When it comes to cooking, the staff members of Manual Jakarta understand the need for quick and simple recipes. We’ve selectioned five easy vegetarian dishes hailed from each member’s personal repertoire of recipes, and those that you can easily recreate at home on weekends or even during your lunch breaks. From our home kitchens to yours, we hope you will find something new to try and wish you a happy cooking!
Korean Grilled Eggplant by Julius Kensan
For some people, foods like kimchi and oysters have acquired taste. But for me, it’s eggplant. Never would I have thought that a vegetable with such a regal shade of purple would take me more than two decades to get used to. Perhaps I should blame my family for their uninspiring take on eggplant dishes (limp and mushy) and thank my grocery store for their lack of vegetable options, steering me into giving the eggplant a second glance. I’ve found out that the trick is to grill this sexual innuendo-loaded vegetable for better texture and flavour. This method not only grants it a smoky flavour, but the dry heat also caramelises the eggplant’s sugar. After trying out this Korean Grilled Eggplant recipe, it’s safe to say that I’m finally on good terms with eggplant.
- 2 medium-sized eggplants
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small green onion
- 4 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes)
- 1 tsp of sesame oil
- 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Wash the eggplant and cut it into thin rounds.
- Heat the pan with high heat. Once hot, place the eggplant in without any oil. Cook until both sides are brown.
- Mix the minced garlic, chopped green onion, soy sauce, gochugaru and sesame oil in a mixing bowl.
- Toss the grilled eggplants in the marinade sauce thoroughly.
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seed and it’s ready to be served!
Cold Soy Sauce Noodles by Erdira Wirengjurit
Before you flinch at the idea of cold noodles, allow yourself to be impressed by the kick and summer-y freshness of this simple Korean dish, called Ganjang Bibim Guksu. This soy sauce noodle packs a cocktail of flavours, slightly tangy, sweet and a hint of piquant thanks to the raw garlic. The traditional version calls for sliced cucumber whose crispness pairs perfectly with the qualities of summer, but I find swapping it with lightly fried zucchini gives this dish a crunch of natural sweetness that’s very appetising. There’s virtually no challenge to cooking this, yet the final product is wonderfully bursting in craveable flavours and sensations you’d love to slurp in the hot weather.
- Somyeon noodles
- ½ zucchini
- 2-3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp of sugar
- Sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Seasoned seaweed pack (optional)
- In a serving bowl, prepare the noodle’s seasoning by mixing soy sauce, sugar, crushed garlic, sesame oil and a touch of vinegar. Adjust to taste then set aside.
- Boil a pot of water to cook the noodles. While waiting, cut the zucchini into juliennes.
- In a frying pan, lightly sweat the zucchini using sesame oil, then set aside.
- Cook the noodles per the package instructions (around three minutes). After draining the noodles, rinse with cold water until they’re completely cooled.
- Drain then place the noodles in your bowl and use chopsticks to mix thoroughly with the seasoning.
- Plate the zucchini atop the noodles, garnish with sesame seeds, a drizzle of oil and if you fancy, a pack of flavoured seaweed as an extra garnish to your cold, summer noodles.
Fresh Vegetable Summer Rolls by Hilda Raina
Though instructions which read ‘fold rice paper’ might discourage first-timers to try, I guarantee that this fresh vegetable summer roll recipe is less complicated than it sounds and worth the try. Wrapping the rolls gets easier (and is somewhat therapeutic) once you get a hang of it, and it allows for a lot of creative freedom for you to playfully assemble and craft the rolls any way you like.
Compactly enveloping bright colours, herby flavours and a nice crunch into each bite, this recipe is easy, versatile and works well with any summer produce. Vegetables and dips are easy to substitute and swap around, free to various interpretations or whatever you fancy that given day. Dip rolls generously in your sauce of choice, it’s guaranteed to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day.
Ingredients: (this recipe yields 8 rolls)
- 8 sheets of rice paper
- 1 pack of vermicelli noodles
- 1 large yellow pepper
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 Japanese cucumber
- 2 limes, to squeeze
- 1 cup purple cabbage
- 1 cup lettuce
- ½ cup of mint
- ½ cup coriander
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Dipping sauce of choice (Sweet chilli or homemade peanut sauce recommended!)
- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the vermicelli noodles until al dente. When done, drain and rinse under cold water, toss with sesame oil and salt and set aside.
- While waiting for your noodles to cook, prepare all your vegetables by slicing them into thin strips, then set aside for wrapping.
- Prepare a cutting board as your wrapping station.
- Fill a shallow pan with an inch of warm water and dip rice paper for 10 seconds or until pliable (but not too soft) as it will continue to soften as you wrap it. Pick it up and carefully place it on your cutting board.
- Cover the lower third of the paper with a few pieces of lettuce, followed by a few strips each of carrots, cucumbers, pepper, and some cabbage. Top with rice noodles, a few leaves of mint and coriander and a squeeze of lime.
- Fold the lower edge up over the fillings, rolling upward until the filling is enclosed. Fold over the short sides (imagine wrapping a burrito) and roll upwards. Once tightly wrapped, set aside.
- Repeat steps 4-6 with the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice the rolls in half diagonally and serve on a plate with your dipping sauce of choice on the side. Best enjoyed fresh.
Chuna (Chickpea “Tuna”) Melt by Sandy Indahsari
Since becoming vegetarian, I couldn’t help but find myself quite suspicious of vegeterian alternatives that claim to match the exact tastes and textures of its intended original dish. However, about a year ago I stumbled upon a vegan tuna mayo recipe called ‘chuna’ because it is made using chickpeas. I didn’t believe it at first, but when I made and tried it, I was blown away. It tastes like how I remember tuna mayo tastes. So I altered the recipe a little to cater for my tastes, swapping out some of the ingredients to items I could easily find in my local grocers. With this chuna mayo recipe, I like to have it in my grilled cheese for a chuna melt situation, or over a slice of fresh bread with ketchup and sliced cucumbers on top.
- 400g canned chickpeas
- 1/4 of onion
- 1/2 (2,25g) of 1 pack dried seaweed
- 2 capers
- 2 1/2 tbsp mayo
- black pepper to taste
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 2 different kinds of sliced cheese
- 1 tbsp butter
- Rinse and drain the canned chickpea.
- Dice the onion, finely chop the seaweed, and slice capers into long strips.
- In a bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork or a pestle and mortar, making sure to leave some chunks for extra texture. Slowly add onion, seaweed, capers and mayo (and salt and pepper to taste). Once it’s evenly mixed, your chuna mayo is done.
- On a slice of sourdough, start building your sandwich. Spread the chuna mayo, top with cheese and another slice of sourdough. Melt the butter in a pan and grill both sides of the sandwich until golden. This chuna melt is ready.
- Store any leftover chuna mayo in a container in the fridge.
Vegetable Casserole by Elizabeth Sihombing
My family really loves to feed the masses. It always seemed silly when I was young to provide so many options, but I found out every dish they ever had always passed this unspoken criterion. The dish was big enough that you can send your guests home with portions of it as a parting gift, and it can easily be paired with other leftover sides. My mom adapted this vegetable casserole as a “light” option for those not wanting to chow down, but always ended up taking seconds because of the creamy blend of flavours.
Though a bit time consuming and deals with some multitasking skills, this one-pot casserole can be paired with anything from toasted bread, grilled chicken, or just on its own. In retrospect, this is probably why I don’t mind eating the same meal day after day because I always found creative ways to pair it. Originally, my mom experimented with adding meat in the ingredients, but I always enjoyed this iteration the most due to the simple homey vibes that would always take me back to house parties and family gatherings.
- 1 bag (1 kilo) of mixed vegetables
- 2 cups of chopped mushrooms
- 1 kilo of medium potatoes (about 6 pieces)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 big onion (chopped)
- 1 litre of milk
- 1 cup of flour
- 500gr cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pack of mushroom bouillon
- Chop up the garlic and onions and sauté them with butter until golden brown. Add the mixed vegetables into the pan and cook them together.
- In a saucepan, pour milk, add spices (salt, pepper, nutmeg and mushroom bouillon) and gently stir the mixture until it simmers. Add the veggie mix at this point.
- To thicken the mix, add flour little by little until it coats the backside of a spoon. After that, you can lower the heat to keep warm. Add half of the cheddar and mix once more.
- Pour your mixture into a baking dish. Arrange your potatoes on top of the mixture and spread the remaining cheese on top.
- Cook in the oven at 200°C for 40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes and it’s ready to be served.