TOAfter weeks of a diet whose main food groups are pate, cheese and Ferrero Rocher, I started the new year with my mind and guts crying out for a change. However, I will not allow myself to go on a fast diet. Instead, I will shift my focus to foods that nourish and satisfy and, in particular, feed the gut microbiome. These dishes are based on legumes, which by nature are full of fiber, to support all the microorganisms that lodge in our digestive system and help us stay healthy. Both are also great to make bulk and freeze, for days when you can’t cook but need something warm and comforting.
Peanut stew with roasted tofu and garlic
This stew is inspired by some of my favorite Southeast Asian flavors. The beans make it filling, but you can serve it with rice or noodles, if you like. The stew freezes well, but the garnish of roasted garlic, coriander, and cucumber should be made fresh.
Duties 10 minutes
to cook 20 minutes
It serves 6
100g whole raw peanuts
one½ tablespoon of vegetable oil
4-5 (20g) garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
20 g ginger, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼-½ teaspoon chili powder, taste
300 g red onions, peeled and sliced
2 x cans of mixed beans – I used red and black-eyed beans.
150g smooth peanut butter
1 x can of coconut milk
150 ml of boiling water
Zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 bag 230 g deep-fried tofu snacks – I like the TofuKing brand
1 cucumber, cut into thin sticks
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons oil
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) / 390F / gas 6. Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast for six minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Let cool and then coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then fry the garlic, ginger, turmeric, and chilli for a minute or two, until the garlic begins to brown. Add the onions, sauté, stirring, for eight minutes, until tender, then add the beans, peanut butter, coconut milk, water, zest and lime juice, fish and soy sauces and sugar. Simmer for two to three minutes, then add the tofu and simmer for another five minutes.
While the stew simmers, prepare the garnish. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them as thinly as you can. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low heat, then sauté the garlic for a couple of minutes until hazelnut brown. Immediately pour into a heat-resistant container to prevent overcooking.
To serve, divide the stew into bowls and top with the cucumber and a little roasted peanuts, coriander, roasted garlic and its oil.
Black lentils with miso, mushrooms and chives
Miso soup is one of my favorite quick lunches. If you want this to be particularly more enjoyable, use king oyster mushrooms; You can usually find them in stores in Southeast Asia. They are a bit more expensive than regular mushrooms, but they are much tastier.
Duties 10 minutes
to cook 20 minutes
It serves 4
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
25 g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
250g beluga lentils
300g mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch chives, thinly sliced
80g dark miso paste – I use the Clearspring brown rice miso
Chili oil, to serve
Put a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the ginger and fry until it is starting to brown. Pour in the lentils and 600 ml of boiling water, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
While the lentils are cooking, fry the mushrooms in a second pan with another tablespoon of oil for six minutes, until they are reduced in size and brown around the edges. Put on a plate, then turn the heat to high, add the last tablespoon of oil and sauté the chives for a couple of minutes, until they are burned.
Stir the miso into the cooked lentils (you may need to add a little more or less miso depending on its concentration), then add the fried mushrooms and decant into bowls. Serve topped with chives and a drizzle of chili oil.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism