September 29, 2005

IMBB #19 -Vegan Tom Yum Sam of Becks & Posh is hosting IMBB #19 Vegan, a great event to launch World Vegetarian month (October) perfectly perfect but Sam is one smart vegan cookie. Lately, I’ve become curious about Asia cuisine in particular Thai food. Needless to say the intersection of this new study with that of having to cook a vegan dish presented a challenge. Just about every dish has that essential ingredient fish sauce or nam pla. Truly this is the single most important flavoring for authentic Thai. An adequate substitute can be found in soy sauce although not in equal parts due to its strength. So although this soup recipe from Real Vegetarian Thai, by Nancie McDermott in her own words, veers “away from the framework of authenticity” she is a realist. Thailand, McDermott writes, “lacks a strong indigenous vegetarian tradition.” There are religious practices such as Terawada Buddhism and Sino-Thais (Thais of Chinese descent) that have long traditions of traditions of vegan fasts and cuisines. It’s interesting to note that the Thai concept of veganism is stricter than Western interpretations in that many stimulating spices, onions, garlic and alcohol are excluded from the vegan diet. These items are said to inflame passions. In Phuket there is a 9-day Vegetarian Festival in early autumn where the center of town becomes a showcase for Thai-style Chinese vegetarian cooking. This version of a popular soup, Tom Yum is a spicy lemongrass soup with mushrooms and tofu. More commonly found is tom yum goong, which contains...


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