood sugar levels and maintain heart health to name a few.
They are also naturally high in antioxidants and are one of the best sources of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for health & wellbeing.
2) Vegetable Dumplings
Typically found with a meaty-core, we've substituted this with some tasty 'shrooms!
Here's how to whip up these little bites of heaven:
- 3 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon of grounded dried ginger root (Gan Jiang)
- 1 large onion
- 2 cups of Shiitake mushroom
- 1 1/2 cups of cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups of carrot
- 1 cup chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Touch of oil
1) Start by making the delicious dough for these delightful bites. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add water and knead together to make a smooth texture. Once completely mixed, cover the dough and let this rest for one hour.
3) Lightly cook the ginger root until aromatic, then add the large onion and stir-fry together.
4) Next, add the chopped Shiitake mushrooms and fry for another 4 minutes, until the mushrooms look tender and juicy.
5) In the mixing bowl, add the chopped garlic, white pepper, oil, soy sauce and a dash of sugar. Stir together, adding a pinch of salt throughout to taste.
Making the dumplings:
- To start creating the dumplings, cut the dough into small, tablespoon-sized pieces and roll these into a circle.
- Add the filling inside the dumplings and fold over in a parcel.
- Place these in a separate pan and fry them for 2 minutes.
- Pour a fine layer of water into the pan while reducing the heat to medium-to-low after 2 minutes.
- Allow these to cook for a couple more minutes, until the base of the dumplings are crisp and golden.
- Remove from heat, let them stand for a couple of minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
What’s special about Shiitake Mushrooms?
A very popular ingredient in Eastern cuisine, Shiitake Mushrooms are believed to nourish your body's spirit, boosting your health and providing longevity of life. They contain 8 forms of amino acids which are crucial for human nutrition.
3) Vegan Broth
A hearty dish for the cold January weather, this ancient broth is a versatile dish for a number of health benefits.
This recipe has been developed to potentially help with:
- Muscular aches
- Dry and sore throat
- Poor appetite
If you are suffering from the above symptoms, this soup may be beneficial for you:
- 4 spring onions (Cong Bai) or 1 large leek
- Dried ginger root (Gan Jiang)
- White or black ground pepper (Hu Jiao)
- Dried orange peel (Chen Pi) – optional
- Garlic – optional
- You will need 4 spring onions or the stem of a leek – it is recommended to keep the hair roots and wash them clean. Cut off the green leaves and cut the spring onion stems into halves or cut the leeks into quarters longways.
- Wash the ginger and keep the skin on then cut it into 5 slices.
Making the broth:
1) Put the ingredients into a pan and add one and a half cups of cold water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until there is around one cup of liquid left. Sprinkle a pinch of white or black ground pepper, stir and stop cooking.
2) For the best results, drink the soup when it is warm then rest in bed under the covers. It is beneficial to stay warm and sweat lightly. Try not to get cold as it may worsen the condition.
3) If you drink the soup on an empty stomach, add some sugar or honey for a further boost.
4) If you have a cough, add some tangerine peel to the soup and add some honey, but not sugar. Sip it warm like a cup of tea.
Dried Orange Peel (Chen Pi) is a fantastic herb with some great benefits to aid health & wellbeing. Oranges are renowned for its high vitamin C content, with the peel/skin contains great amounts of provitamin A, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium and vitamin B6. Legend has it, the more aged the peel, the more potent its therapeutic energy.
Dried Ginger Root (Gan Jiang) is an ingredient naturally high in minerals, being a great source of potassium, magnesium, copper and vitamin B6. They are prized for their therapeutic properties, being known to fight infection, improve heart health and balance blood sugar levels.
Now you’re prepared with 3 Veganuary recipes ideas for 2022, you can join the movement and taste some herbal goodness. We’d love to see your take on these traditional recipes, so please send us your food pics to email@example.com and we’ll feature them on our site!
For any additional recipe ideas using Chinese culinary herbs, click here.