Around the World in 80 Dates is a blog series designed to take me (and Tom) out of our comfort zones and force us to cook food from other countries. Each week, we use a random country generator to tell us where we will be cooking from. We have to cook at least one dish from this country, the more traditional the better. We alternate who’s cooking each week, this week is my turn.
That’s right, the Christmas and New Year period is absolutely behind us and we are back into our standard routine. It’s Monday, it’s Around the World in 80 Dates Day, all has returned to the way that it was before.
There is one snag to this series throughout January, of course, and that is that I’ll have to bloody veganise everything. It almost seems a waste of the Filipino cuisine to limit it to Veganuary but such is life, I can always revisit it later.
It’s tough to work out how to veganise foreign recipes while still staying more or less true to form, because I’m not used to working with them and don’t know what a natural replacement or alternative method might be for any given ingredient or process.
Thankfully, a quick google search led me to Astig Vegan, a blogger specialising in the very small niche that is Filipino vegan cuisine. The fucking internet man, you can’t beat it.
I had a little browse and eventually settled on Sarciado. Why? Same reason as always. It had the smallest amount of ingredients and seemed relatively easy to reproduce. I keep thinking I’m going to dedicate hours to this project and then leaving myself a maximum of two. Whatever, I am who I am.
Sarciado is traditionally a fish dish, but this blogger replaces it with crispy tofu.
I know, I know, it’s practically criminal of me to cook a dish that makes tomatoes the star of the show when we’re absolutely not in tomato season. The dish in fact has its origins in the kitchens of people with too glorious a tomato glut at the height of the season.
Usually, I try to stick to seasonal, but when you’re just settling back into a blog series in the first week of January and trying to find a recipe that fits your temporary vegan needs, the world is very much not your oyster.
I was worried when I first set out that I was just cooking a dish that I’d cooked a million times before, I mean it’s tomato sauce and rice.. there’s not a lot of wiggle room for vastly different tastes.
However, the thing that’s different about Sarciado when compared with something like a ragu or a Bolognese is that the tomatoes are cooked for just a few minutes as opposed to stewed and developed for sometimes hours. The resulting taste and texture is something rather more fresh.
It goes to show, I guess, that there is always wiggle room for vastly different tastes. I should have known.