Tag Archives: pinoy vegan

Our AstigVegan holiday potluck was much smaller than our summer picnic. Some folks weren’t able to make it because they were either out of town or they were hosting family and friends who were in town-such to be expected during the holiday season.

The turnout was perfect though because my boyfriend’s apartment wouldn’t be able to accomodate a big crowd.

Anthony, Fred, and Caitlin.

Watching a trailer of a Filipino zombie movie. Not sure how we got to the topic of zombies but everybody seemed to have something to say about them hehe

Fred brought his vegan version of "Lechon Kawali"

Fred also made a lechon sauce, his vegan version of "Mang Tomas". He calls it "Mang Fred"

Everybody, including Caitlin, got to write their food on the chalkboard/pantry door. The list got longer down to the desserts.

Cristina's VEGAN brown rice crispies! One version plain, the other topped with chocolate-both equally delightful! I told Cristina she should sell them.

TJ's mushroom bistek...she was about to make some sliders with it.

TJ and her bistek, along with the rest of the dishes (fruits, menudo, maja blanca, suman, brown rice crispies, and lechon kawali and of course rice!)

We're all waiting for Caitlin to open her white elephant gift...not that we want to steal it or anything ;)

I got Fred's gift: an apron with the "Filipino Food" label, I love it!!!

Busy cooks in the kitchen. TJ sauteeing her bistek, Cristina prepping the sushi rice.

Mushroom Bistek sliders, the perfect beer match or "pulutan".

As for my other dish, Menudo, I thought of cooking it for the potluck and making it again for New Year’s Eve.

Filipinos often serve Menudo at parties and social gatherings perhaps because it has so many ingredients we’d like to save all the labor of chopping the ingredients to special occasions. Anyway, the vegan version cuts down the cooking time which makes it not only healthier but also a more convenient alternative.

Here’s how to veganize it:

Vegan Filipino Menudo


  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans or chick peas (I like to peel the skin)
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins or 3 mini boxes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pack vegan hotdogs, diced (sold at most stores)
  • Seitan, diced (substitution for pig liver).
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking oil


  1. Fry the diced vegan hotdog on a large pan. Set aside and season with sea salt.
  2. Using the same pan, add garlic and fry until golden brown.
  3. Add the onions, tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Saute until tender.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Add the tomato paste and mix well to thicken the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the carrots and garbanzo beans. Pour the soy sauce and adjust to taste.
  7. Add the Seitan, vegan hot dog, and raisins. The raisins will naturally sweeten the menudo.
  8. You’re done!

It’s really easy to make. The cooking time is approximately 30minutes yet it will result to similar taste of the traditional version.

Thanks to those who attended the Astig Vegan Holiday Party despite the chaos of the holidays. I look forward to the next get together!

Decked with smooth and polished bamboo, earthy textured wall paper, and sophisticated soft lighting,  you would think Thai Idea Restaurant will charge you at least $20 bucks for a single dish. Instead, this new Thai restaurant in San Francisco offers an all-vegan menu marked with prices of only $6-$12.

I went to check it out with my fellow AstigV blogger, TJ,  my good friend, Aureen, and my boyfriend, Chris. Together, we were about to find out if the food would match the ambiance.

Posh, sophisticated ambiance, but how about the food?

First, we ordered the “Firecracker Ball” as appetizer.  The bite size portions came on a tiny, long container which I found sleek and lovely. Already, the food made an impression. After a bite, I loved the spicy kick without it having to burn my tongue.  I wish it was crispier though, but it carried the right flavor and spice.

I’ve eaten at many Thai restaurants but it’s my first time trying this dish. Maybe it’s the chef’s original creation?

Firecracker Ball for starters

Next was “Panang Curry Shrimp”. I heard that vegan restaurants use yam flour to recreate the texture of shrimp-how innovative! Yet, this dish doesn’t offer anything new to me other than that- it has vegan shrimp; but I don’t find that necessarily a bad thing. Panang Curry fans would love this dish because it stayed true to its authentic flavors. No fusions here. Plus, vegans would find it refreshing from the usual tofu option. We ate this with a bowl of rice.

Panang Curry Shrimp

TJ or Aureen ordered this one, so if I’m not mistaken I think  it’s called Beef Chow Fun. Anyway, that was exactly what it looked and tasted like. If I have a weakness, it’s not eating meat, it’s eating greasy food! And this one definitely had some oil. However, health conscious eaters shouldn’t pass up this plate. The dish had plenty of vegetables to go with the chow fun and faux beef. The vegan beef, by the way was quite chewy and tasted like the real thing but without that meat odor.

Veg Beef Chow Fun

Look at this presentation! An A plus plus for plating; I didn’t even want to dig in because the dish was so pretty!

But I’m glad I did because the “Bangkok ‘duck'” was my favorite out of all. With one bite, I enjoyed the many textures and flavors of this dish; it was sweet, salty, soulful, and not spicy at all. The bite had a crunch but it wasn’t dry either. And like the “Firecracker ball”, this must have been the chef’s original creation because there was nothing quite like it!

Bangkok "Duck"

For dessert, we ordered the FBI: Fried Banana Ice cream. The presentation was once again, a winner. For the price of it however, I wished it had more portion.

We did enjoy this sweet dessert but we found it nothing different from the other great FBIs we’ve ordered in the past-except for the sleek plating.

FBI: Fried Banana Ice Cream

All in all, I’d definitely go back to this place . The ambiance and food elevated Thai Cuisine to a whole new level. Plus, it’s ALL VEGAN!  So yes, Thai Idea exemplifies indeed! To whoever came up with the concept, I say, “What a great (Thai) idea”!

The happy foodies: Aureen, TJ, Chris & I

Thai Idea Vegetarian

710 Polk St
(between Willow St & Eddy St)
San Francisco, CA 9410
(415) 440-8344

A guest post by Jules Mezher

She has been a vegan for 6 months now and she intends to stay that way for the rest of her life.

I was inspired by my eco-foodie fairy, Nadya Hutagalung to start on green juicing a few months back. At that time, I was a pescetarian transitioning to veganism. I have been constantly researching on meal options just to avoid monotony. I am also more of a smoothie person than a juice person so I tried to find out more about green smoothies.

Green smoothies are smoothies made of blended greens and fruits.

I was quite a bit hesitant at first because I was concerned about the nasty taste it might give but I was wrong. Green smoothies turned out tasting to be just like our regular fruit smoothies (with direct proportions, the fruits cover up any bitter taste), only they are packed with more nutrients and with so many advantages to offer.

In the past few months, I have done carrots-cucumbers-lettuce-basil smoothies, cucumbers-lettuce-apples, and spinach-basil-mangoes (I’ve tried them ripe and unripe). Having a variety of greens smoothies will keep you from getting stuck. I stick with whatever is in season to lessen my carbon footprint. Like what I always say, fruits and veggies in season are the wisest choices because you get to have them at their very best.

Just as a side note, I also happen not to like some fruits and vegetables but I am on a mission to give them all another chance to redeem themselves J.  Bitter gourd (or balsam apple) for instance, I abhor it when I was a kid but now I learned that I love it sauteed with tofu and vegetarian oyster sauce. Zucchinis and other gourds are a put-off to me once but I found that the key to liking them is actually not to overcook them. For my smoothies, banana was a big challenge because I really didn’t like them. I despised them. Now, after some experimentation with mangoes, lettuce, soy milk, and peanut butter, it has indeed achieved redemption.

Since I started on green smoothies, I’ve experienced these personally:

  • No more constipation problems and bowels are regular.
  • My skin has cleared up more than ever.
  • Everytime I have a green smoothie for breakfast, I’m more energized and active compared to the days when I have none.

I’m encouraging you to give these green and healthy smoothies a try. We owe it to ourselves.

Here’s one of my recent favorites:

Banana-Lettuce-Peanut Butter Smoothie

3 Bananas

4 leaves of Romaine lettuce

1 Tablespoon of organic Peanut butter

Cold water

What you would need: Blender

Serves 2

To see other guest posts, click here


TJ & RG at AstigVegan would love to hear your own unique veg adventures to share with our readers.

Whether it be with an essay, photo, video, recipe,
we’re excited to feature you!

Just email us at astigvegan@gmail.com

Gloomy weather, be gone!  There’s a new gloom-buster in town and its name is Porridge or Lugaw. And like any superhero, it came with a sidekick, “Tokwa’t Kabute”, not to be mistaken with the first sidekick, but not very AstigVegan, “Tokwa’t Baboy”.

“Tokwa’t who?” Okay, my story may sound a bit cryptic but “Tokwa’t Baboy” or “Tofu and Pork” is a popular side dish to a bowl of Filipino porridge soup called “Lugaw”. The two go so well together, they make a perfect tandem like Batman and Robin.

Interestingly, Lugaw and Tokwa’t Baboy are Filipino favorites not only during the cold season but on hot days as well. Even in a sweltering, hot humid country like the Philippines, a bowl of Lugaw with Tokwa’t Baboy never miss to hit the spot.

To Astig Veganize it, I substituted pork with Shiitake mushroom, a unique kind of mushroom that’s now in season, not to mention, it brings something new to the palate than the usual white button.

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • 1 pack extra firm tofu, cubed (Make sure to squeeze extra moisture. I wrapped it with paper towel)
  • 1/2 pound Shiitake Mushroom, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • cooking oil


  1. In a non-stick pan, over high heat, pour 3 tbsp cooking oil and fry the tofu until crispy
  2. add shiitake mushroom, mix and simmer for 3-5 minutes
  3. In a sauce pot, over low heat, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onion, salt, and brown sugar for 5 minutes
  4. Combine the tofu and mushroom to the mixture for 1-2 minutes then quickly transfer mushroom and tofu to a serving bowl.
  5. You’re done!
This vegan recipe takes only 15 minutes to cook where as the pork version takes about 30-40 minutes.

NOTE: Don’t let the tofu and mushroom sit too much in the sauce. It can get extremely salty, especially if you’re eating it by itself and not with porridge or any other entree. After combining the ingredients, instantly remove the tofu and mushroom from sauce and serve in a separate bowl.

I let the sauce sit for awhile during the shoot, but it's actually important to remove them quickly as it can turn very salty.

I made my Lugaw, Goto style (pronounced Goh-toh) with lots of innards, mushroom innards that is, hehe.  Basically, I used Maitake mushroom to substitute for pork intestines. Maitake is usually expensive but like Shiitake, it’s the season for it so the prices have gone down. Both mushrooms are available at most grocery stores. Feel free to try these exotic ingredients and let me know what you think!

It has a funny name, or should I say, a scary one. Seitan, pronounced Say-tahn, is a kind of wheat gluten. I heard the real spelling was also Satan but I guess people changed it overtime for what may be obvious reasons?

Seitan does have a quirky name and vegans like to poke fun at it all the time. At vegan festivals and fairs, you wouldn’t miss at least one vendor selling a sticker, t-shirt, magnet, or pin that says “Praise Seitan”, “Seitan Rules”, etc.

In a way, the slogans ring true. We vegans do love our Seitan because it brings a different kind of texture that soy doesn’t deliver sometimes. For example, when I went to Seattle for my birthday last year, my friend treated me out at a trendy vegan restaurant called Plum Bistro. And much to my surprise, I spotted steak on their menu. I was skeptical but thought, “hey why not?”. And after a wonderful meal for a vegan birthday girl, I considered their Seitan Steak one of the best vegan dish I have ever had-and I’ve eaten TONS of scrumptious vegan food in my more than three years of the lifestyle!

The steak was  juicy, tender, fatty and flavorful. The chef might have squeezed a little bit of lemon in the sauce because I tasted some acidity that perfectly complimented the savory salty of the dish. But to clarify, it didn’t taste like a T-Bone cow steak; I didn’t think it was trying to. The Seitan Steak was king in its own right. Plus, it was cruelty-free, so yes, I shall praise Seitan indeed! :P The dish was unforgettable I had to order it again when I came back to Seattle this year. The photo below was taken from my second visit.

Cruelty Free, Healthy, and Delicious: Seitan Steak!

Most people I know would dismiss vegan food as only tofu and plants. Hopefully, they’ll soon realize that there are so much more to it. Aside from tofu, our meat substitutes vastly include mushrooms, tempeh, yams, and of course, seitan.

I do have a confession though; the irony to this is in my more than three years of cruelty-free cooking, I still hadn’t made a Seitan dish!

That is, until my boyfriend and I challenged ourselves to an Iron Chef-like competition with Seitan as the main component.

The timer started ticking and the game was on! Chris and I rummaged through our groceries as we attempted to maximize the hour allotted to prepare and cook; the pressure was mounting. The competition would have been funner if we had other people as judges but the Iron Chef idea was a last minute thing so we instead relied on ourselves to (honestly) judge each other’s dish.

With the meaty characteristics of Seitan, I immediately thought, stew! Apritada stew to be exact.

Unlike cooking beef or chicken Apritada, the vegan version should only take about 30-40min depending on the serving size.

INGREDIENTS (Makes 4 servings)

  • 1 pack of Seitan (available at most health, grocery stores)
  • 2 pcs potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 pcs tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 pound or 1 small pack button mushroom, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4-6 pcs bay leaves
  • 1/4 pound fresh green beans, halved
  • 1 stick of carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • kalamata olives (not really Filipino but I love putting them in my Apritada)


  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Sautee the garlic, onion and tomatoes.
  3. Add the potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
  4. Add the red bell pepper, bay leaves, and carrots. Simmer for about 3 min.
  5. Add the green beans, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce, and sweet relish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust sweet relish to taste.
  6. Add Seitan and simmer until boiling. You’re done!

Chris went for the classic steak marinate to create his own version of Seitan Steak. I can”t remember exactly what he did but it involved tons of butter, special spices, and some steak rub. I still have to ask him for the recipe.

Chris' rendition of Seitan Steak

Time was up and we served each other our respective dish. Aside from the main entrees, we also whipped up some Arugula salad and vegan Caprese salad in the hour we allotted for ourselves.

Deliberation time and Chris said he found the use of Seitan most appropriate in the stew and the starch ingredients went well with the sauce. He said he also like the the component of sweet relish to the dish, adding a sweetness and a lil bit of tart to the sauce. On the other hand, he commented that the sauce could be made thicker. I realized maybe I could have added a tablespoon of tomato paste.

Okay, my turn: his steak carried the perfect spice and marinate. The butter brought out the fatty flavor in every bite. My only concern was it was little dry. Maybe if he added some sauce on top or something on the side that would have played with the texture of the steak.

All in all, it was a good challenge. I couldn’t wait to try more Seitan in my cooking. Oh the possibilities! Seitan in Bistek, Tocino, Mechado, Morcon, Kaldereta, etc. Stay tuned for more recipes blog posts here on Astig Vegan!

And speaking of Kaldereta, my other AstigV, TJ,  knows how to whip up some mean pot of Kaldereta!

TJ's Seitan Kaldereta

TJ deserves some kind of award or something for her creation. I recall when TJ & I sold our food at a mini-fair, her pot of Kaldereta was gone within 15 minutes!

When Twitter friend and fellow blogger, Annapet Santos, asked AstigVegan to join the Squash Love Blog Hop, I was stuck. What should I make that has squash in it? Pinakbet? Nilaga? Those might be too obvious choices. I needed something more intriguing, something more unheard of. Then after some research, I found a veg recipe online that I’m sure most Filipinos would think it’ll be impossible to veganize… Tortang Talong!

Tortang Talong or Eggplant Omelette is made by frying eggplants dipped in egg batter.  Many Filipinos love it because it’s tasty and convenient to cook, especially if they’re on a budget.

As a kid, I used to call it “pamaypay” or fan in English because the dish resembles the shape of a fan-something that we Filipinos always use to cool ourselves during hot days especially during electricity blackouts, or as we call it,  brownouts,  (not cool! both figuratively and literally!). I would ask my mom, “Ma, gusto ko pong kainin yung pamaypay” (“Mom, I’d like to eat the fan please”), and my mother would just chuckle as she knew exactly what I meant.

I missed those good ol’ days of eating Tortang Talong with rice and banana ketchup on the side. I’m bound to revive this dish but with a twist!

Originally, Tortang Talong consists of eggplants and eggs. To veganize it, I replaced the eggs with a mixture that has, you guessed it, squash, specifically, kabocha squash.


  • 3-4 eggplants, roasted and peeled
  • 1/2 kabocha squash, seeds removed, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed extra firm tofu (I used the brand Hodo Soy, makes a big difference!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Broth (if using “Harvest” bouillon Mix, use 1/2 tsp instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

NOTE:  Peeling the skin of the kabocha squash may be challenging, try chopping the squash in to cubes first, then slice off the hard skin. The smaller the cubes, the easier you can remove the skin.


  • Boil the cubed pieces of squash until tender and ready to be mashed.
  • Roast the eggplants, until they’re charred and tender. I used my stove to have that light smoky flavor. Rotate occasionally to cover all sides.
  • Peel the skin off the eggplants carefully, then LIGHTLY mash the eggplants without removing them from the stem.

  • In a bowl, completely mash the squash. Then add the flour, vegetable broth, water, turmeric powder, salt and tofu. This will serve as your egg batter so combine well.
  • Dip the roasted, peeled eggplant to the batter.

  • In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the eggplant and add more batter around the eggplant to make the shape of a pancake (or a fan!).
  • Fry until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side. Repeat with the other eggplants.

  • Serve with rice and banana ketchup on the side.

I’m proud to say that my mom, who used to cook this for me when I was a kid, couldn’t tell that my Tortang Talong was vegan.

Let’s eat!


November is #squashlove month!

Please join in on the #squashlove fun by linking up any squash recipe (pumpkins, winter squashes, zucchini, anything!) from the month of November 2011.

Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #squashlove event! The twitter hashtag is #squashlove :).

You are next… Click here to enter

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Thanks to a fellow vegan and twitter friend, Marla Zapanta, I have something to beat this cold weather blues: hot cocoa.

Vegan hot cocoa perfectly warms the body especially on a rainy day; Chocolate is an excellent cure for the blues.

You don’t need to have extensive culinary training to whip up one. Just  combine the ingredients in a pot, let it simmer, and you’re done!

But after one sip, my hot cocoa tasted something so closely Filipno and vegan…tsampurado! I thought, “Why not add sticky rice to complete the dish?”, and that’s exactly what I did.

One important note: I added 1/2 cup of sticky rice, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, about 1-1 1/2 cup soymilk and about 5 tbsp of Agave syrup. Keep the heat low and stir occasionally until the sticky rice is softened. To keep it more Filipino, after pouring the tsampurado into a bowl, I topped it with milk. But instead of condensed cow’s milk, I used soymilk.