Vegan Bicol Express Recipe (Oil-free)

by - June 24, 2019

filipino vegan recipes

SERVINGS: good for 3-5 pax

- 1 large block of firm tofu. (Firm tofu is sold in two variations in the palengke: in squares, or in a rectangle block. You may get several pieces of the squares or just get the latter. Here in Angono, the square ones are at Php4 each while the large block is Php24 a pop.)
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 siling haba aka siling pansigang (aka finger chili. You may add more if you like it really, really spicy. You can even add siling labuyo if desired)
- 5 winged beans (aka sigarilyas. You may add more.)
- 250 grams of coconut milk (Get it fresh from the palengke. Say "1/4", and that's 250 grams.)
- 1 thumb-sized ginger (or sub with 2 tsp of ginger powder)
- 2 cups of water, more if needed
- 2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- If you wish to fry the tofu, have some canola oil at the ready (NO TO PALM OIL)

- Preheat oven to 245C.
- Cut the tofu in little square blocks and arrange on a baking tray. Line it with a reusable silicone sheet to avoid sticking. A baking paper would also do. (But go get a reusable silicone sheet because #zerowaste!. Oh, you may also air-fry the tofu!)
- Bake tofu for 30 minutes. Set aside when done.
- Mince red onion and garlic. Chop tomatoes, red bell pepper, and siling haba. Roughly chop the winged beans
- Julienne the ginger (i.e. cut it into strips)
- Put a medium to large sauce pan in high heat. When the pan is slightly smoking, put in some water and add in the red onion. This process is called sauteing in water.
- Stir and add in the other vegetables – save a bit of the siling haba for toppings. Put in the garlic and the ginger last.
- Saute for about 15 seconds or until it starts to smell really good.
- Add the coconut milk and the water.
- Put in 1 tsp each of salt and soy sauce.
- Cover the pot and let simmer until the coconut milk starts to release its own oil (this is the only oil here).
- Check if the vegetables are cooked. If still raw, add another cup of water and simmer again for another 5-10 minutes.
- Check the taste. Season with the remaining soy sauce and salt. Add more if desired.
- Add the baked tofu cubes and simmer for three minutes.
- Top with bits of siling haba.
- Best served hot and with lots of rice!

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Have you tried this recipe? Share your experience in the comments!

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