Friday, November 24, 2006

Ben's wagamama inspired dish

Wagamama in Glasgow

While I don't miss the chaotic flight attendant life I lead for almost 2 years, I do however miss much of what the UK has to offer. If any of you ever go to the UK I can definately suggest a plethora of must-visit places to eat. Pret a manger, Itsu, Tiffinbites, MAOZ, and the list goes on and on. One of my favorite places to visit in the UK (they're everywhere in the UK!) was Wagamama's. Wagamama is an amazing take on Japanese cooking. They focus on flavours such as miso, coconut, ginger, lemongrass and lime... to name a few. I recently purchased a copy of the wagamama cookbook. While Wagamama isn't vegetarian at all; it does cater to vegetarians and vegans; many of their dishes are vegetarian, a few are vegan... and the waiters know how to veganise the vegetarian ones (usually swapping one noodle for another). Oh yea... it's really a noodle bar kinda place.

I was inspired today to create my own take on a wagamama dish. I didn't have a plethora of ingredients tonight but I saw how in this one recipe they stir fry the veggies in miso soup and that got the wheels turning. I wanted to try something where I'd rely more on steam and would end up with mostly veggies and a bit of miso broth; much like a red curry recipe for example. Anyway enough talking... here it is!

Ben's wagamama inspired recipe

1 cup water
1 tablespoon barley miso (or whatever miso)
1/4 of a Kabocha or buttercup squash, peel sliced off, cubed
1/3 block of extra firm tofu, cubed into 1" cubes
1 small red onions, cut into half rings
8 small to medium shitake mushrooms, some sliced, some quartered
1 cup small broccoli florets
10-16 sugar snap peas, whole
agave nectar
1 small carrot, thinly sliced into a ribbon with a mandolin

Place the water into a wok and turn on high/medium heat. When water starts to get hot, add miso and mix well to combine. Add onions, tofu and squash to form an even layer at the bottom of the wok. Add the mushrooms, sugar snap peas and broccoli on top of the first layer. Drizzle on a bit of agave. Cover the wok and allow to simmer. Check back every 5 minutes and give it a bit of a stir; try not to lose all the steam. When you start to notice that the squash starts to "mash" easily when poked with your spatula, it's time to serve the dish. Spoon into two bowls, being careful to leave the squash cubes intact. Evenly distribute liquid left over. Top with carrot ribbon. Easy schmeazy! Oil free and full of nutrients!

[Update: 11/27/2006] This recipe is very adaptable and I wanted to let you know I made the same recipe last night using different ingredients. Instead of red onions I used 1 tablespoon grated ginger. First layer consisted again of Kabocha squash and cubed tofu. Layer two was broccoli and baby bok choi (sliced). I added a third layer of chopped kale. Topped with agave nectar and this time a squirt or two of low sodium Tamari and followed the same directions. Also, check out Candi's blog where she tailored this recipe based on the ingredients she had around.


Anonymous said...

Looks so delicious! I checked out the Wagamama site and it looks fabulous indeed. They're even opening one in Boston. Too bad I don't live in Boston but Candi totally lucks out!!!

Kris said...

Wow, that look incredible! I've never heard of that restaurant before, but from what you made, I'm sure it's wonderful! While chaotic, I'm sure the experiences you had and all the traveling was fascinating.

aTxVegn said...

Yum, that looks so good! I'm eating so much pumpkin/squash lately I'm sure I'm starting to turn orange.

Saw your comment on my post - look for Arrowhead Mills gf baking mix too. It's just as good as Bob's.

I see cowboy hats and boots everyday, but Austin is the coolest place in Texas to be. I'm just trying to do my part to "Keep Austin Weird" (our motto)!

b36Kitchen said...

this looks so delicious and healthy!
i just made your cinnamonny apple almond pancakes for breakfast....very good! Peter approved!
thanks for the recipe


bazu said...

Cool! I love learning about new cool international places... (you'll be happy to know there are plenty of pret a mangers in NYC, in case you're ever down) and this recipe looks magnificent! So lush. Love it. Must make it. and EAT it.

Oh, in response to your comment, I *wish* there was a good prize in that contest that I could share with all my blogger friends... but alas, you might want to cover your eyes, they announced after I entered that the grand prize would be a year's worth of organic milk! EWWW. I'm definitely not taking it if I win. =)

Judy said...

Mmmm....sounds so good!

Candi said...

Yum! That place looks great. Are the really opening one in Boston!! *dances*

Oooh, I love the recipe you gave us! Looks so good and easy too!! Guess what? I'm off to make it right now! Lol! I have most the ingredients, it looks great, and I'm starved. Perfect! Lol! Thanks for the idea!!

Ok, my wok calls me...

Hope you had a great weekend!!

Candi said...

Me again! This dish is So good!! I'm eating it now! Lol! I used pumpkin, spinach, and frozen peas, since I didn't have some of the ingredients you listed. It's still really good! I took photos and will blog and link to your recipe soon. Yum! I appreciate how it has no oil too!

Ben Kaelan said...

VivaciousV: I just figured out there's one in Amsterdam which kicks ass cause I'm going there in a few weeks. The Amsterdam menu doesn't look as veggie friendly as the UK menu but I think I'll manage. I'm totally going to Boston next year for VegFest and Wagamama will definately be one of my stops!

Kris: Thanks for the nice comments. The flight attendant life was chaotic indeed and the environment I worked in was reminiscent of high school... but regardless I did get a lot of travelling done that I otherwise would never have been able to afford.

Diann: I just don't know what I'm going to do when squash season is officially over. It's already starting to look a bit scarce over here. Sigh. I'm still on the hunt for some GF baking mix... I'm going to a huge supermarket that carries a lot of whole foods stuff so I'll look there! I went online and read all about "keep austin weird"... heheeh that sounds like my kinda place!

Jenna: It's yummy indeed. I'm happy you tried the apple pancakes... next you have to try the pumpkin pancakes... they're definately a whole other league in terms of tastiness! If you don't have the K-squash, just use pumpkin.. it worked out for everyone else who did. :)

Bazu: That's so cool; I totally thought that Pret a manger was a UK-only thing. I love their hummus sandwiches... and their tasty smoothies... and (I dont know if this is only in the UK) their miso soup in a venti-starbucks-cup-like cup.... which was great to have when walking around Glasgow on cold Scottish mornings. I was only joking about sharing the prize lol but you should totally demand a year of organic soy milk!!! That's nuts! For treehuggers they sure aren't that hippie-like... pshaw!

Judy: It's good tastying and good for you too! :)

Candi: You're adorable! I was on msn when you posted your comment so I read it right away and was like "oh fun". An hour later I got the second comment and I was laughing cause it was like I was getting live updates :) Like I wrote in your comments, I love this recipe because you can totally change it up easily depending upon what's in your cupboard. Your enthusiasm for my recipes is really endearing :) Thanks a lot!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I not only need a wok, it seems, but also a mandolin ! LOL

It look so very good, Ben ! And Candi's creation is just as appetizing !

I have shiro miso (pale miso)... I don't know if it would be as good but I'll try :)

madeinalaska said...

yep, I agree w/ Gaia.. yours and Candii's creation looks soo.. flippen good. You are a rock star!

Anonymous said...

I've seen that cookbook many times and wished it was vegetarian...cause like you, I do like a lot of the ingredients they use.

Pret a Manger is my favourite place to eat lunch! I go there all the time when I travel through London! Not like I travel that much...but when I do, I make sure I go there.

Nikk said...

Okay, I just read that they're bringing one to me in Boston. Bwahahaha! Thanks for the recipe and the heads up! :)

Ben Kaelan said...

Gaia: I don't know what I did without my mandolin before I bought it. I did lose one of the blades though and I'm struggling to find it. I believe I may have thrown it out with veggie scraps. Sigh. I think any form of miso would work; I just really like barley miso because it's bold and buttery and very yummy.

Madeinalaska: I think that'll be the title of my cookbook; Vegan Superstar; how to impress your potential mating partners with vegan goodness! LOL

Megan: I know I was kinda grossed out buying a cookbook with so many pics of meat but I love the cooking style so much and the veggie recipes that it seemed worth the price.

Nikki: What is up with Boston being so awesome? I'm so jealous. I'm totally visiting Boston next year for VegFest. And we're all going to eat at Wagamamas after hehehe :) I need to move to Boston... Or maybe they could move Boston next door to my house? then I could still be canadian, have my right to marry a cute boy and have vegfest and wagamama within walking distance :)

Candi said...

Oh! I like the idea of moving Boston up to Canada!! Then, I can also be near my awesome blogger friends AND I can have the brother of the cute boy you marry! Lol!!

aTxVegn said...

Ben, I made your apple cinnamon pancakes - YUMMO!

- Diann

Valentina said...

Ben, I was in Amsterdam last Monday and Perry and I had a great vegan day (felafel-hummus for lunch at MAOZ and a great Thai diiner).
However, as you probably know already, Holland is not a place for vegans, I lived here for one year now (and I'm leaving) but it didn't get better. they're all into their meat and cheese.
But you'll find vegan food, no problem for that. make a lot of pictures and post them ;)

Urban Vegan said...

I LOVE WAGAMAMA. We eat at various branches whenever we're in London.
I especially love their carrot ginger juice.

And oh, mama, your dish makes me wanna go waga.

bazu said...

Hi Ben! Just popped back in to say I hope you're doing well and I miss your posts and kitchen creations!

Harald Walker said...

Do you know the Wagamama restaurants in Amsterdam? There are two now (and some more in other towns). Our favorite Wagamama meal is #51 yasai chilli men and based on that we've created our own variation, Walkermama #51

オテモヤン said...