MALAYSIA cookbook released

Last week the printer delivered my new MALAYSIA cookbook! I’ll be busy packing Kickstarter orders and other pre-orders of the German and English books and going to the post office for the next few weeks. All the pre-orders and reward packages should arrive in time for the holidays. If you missed the Kickstarter, you can still get my new book:

ORDER: The Lotus and the Artichoke – MALAYSIA vegan cookbook:

p.s. The Lotus and the Artichoke MALAYSIA e-book will be officially released in mid-November.

On Wednesday, Nov 2, 2016 at 11 am NYC (EST) / 4 pm BERLIN (CET/GMT+1) I’ll be on KICKSTARTER LIVE again. Join me and the Kickstarter crew and listen to me tell all about how I turned my kitchen into a cooking show studio with their new live video stream feature. During my successful 30 day crowdfunding campaign I did two live cooking demos with recipes from The Lotus and the Artichoke MALAYSIA: Mee Goreng (fried noodles) & Penang Laksa (noodle soup).

Click here to watch the Nov 2 show (FREE) & submit your questions for me to answer!

MALAYSIA vegan cookbook on Kickstarter

The Lotus and the Artichoke MALAYSIA vegan cookbook on Kickstarter

On August 16th, 2016 I launched the Kickstarter Crowdfunding project for The Lotus and the Artichoke MALAYSIA vegan cookbook!

This is my 4th Kickstarter project, and like the first three, it’s off to a terrific start. Cruise on over and check out the campaign. It’s a great way to support my creative endeavors and culinary adventures, and it’s a great way to pre-order the new cookbook which will be coming out in October.

The Kickstarter will end on Sept 15th… make sure to get in before the fun is over. For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting cool updates and Behind the Scenes stories and photos of the design and production of the new cookbook.

The Lotus and the Artichoke – MALAYSIA

After 3 successful Kickstarter projects and 3 internationally celebrated cookbooks, The Lotus and the Artichoke is back with a new cookbook… and back on Kickstarter! Earlier this year, I returned home to Berlin, Germany after 5 intense weeks exploring Malaysia, Singapore & Borneo: checking out the cities, cruising the coasts and countryside, island life during the wild Chinese New Year celebrations, staying in a rainforest treehouse, eating and cooking with the locals everywhere, and riding buses, trains, taxis, and boats all over the place.

Since then, I’ve been recreating the insanely delicious eats, writing up new recipes inspired from the trip, spending hours at my art desk and computer with the illustrations and design, and photographing all the dishes for my next cookbook: The Lotus and the Artichoke – MALAYSIA: A Culinary Adventure with over 70 Vegan Recipes.

Lotus MALAYSIA tree of life painting cookbook title page

Malaysia vegan cookbook cover blockprint

My 4th cookbook of vegan recipes inspired by my travels, stays with families, and cooking in the kitchens of restaurants worldwide:

  • 160 pages – with over 60 full page color photos
  • Personal stories, art, and recipes inspired by 5 weeks of travel in Malaysia, Singapore & Borneo
  • Explore amazing MalayChinese, and Indian cuisine from the fantastic foodie metropolises Kuala Lumpur & Singapore, culinary heritage highlights of Penang, rising star Ipoh, Sarawak’s quaint Kuching, the tribal highlands of Borneo and beyond
  • Everyday classics, mind-blowing mains, fabulous feasts, street food superstars, awesome salads & fresh treats, great snacks, and crazy delicious desserts
  • Discover new flavors, tasty spices, and easy, awesome cooking skills
  • Great for cooks of all levels, from beginner to advanced: Recipes use easy-to-find ingredients (Cook everything anywhere!)
  • Delicious, easy-to-follow recipes designed to satisfy and impress eaters of all ages, tastes, and minds
  • Available in ENGLISH… und auch auf DEUTSCH!

Pre-Order my MALAYSIA cookbook on Kickstarter

Some of the recipes:

  • Kelabit Mango Salad
  • Shredded Beet & Coconut Salad
  • Cucumber Zucchini Salad
  • Acar – pickled vegetables
  • Urap – traditional veg side
  • Penang Laksa Soup
  • Curry Mee – Nonya Noodle Soup
  • Spicy Mushroom Noodle Soup
  • Wonton Soup
  • Popiah Rolls
  • Otak-Otak – steamed quiche pockets
  • Satay Skewers w/ peanut sauce
  • Serunding Kelapa – roasted coconut & spices
  • Sauce Kachang – satay sauce
  • Sambal Belachan – red chili sauce
  • Pineapple Pepper Chutney
  • homemade red curry rempah paste
  • vegan faux-fish sauce
  • super 5-spice powder
  • Nasi Lemak – coconut creamy rice & ginger lemongrass tofu
  • Nasi Kandar – Malay street food feast
  • Nasi Kerabu - herbs, spices & olive mushroom rice
  • Nasi Goreng – fried rice classic
  • Mee Goreng – fried noodles with vegetables & crumbled tofu
  • KLFC – Kuala Lumpur Fried “Chicken”
  • Mushroom Murtabak – stuffed, grilled Indian flatbread
  • Sayur Campur – mixed vegetables w/ dark soy sauce
  • Sayur Lodeh – mixed vegetables w/ coconut gravy
  • Kang-Kong Goreng – stir-fried spinach
  • Bao – steamed buns w/ spicy seitan
  • Assam Tofu Faux-Fish – Asian casserole
  • Crispy Curry Tempeh Cubes
  • Soya Rendang
  • Black Pepper Seitan
  • Eggplant & Okra Tomato Curry
  • Szechuan (Kung Pow) Seitan
  • Char Kuey Teow – stir-fried rice noodles
  • Hong Shao Rou – roasted jackfruit
  • Mushroom Manchurian
  • Roti Canai – red curry & flatbread w/ chutney
  • Banana Leaf – Indian curry meal
  • Gobi 65 – Indochinese batter-fried cauliflower
  • Punjabi Sizzler
  • Apam Balik – crunchy peanut pancakes
  • Cendol – shaved ice, green noodles & syrup
  • Kueh Dadar – green pandan crepes
  • Kueh Lapis – multi-color cake
  • Ondeh-Ondeh – sweet, chewy dumplings
  • Kuih Kodok – fried banana fritters
  • Chocolate Mint Cake
  • Lychee Banana Sorbet
  • Coconut Ice Cream
  • Iced Ginger Lime Soda
  • Purple Dream
  • … and more!

Mexican Street Food Dinner Party

Mexican Street Food Dinner Party at Chaostheorie in Berlin

Mexican Street Food Dinner Party

Saturday 25.06.2016 at Chaostheorie in Berlin

In a few weeks, I’ll be cooking up an amazing, all vegan Mexican Street Food Dinner Party with many of my most favorite recipes from The Lotus and the Artichoke MÉXICO for 40 lucky guests.

In only 3 days the tickets were SOLD OUT… and we’ve got 10 people on the waiting list. Possibly we’ll free up a few more places and let more people join us. This is a dinner party I’ve been wanting to put on for years. I’m excited it’s finally going to happen! I’ve done smaller Mexican dinners, but never for more than 20 people. If all goes well (I expect it will be a smashing success) I’ll be doing more big dinner parties like this, not just in Berlin, but in other cities and countries.

This is not the first dinner party I’ve done! Several times a year I put on vegan dinner parties, and so far I’ve had the pleasure of cooking for groups of 8 to 50 people in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Mainz, Solingen, and Vienna. Just to name a few. I’ve done Sri Lankan dinner parties, Mexican dinner parties, North and South Indian dinners, American Diner Classics, and one of my favorites: Around the World dinner parties… all with vegan recipes inspired by my travels to 50 countries all over the planet.

Here’s the menu plan for the night:

THE FOOD

  • Chiles Rellenos – fried stuffed peppers & Red Chipotle Sauce
  • Jackfruit Tacos & Mango Salsa
  • Tostada Supreme (Soy Chorizo) & Guacamole
  • Spinach Mushroom Sopes & Salsa Verde
  • Apple Pineapple Empanadas
  • Lemon Caramel Coconut Flan

THE DRINKS

  • Frozen Margaritas (with/without alcohol)
  • all of the awesome Chaostheorie cocktails & drinks

This event is sold out, but if you’d like to find out about future events or make arrangements with me to cook for you (or with you) wherever you might be in the world… Sign up for the newsletter, send me an email from the CONTACT page, and be sure to LIKE The Lotus and the Artichoke on Facebook.

You can also follow my cooking and travel adventures here: The Lotus and the Artichoke on Instagram and get some hilarious insight into my day to day silliness and fun on SNAPCHAT: lotusartichoke

Here’s a photo of me getting it on in the kitchen of our little apartment in Guanajuato, Mexico, where I stayed for about a week while traveling and living in Mexico for 3 months to research Mexican food, ride some waves, and escape the German winter.

Guanajuato Kitchen JPM - Vegan Cooking in Mexico

Apple Pineapple Empanadas

Empanadas de Manzana y Piña

When I was living in the small town of Lo de Marcos, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, we’d often take day trips to Sayulita. Sayulita, like San Pancho and Lo de Marcos, used to be just a sleepy fishing village. All three towns are just up the coast from Puerto Vallerta – which has been in the tourist guidebooks for quite some time. In the 1960s and 1970s, PV was built up for tourism (kind of like planned tourism destinations Acapulco and Cancun). It was also around this time that surfers “discovered” Sayulita, which remained pretty much a secret for a while.

Over the next few decades, tourism and expat enclaves grew and migrated along the Nayarit coast, creating what it is now: cities, towns, and villages coming to terms with all of the holiday traffic and escape artists. In addition to surfing, Sayulita is popular for weddings and honeymoons, yoga retreats, artistic and culinary workshop getaways, souvenir and craft shopping, and of course: respite from the louder and brasher cities.

For me, Sayulita will always be about empanadas.

Going to Sayulita always meant going to my favorite little hole-in-the-wall empanada take-out bakery. We’d leave Lo de Marcos in the morning on the local bus, ride about half an hour south, down the coast along jungle and oceanview roads. The bus stand was a good, hot, 10 to 15 minute walk to the “downtown”. As we approached the main town square, my mouth would already be watering, anxious to see what kind of empanadas were there. You see, this is part of why we tried to leave early and arrive before lunch. By mid afternoon, the bakery would always sell out of at least one of my favorites: Empanadas de Manzana (with apple filling) and Empanadas Espinaca y Papas (spinach & potato filling).

This place only made and sold empanadas, and nothing else. You’d just walk up to the counter, see what was listed on the chalkboard, and then place your order. The baked pastries never got a chance to cool off. Usually they rarely spent a few minutes on the counter in their baskets before they’d be bought, carried away, and devoured.

I’d buy a bunch of whatever vegan empanadas they had, and then bring them back to the park for a family picnic. The rest of the day was usually spent sipping coconut water or fresh juice, watching surfers (and absolute beginner surfer lessons taking place on the beach), strolling around, and then, once we got hungry again, enjoying an excellent meal at La Esperanza, or our favorite taquería (whose name I’ve long since forgotten) just off the main street.

Sayulita Mexico

Justin P. Moore, Lo de Marcos, Mexico with Surfboard, Feb 2014

This photo of me with my surfboard in Lo de Marcos has nothing to do with Empanadas. Unless perhaps I ate empanadas that morning in Sayulita. Which is entirely possible.

Back in Germany, I got to work perfecting my Empanada recipe

Sure they’re great with just apple, but adding fresh pineapple is mind-blowing. I love the tropical touch, which is a really powerful, nostalgic reminder of the my months spent living next to the beach in Mexico.

I suggest using a good, buttery vegan margarine. Don’t use cheap stuff, and try to find something that is recommended for baking. Cheaper margarines have too much water in them, and you’ll miss out on the rich, creamy flavor for your dough. In Germany I use Alsan, and in the U.S.A. Earth Balance makes some good stuff that will work for baking. (If you’ve got other suggestions for readers, please leave a comment below!)

Also, keep an eye on your goodies in the oven! If you overbake them, you’ll be disappointed by the texture. Since I’m really not that great of a baker, I actually take the empanadas out of the oven a minute or two before I think they’re done. A bit soft and chewy is always better than hard and dry! Keep fresh, hot empanadas covered or wrapped with a damp dishtowel so they don’t dry out, too. Oh, and always be careful with the first bite – I don’t even know how many times I’ve burned my tongue on blazing hot empanada filling!

Enjoy!

Apple Pineapple Empanadas

Empanadas de Manzana y Piña

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – MEXICO!

makes 8 to 10 / time 45 min +

dough:

  • 3 cups (375 g) flour (all-purpose / Type 550)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 8 Tbs (110 g) margarine
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold water
  • 2 Tbs soy milk or rice milk for glaze optional
  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder in large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut margarine into thinly sliced pieces and add to bowl. Using hands, knead margarine into flour mix.
  3. Gradually add in cold water, continue kneading a few minutes until dough is rubbery and smooth. If needed use slightly more flour or water.
  4. Pull and form into 8–10 equal sized balls and return to bowl. Cover and let sit 20 min.

apple & pineapple filling:

  • 2 medium apples peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (140 g) pineapple finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  1. Combine chopped apples and pineapple with cinnamon and sugar in large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Pour 2 Tbs soy milk (or water) into cup or small bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C / level 6.
  4. On floured surface, roll out a dough ball with rolling pin (or bottle) to 1/4 in (1 cm) thickness. Using a medium bowl or saucer as a guide, cut circle with knife. Roll up and save trim.
  5. Put 2 Tbs filling onto a dough circle. Dip finger in soy milk (or water) and trace around outer edge to help seal. Fold over in half and press edges firmly with a fork to seal.
  6. Brush top with soy (or rice) milk, if desired, for glaze. Carefully transfer to baking tray. Repeat for all empanadas.
  7. Bake until golden brown and edges start to crisp and darken, about 20–25 min.
  8. Allow to cool 5 min before serving: Filling is very hot!

Variations:

Other fillings: Experiment with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, chopped pears, walnuts, hazelnuts, banana, chocolate… or whatever else you come up with!

The Lotus and the Artichoke - MEXICO vegan cookbook cover

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – MEXICO!

Vegetable Roti

Sri Lankan Street Food - Vegetable Roti

If you ever talk to anyone who’s been to Sri Lanka… and especially if you talk to someone from Sri Lanka, just mention Vegetable Roti and you’ll see their face light up. It’s practically impossible not to have tried them, and it’s even less likely to not love them! They are made and enjoyed pretty much everywhere in Sri Lanka, from North to South and East to West, coast to countryside to hill country. It’s also one of those classics, that despite their popularity, you just almost never find outside of the homeland. Unless you make them yourself… or have someone make them!

Most of the few, good Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurants that I’ve found in Europe and North America don’t have stuffed roti quite like the original. One exception is in the delicious and awesome Tamil and Sri Lankan neighborhood in Paris, near the La Chapelle metro stop. That’s actually probably where I first had them, and got to try Sri Lankan food for the first time, many years ago.

Since it’s so hard to find Vegetable Roti outside of Sri Lanka, and I (unfortunately) can’t just teleport myself to the island paradise whenever I want to, I was determined to make a convincing, authentic recipe. And when making my Sri Lanka vegan cookbook (with recipes inspired by the 10 weeks I spent exploring the island) there was no question about it. I knew I had to include a Veg Roti recipe! After watching roti being made at least 50 different times by street vendors and in restaurant kitchens, taking lots of notes, studying the technique, making my own recipe wasn’t that difficult.

To be honest, making roti dough takes some practice and experimentation. It’s important to let it sit for at least an hour in a moderately warm place. And I always start with less water and very gradually add more. Learning how to get just the right texture and springiness for the dough is like with any bread-making. I refined this recipe over several weeks, had it tested by a dozen friends before publishing it in the cookbook, and continue to use it whenever I want to make vegetable roti: at home, for dinner parties, cooking classes, as a picnic snack, etc.

Sri Lankan Vegetable Roti with Tamarind Chutney

Vegetable Roti are Sri Lankan “Short Eats”

What’s a Short Eat? Simply put, snacks and appetizers and street food. There is a rich culture in the Sri Lankan tradition of grabbing a few snacks from the street vendors, hole-in-the-wall snack shops, neighborhood take-out bakery, and mobile bakery tuk-tuks. In addition to the classic roti, Short Eats also include all the many fried rolls, vada, baked snacks, bread and much more.

Short Eats are typically enjoyed between meals or as a small meal – on the way to work, on the bus, on the train, at the office, wherever and kind of whenever. They’re everywhere and make a quick breakfast. Or small lunch. Or a mini-dinner, before – or even in place of – a big dinner. The bakery tuk-tuks drive around in the morning and evening – often with their trademark ice cream truck melodies playing funny variations of Für Elise. Yes, really. It’s awesome, and for the rest of your life you’ll start drooling when you hear Beethoven.

Vegetable Roti

stuffed with potatoes, carrots & leeks

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA

makes 4 to 6 / time 45 min +

roti dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups (200 g) flour (all-purpose / type 550)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water and 1 Tbs oil. Mix with fork and knead with hands until smooth and elastic, 3–5 min. If batter sticks to hands, knead in more flour. If too dry, add slightly more water.
  2. Add another 1 Tbs oil and knead another 5 min.
  3. Separate into 4 to 6 pieces. Knead and form into balls. Lightly coat balls with oil and place on plate, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm (not hot) place for 1 hour.

vegetable filling:

  • 2/3 cup (80 g) leeks or spring onions or 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium (80 g) carrot peeled, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 large (140 g) potato peeled, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander ground
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika ground
  • 5–6 curry leaves and/or 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3–4 Tbs water (more as needed)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot or pan on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When they start to pop (20–30 sec), add ground coriander, black pepper, chili powder (or paprika), and curry leaves and/or curry powder.
  2. Add leeks (or onions), grated carrot and potato, turmeric, salt. Cook partially covered, gradually adding water, stirring and mashing regularly, until vegetables are soft, 7–10 min. Remove from heat.
  3. Uncover dough. Briefly knead a ball. On a greased surface, press flat and roll out or continually flip and stretch to form a long, wide strip. Wrapper should be almost 3 times as long as it is wide and about 1/8 in (3 mm) thick. Knead some oil into each dough ball if too firm and not stretching easily.
  4. Spoon about 3 Tbs filling onto one end. Fold over repeatedly in triangles until sealed. Transfer to lightly greased plate and continue for others.
  5. Heat a large, heavy frying pan on medium high heat. Place filled triangles on pan and press down lightly. Fry on both sides, until brown spots appear, 3–5 min each side. Arrange standing up on edges, pressing down lightly and leaning together to brown edges, 2–3 min each end.
  6. Continue for all rotis. Serve with chili sauce, chutney, or eat plain.

Mexican Magic Rice

Mexican Magic Rice - vegan Dirty Rice / Messy Rice / Tomato Rice

When I was living in the small village of Lo de Marcos on the Pacific coast of Mexico, I went shopping at the vegetable shops in the neighborhood and cooked in the kitchen of our rented house every day. One of my favorite standard dishes, which I cooked at least twice a week, was Mexican Magic Rice. It’s sort of a spin-off of traditional Mexican Dirty Rice, also called Messy Rice. It’s basically a tomato rice dish – easy to make and always a treat. It’s great with smoked tofu or fancy mushrooms instead of seitan.

I’ve been focusing so much on the new Malaysia cookbook coming out later this year… and, sure, I’m still obsessed with the recipes from my new SRI LANKA cookbook. But now it’s time to give some more love to Mexico and all my favorite Mexican recipes from my previous cookbook with recipes inspired by my travels

I had always been fascinated by Mexico…

I wanted to spend more time there, since my first brief visit across the border with my family in the late 1980s. My second visit, in 2001, was a week-long visit with my father and brother Adam, and we went mountain climbing on Iztaccíhuatl. Fast forward to 2013: After the success of my first vegan cookbook inspired by my world travels, it was time to plan the next project. Mexico was my first pick for a winter escape from the cold Berlin winter. I talked with other travel bloggers I knew, and heard about the elusive town of San Pancho, an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, and just around the bend from surfer town Sayulita.

There’s a great story of how I found an amazing house to rent right on the sea, and where I spent two months living with the locals, learning to surf, improving my Spanish, and super-charging my Mexican cooking game.

The original plan was to find a house in San Pancho.

But the scene was much more touristy and less authentic than I had pictured. Maybe a few years earlier it was still real. And the rents were well over what we wanted to spend.After a few days of looking for a reasonable, charming and down-to-earth place, we pretty much gave up on San Pancho. Locals suggested I go north to Lo de Marcos and see what was up over there. The search continued: asking everyone, locals and foreigners, if anyone knew of a house to rent. After two days of walking around in the sun and asking, and exhausting all the online resources for holiday rentals, we were just about ready to give up again. We had only one more night at the small apartment for one week in San Pancho until we needed to find a new place.

On that fateful day, exhausted and sweaty, I sat down on the sidewalk on the small street a few minutes walk from the ocean. I saw two guys walking back from the beach, shirtless and tan. One had a fresh tattoo of Santa Muerte, the elaborately decorated Mexican Lady Death with a painted skeleton face, still healing on his chest. Should I ask them if they knew of any places to rent? Or would it be just like all the times before: no particularly helpful suggestions and just a smile and wish of good luck in our search?

If you don’t ask, the answer is always No.

I stood up and greeted the young men, “Buenos días, we’re looking for a place to rent for a few months. Do you know of anything.” The guy with the tattoo, laughed and said, “How about my house? We’re standing right in front of it. We leave to go to Montreal tomorrow afternoon. Want to come in and see the house?”

He unlocked the gate and we walked up the path. “I have to warn you, the house is kind of… unique. I love to cook and I built out the kitchen with a six-burner stove and giant double refrigerator from a restaurant that closed in Puerto Vallarta. It’s probably way more than you need, eh?” It was my turn to laugh. I told him that I cook every day and had come to Mexico to spend a few months learning more about the local cuisine and to work on recipes for a new cookbook.

The entry way opened up to an expansive garden with papaya trees, banana trees, towering coconut palms, and a large herb garden with massive bushes of basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, and rosemary. The house itself was a cosy and quaint, two-level casita, painted bright yellow and had a classic terracotta tiled roof with a thatched veranda. “There are two bedrooms downstairs, and another room upstairs with its own bathroom and mini-kitchen. You can eat on the veranda upstairs, or downstairs on the patio. We’ve got fast internet, a working washing machine, and… oh, here’s the outdoor shower.”

Our Casita in Lo de Marcos Mexico

I imagined myself showering in the outdoor shower and rinsing the salt water from my surfboard after a day in the waves.

The house was perfect. Everything was falling into place in that awesome way. My friend Ben from Germany was coming to visit for a few weeks with his brother. My dad was planned to visit for a week, too. The upstairs room would be perfect for visitors, and could be my yoga room and work studio at other times. Instead of renting a small place (and we had seen many, but they just didn’t feel right, so we’d kept looking), we could rent this and the guests could stay here with us, instead of finding another place. We worked out a fair price for the rent the next day. I helped him finish packing the car and he gave me the keys to our beach house in Lo de Marcos, Mexico.

Mexican Magic Rice is fantastic with Cashew Sour Cream or Guacamole and served on a bed of greens, lettuce, or with a salad. It’s also awesome for packing killer bean burritos and much more fun than just plain rice. Similar to my Cambodian Fried Rice recipe from my first The Lotus and the Artichoke cookbook, this dish is a readers’ favorite, and can easily be doubled for a big family meal. I cook it all the time for dinner parties and cooking classes. And I still cook it regularly at home for my own family and friends.

Enjoy!

Mexican Magic Rice - Munich Surdham Göb Dinner Party 2016

Mexican Magic Rice

tomato rice with spicy seitan

serves 3 to 4 / time 35 min

recipe from The Lotus and the Artichoke – MÉXICO!
  • 5 oz (150 g) seitan sliced or chopped
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) green peas
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) black olives sliced or chopped
  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp coriander ground
  • 1 cup (200 g) rice
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) beer or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ground
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle or chili powder optional
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • fresh cilantro or parsley chopped, for garnish
  1. Heat 2 Tbs oil in large pot on medium high heat. Add chopped onions, garlic, ground cumin, and coriander. Fry, stirring constantly, 2–3 min.
  2. Add rice, tomato paste, turmeric, bay leaf, salt. Mix well.
  3. Stir in beer (or vegetable broth) and water. Bring to boil, stirring, Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 15–20 min until rice is cooked. Remove from heat. Mix with a fork. Cover and let sit 5–10 min.
  4. Heat 1 Tbs oil in large frying pan on medium high heat.
  5. Add ground paprika, pepper, chipotle (or chili powder), chopped seitan. Fry, stirring regularly, until lightly crispy and browned, 4–5 min.
  6. Stir in chopped oregano and lemon juice, followed by peas and chopped olives. Cook another 2–3 min, stirring regularly. Remove from heat. Cover until rice is ready.
  7. Add cooked seitan, peas, and olives to rice pot. Mix well. Cover until ready to serve.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve.

Variations:

No fake meats: Replace seitan with chopped mushrooms. Sliced oyster Mushrooms or portabellos are best! No olives: Replace with corn kernels, chopped bell pepper, broccoli or other vegetables. Extra Spicy: Add 1 chopped chipotle (or other) chili with spices when frying seitan. More Red: Sauté 8–10 cherry or small plum tomatoes with seitan, halved or whole.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - MEXICO vegan cookbook cover

Cabbage Coconut Curry

Sri Lankan Cabbage & Coconut Curry - Gowa Mallum

Just one week into my ten weeks of travels through Sri Lanka, I had the opportunity to go in the kitchen at Mango Garden in Kandy, Sri Lanka to help prepare the New Year’s Eve dinner. The head cook showed me how to make a number of amazing vegetarian (vegan) Sri Lankan curries and dishes, including this one. I also learned how to make Pol Sambol for the first time, always awesome Beetroot Curry, fantastic Leek Curry, Dal Curry (of course), Green Bean “Bonchi” Curry, and Snake Gourd Curry (which can be made with any squash, such as Zucchini.) Continue reading

Arugula Mallum

Arugula Mallum - stir-fried Sri Lankan greens & coconut

Sri Lankan Mallum (or Mallung) is a dish typically made with stir-fried greens (or cabbage) and grated coconut.

While traveling for 10 weeks in Sri Lanka, I was served and learned how to cook half a dozen varieties of Mallum. Many involved local leafy greens that were kind of a cross between kale and spinach, and often sort of like collard greens. When I got back to Germany, I experimented with recreating the leafy greens mallum, and found that arugula worked quite well. It’s especially great for using up arugula in the fridge that’s no longer fresh enough for a salad or is too bitter to be eaten raw. Kind of like cooking with spinach, when cooked, the arugula will get a lot smaller and you’ll end up with less that you expected!

This is the recipe that I used for my third travel-inspired vegan cookbook, The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKAI called it Rocket Greens Curry. Curry perhaps isn’t really the best word. Mallums are mallums, just like chutneys are chutneys, even if we might want to call it a sauce.

You can serve this dish as one of many with a Sri Lankan meal, or as a starter – kind of a warm salad.

I make it when I have lots of greens to use up, or if I’m serving dal curry, beetroot curry, and Jackfruit Curry, and rice. The four curries together are four different colors, which provides a stunning visual element to the meal. If I’m ambitious and make more dishes to go with the meal, I go for Deviled Chickpeas or Soymeats Curry. The play of different colors, shapes, textures, and unique flavors always impresses dinner guests. Continue reading

Pol Sambol

Pol Sambol - spicy coconut chutney

Pol Sambol is one of those amazing Asian condiments that is easy to make and super satisfying. It adds a spice and heat kick to any dish and is great (and essential) with Sri Lankan curries.

The best Pol Sambol is made with fresh, grated coconut.

In Sri Lanka, fresh coconut halves are shredded with a hand-turned grater. Alternately, the coconut can be cut into chunks and grated with a box grater or hand grater, which takes considerably more time. If you don’t have fresh coconut on hand, any good dried, desiccated, grated coconut works well. Just soak it in hot water and press out the excess moisture after about 10 or 20 minutes before mixing with the spices and other ingredients. The red color is determined by how much paprika, chili powder or red chili flakes are used. Don’t be bashful or you’ll get a bland, pale Sambol! Increase the ground paprika to get more red color in your coconut chutney, if you’re going skipping the heat and don’t want to use chili.

The onion and garlic are not absolutely necessary for Pol Sambol, but the flavor and freshness is more intense. An ayurvedic version of the coconut chutney is made simply by omitting the onion and garlic. Which is how I prepare Pol Sambol about half the time.

I’m not sure when the first time was that I had Pol Sambol…

Maybe on my first trip to South India, or at at Sri Lankan restaurant in Berlin. But I do know that I had it dozens of times in the ten weeks of backpacking and travel in Sri Lanka. Unlike many dishes, it didn’t vary much from place to place, family to family. Traditionally, Pol Sanbol is often made with dried fish, such as Maldive fish flakes – quite common Sri Lanka. Obviously for a vegan version, I skip that. Continue reading

Watalappam

Wattalapam - Sri Lankan Spiced Coconut Custard Pudding

Watalappam is a traditional coconut dessert enjoyed in Sri Lanka.

This luscious custard is spiced-up with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, often with a hint of vanilla, and a smattering of nuts or dried fruits. The taste reminds me of a spicy, aromatic Indian cup of chai. But cold, coconutty, and soft! As with all recipes, everyone has their very own version. The Tamils make it different than the Singhalese, and the Muslims have another delightful variation.

I invented a vegan version of the coconut custard, and I added some variations of my own– including fresh (or frozen) berries. I often top it with dark, rich, sweet coconut blossom syrup (AKA palm syrup) which is extremely popular in Sri Lanka – and recently gaining popularity in Europe and the Americas. Sometimes I top the custard with blackstrap molasses or dark agave syrup, or some fresh fruit and nuts and maybe a bit of homemade fruit syrup, like I do with my vanilla muffins (also in The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA cookbook.)

There’s actually a good story with the first time I had Watalappam in Sri Lanka. It highlights the need to stay cool, and remember that how we react in unexpected situations always influences how others perceive not just us as people, but whatever groups of people with whom we are associated – as foreign tourists, guests, citizens of particular countries, …and as vegetarians and vegans. In my travels, I try to be modest and respectful, and traveling vegan certainly comes with challenges here and there. Usually it’s much easier than others imagine, but I guess experience, a fair amount of luck and communication are all important factors.

One night I was invited to dinner at home with a Sri Lankan family in the small, charming town of Midigama.

Midigama is on the south west coast of Sri Lanka, and known for several great surfing spots, and I wanted to check it out. Sharani and her husband, a local tuk-tuk driver, lived with their two small children – and a funny green parrot that could talk – on a narrow, unpaved road a few minutes walk from the beach. She cooked for the better part of an afternoon, and by time dinner was ready, we were super hungry and totally curious what kind of deliciousness awaited us. Everything smelled fantastic! And then dinner was served: 5 Sri Lankan curries… including stir-fried Bonchi (green beans), spicy sautéed Brinjal (eggplant/aubergine), Carrot Curry, Dal (lentil) Curry, Soymeats Curry, and of course papadam, rice, and a simple salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

After we finished eating, Sharani asked, “Do you like Watalappam? Sweets? Want to try?”

I was immediately curious, and asked her to describe it. “Made with coconut. Like a pudding. But very special flavors!” I tried once more, politely, to find out how it was made. “With eggs? Milk?” “No, no. Coconut!” “Butter?” “No, no. Coconut. And sugar! Palm syrup.” At this, she slid her chair back from the table, dashed to the kitchen, and returned with a chilled tray covered with plastic foil, which she was peeling back as she walked. Continue reading

Deviled Chickpeas – Kadala Thel Dala

Deviled Chickpeas - Kadala Thel Dala from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA vegan cookbook

This is another one of my favorite, quick-and-easy Sri Lankan recipes. I tried many versions of this spicy chickpea curry dish all over Sri Lanka during my 10 week adventure all across and around the island.

You can serve it as a main dish, but technically it’s a short eat (the Sri Lankan term for snack or appetizer or small meal.) Like most short eats, it’s a common snack from street food vendors, but also appears on restaurant menus and is often available from many take-out places… and on buses as a cheap finger food snack – in it’s much drier variation.

Traditionally it’s not served in a curry sauce, but is made “dry”. (This is something I found a lot in India and Sri Lanka — also with dishes such as Vegetable Manchurian or Gobi 65, and such.) I like cooking Kadala Thel Dala all kinds of ways, but usually make it without a really runny, liquid-y curry. Limiting the amount of chopped tomatoes (and cutting larger pieces) as well as using enough grated coconut (to soak up liquid) gets the chickpea curry to desired consistency. Note that rinsing and draining your chickpeas very well before cooking will help, and adding a few minutes of stir-frying on high, while constantly stirring, will also get rid of excess liquid.

Like my Jackfruit Curry, this dish is very popular with all types of eaters, it can be made spicy or not spicy (great for kids!), and is an excellent introduction to Sri Lankan flavors. It’s another one of my go-to recipes for dinner parties, cooking classes, cooking shows. I make it at home pretty often, too.

In addition to being in my third vegan cookbook The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA, it’s been published in several vegan magazines in Germany. It’s such a simple and satisfying recipe. Also I love this photo! The little green hand-painted demon guy is on a decorative wooden thing I picked up at a shop in touristy – but gorgeous – Galle Fort, not too far from Unawatuna, and where we spent our last two weeks on the southwest coast in the beach village of Dalawella. Continue reading

Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry

Jackfruit Curry Dinner from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA!

Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry

This is absolutely one of my favorite dishes and recipes from my SRI LANKA vegan cookbook & ebook! I make it often at home, and have cooked it up for many dinner parties, cooking shows, and it’s regularly featured at the cooking classes I do, too. It’s really easy to make and it’s one of those dishes that’s a real crowd-pleaser, for vegans, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Strangely, Sri Lankan food is still not really that well-known in the world culinary scene — and the vegan scene, but it’s popularity and visibility has improved in the last few years. It’s kind of like jackfruit itself, which only recently has started to get really hyped and celebrated outside of Asia, where it has a long tradition and has been enjoyed for… well, practically forever! I suspect as Sri Lanka becomes more popular as a travel destination, more people will fall in love with the cuisine. Admittedly, I fell in love with Sri Lankan food about 10 years before my trip to Sri Lanka — there are some amazing Sri Lankan and South Indian eateries in Paris and Berlin that blew me away!

This Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry is made with coconut milk, and it’s really creamy and intense. Jackfruit, kind of like plain tofu or tempeh or soy chunks (TVP), takes on the flavors of the sauce and marinade. The texture and freshness are amazing, and I enjoy it much more than the soy and faux-meat variations. (Which all work in this curry mix, too, btw!) You can use all kinds of coconut milk, or even make your own. If I buy coconut milk, I always try to get organic coconut milk with no weird additives and preservatives. In Germany, my favorite coconut milk is from Dr Goerg. It’s super rich and creamy, and combined with a little hit of coconut blossom syrup in the curry, this dish gets crazy delicious!

The main thing to know about cooking with jackfruit outside of Asia is: It’s easy to find! It’s inexpensive and really nothing bizarre. Almost every Asian import grocery store I’ve been to in the US, Canada, Germany, France, England, Holland and other parts of Europe, whether big city or little town, has Green Jackfruit (unsweetened!) in a can… but the yellow jackfruit which is primarily for sweet dishes and desserts is also usable, if you rinse off the syrup and adjust the spices / salt accordingly. Green jackfruit is the unripened, slightly tougher, less sweet fruit.

I had Jackfruit Curry in at least 10 different places in the 10 weeks I spent in Sri Lanka. Each restaurant and every family make it a bit different. I’ve also made lots of different variations on this one– sometimes sweeter, sometimes spicier, sometimes creamier, sometimes with other fun stuff like greens… or even pineapple! Continue reading

Sri Lanka Vegan Cookbook on Kickstarter

The Lotus and the Artichoke SRI LANKA Vegan Cookbook on Kickstarter

The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA! is on Kickstarter!

Today I launched my third Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign… for my third vegan cookbook full of recipes, stories, art, and photographs inspired by my world travels. This time it’s all about SRI LANKA, where I traveled for 10 weeks this last winter, eating and cooking everywhere possible, learning new cooking methods and spices, and getting to know the country, the people, and the traditions of Sri Lanka.

UPDATE: The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was extremely successful. The new cookbook has been printed and was released on November, 21, 2015.

How can you get a copy of my new cookbook?

Order The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA (English or German) directly from Ventil Verlag!

or send me an email to order a signed copy of the cookbook with stickers & bookmark… directly from me.

The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA travel map

My SRI LANKA Cookbook:

  • My 3rd cookbook of vegan recipes inspired by my travels, stays with families, and cooking in the kitchens of restaurants worldwide
  • 160 pages – with over 60 full page color photos
  • Stories, art, and recipes inspired by 10 weeks of travel all over Sri Lanka
  • Explore diverse Sri Lankan cuisine from the capital, countryside, mountains and coastal towns, including South Indian Tamil specialties from the Northern and Eastern regions – only recently accessible since end of civil clashes in 2009
  • Every day classic dishes, impress-anyone curries, fancy feasts, street food superstars, awesome salads and fresh treats, great snacks, and crazy delicious sweets
  • Discover new flavors, tasty spices and easy, awesome cooking skills
  • Great for cooks of all levels, from beginner to advanced
  • recipes use easy-to-find ingredients (cook everything anywhere!)
  • Delicious, easy-to-follow recipes designed to satisfy and impress eaters of all ages, tastes, and minds.

Check out the video on KICKSTARTER

The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA promo video (YouTube)

The Lotus and the Artichoke SRI LANKA Peacock miniature painting

Jackfruit Curry Dinner from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA!

Some of the RECIPES…

  • Jackfruit Curry
  • Masala Mushroom Dosa
  • Cauliflower Cashew Korma Curry
  • Red Beet Curry
  • Mango Pineapple Curry
  • Pumpkin Dal Curry
  • Cabbage Curry – Mellum
  • Rocket Coconut Curry – Gowa Atu
  • Spicy Seitan Kottu & Vegetable Kottu
  • Wild Greens & Ginger Mango Dressing
  • Lotus Root Salad – Nalum Ala Salada
  • Coconut Carrot Radish Salad
  • Idly & Vada – Rice Lentil Dumplings & Fritters
  • Sri Lankan Crepes – Vegetable Roti & more
  • Streetfood Veg Rolls
  • Deviled Chickpeas – Kadala Thel Dala
  • Hoppers – Appa
  • Coconut Chili Chutney (Pol Sambol)
  • Coriander Chutney
  • Mango Chutney
  • Ladoo Sweets
  • Delicious Date Cake
  • Coconut Pockets
  • Coconut Rice Balls – Konda Kevum
  • Tapioca Pudding – Payasam
  • Coconut Rice Syrup Squares – Kalu Dodol
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Spiced Coconut Pudding – Watalappam
  • …and many more!

Deviled Chickpeas - Kadala Thel Dala from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA vegan cookbook

Wild Greens & Ginger Mango dressing

Idly Vada Sri Lankan South Indian lunchbox tiffin

Mint Sambol - The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA

Sweet Semolina Squares (Kesari) from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA vegan cookbook

Order a copy of my new cookbook:

Order The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA (English or German) directly from Ventil Verlag!

or send me an email to order a signed copy of the cookbook with stickers & bookmark… directly from me.

JPM and The Lotus and the Artichoke SRI LANKA vegan cookbook at Chaostheorie in Berlin

My first copies of my new vegan cookbook SRI LANKA arrived!

22 Lessons from The Vegan Zombie Germany Tour

From September 23 to October 1, 2014, I was on tour with Chris & Jon from The Vegan Zombie. We visited 7 cities in 9 days and put on book signings, cooking demos & dinner parties all across Germany. All together we drove over 4000 km, sold hundreds of our vegan cookbooks, and met hundreds of amazing people. We also filmed videos for our partners and sponsors, made tour videos every day, and even filmed a cooking video together for TVZ on YouTube. It was a wild adventure, with lots of ups and downs.

The Vegan Zombie - The Lotus and the Artichoke Germany Tour 2014

Get our cookbooks here:

Watch tour videos on YouTube here.

22 Lessons from The Vegan Zombie Germany Tour

1. You are always an ambassador.

Everywhere you go, you are an important representative of your ideals and identity. Wherever I was on tour, I struggled to manage frustrations and expectations. A prime example of this was on the drive back from Frankfurt to Berlin. At an autobahn rest stop I asked about the veggie burger and was told it was definitely vegan. I was shown the ingredients list and ordered it, because I was hungry as hell and it looked “safe”. Well, I got a super sad looking burger smothered in mayo, and fries that tasted extremely suspicious. I sent it all back to the kitchen and really tried not to get upset. Quickly, I became aware that my attitude and behavior form ideas about what vegans are like. I really did my best to be understanding and fair, despite dealing with poor customer service and a lot of crappy excuses and misinformation. It’s important to remember: Not everyone understands my reasons and convictions for my lifestyle and dietary choices. What I do and say help form others’ ideas of vegans. I strive to be a good example of an open-minded, non-dogmatic vegan traveler. If I leave a situation and people think less of vegans or the many reasons I strive for this lifestyle, I have failed.

2. Matcha. Espresso. Yes, please.

Driving all night, spending hours in the kitchen and on the road is not easy. I travel with my matcha bowl and whisk. I have a matcha every morning to help me focus and get into my day’s groove. It’s important to take breaks from cooking and managing and have an espresso in the afternoon. I do prefer the soft glow of matcha green tea, but hey, the world isn’t fully outfitted with matcha bars. Yet. Particularly on the longer drives, coffee helped me get through some sleepy and exhausted times. It’s not just about the caffeine: Sticking to routine is helpful to stay balanced and in tune.

3. The universe provides

I tried to manage and plan all aspects of the tour so we always had places to stay in all of the cities that we visited. Sometimes this wasn’t really possible and plans changed quickly. Sometimes you just have to push through and drive on and know that all the arrangements will be sorted. Staying in hotels is boring and impersonal. I prefer to go to events and talk to new and old friends if we need a place to stay. We always found people that gave us a couch or bed to sleep in. It always worked out, and our hosts were awesome. I always felt grateful. We arrived in Solingen in the morning after a six hour drive and were offered bunk beds and a shower at the venue. In Hamburg, we finished the cooking show and quickly found hosts for the night. In Berlin, we were fortunate to have a neighbor give the boys a bed and couch when we realized another night at my place would be too crowded. In Mainz, when we were all at the end of our rope after over a week on the road – countless hours of cooking and driving – we knew the hotel room would prove too small for the three of us. My friend Jens took me to his house and gave me a bed. When you focus on opportunity and stay positive, it’s amazing how things go your way. Also with the driving, there were times we worried we’d never cover the distances we needed to in time and that we’d miss events or arrive late. I kept optimistic and drove on. The roads cleared, extra helpers were always there in the kitchen, and we managed to make every event awesome.

4. Make time for sightseeing.

Because we were on such an aggressive schedule, we were left with little time for sightseeing and relaxing. So we ended up seeing lots of the autobahn and kitchens all across Germany, but the boys didn’t get to see nearly as much of the actual cities and country that we traveled in, and I regretted this. Fortunately, our friends in Hamburg woke up early and took the guys out for some morning sightseeing. This was when I realized just how little of all the cities we were seeing. Not only did we never have time for restaurants, but we never got to really just walk around and take in some of the great sites and culture that Germany offers.

5. Too much is better than too little.

Somehow, we always managed to buy more groceries and make more food than we needed. There were often leftover brownies, an extra pot of soup, half a crate of unused avocados, or twice as many frozen bananas as we needed. Still , this is much better than running out of the yummy stuff that fans and dinner party guests had traveled far and wide to share with us. Also, even though we definitely did too much in a crazy, short period of time, I prefer it over not having done enough.

6. Bikes rule. Cars suck.

In Hamburg, I was able to borrow a bike and was on a rainy night bike ride. In the morning I got to ride around, too. It ruled, and really put me in a good mood. Germany cities are usually great for bikes. So much more relaxing and interactive to be on a bike touring around than sitting in a car for hours on end. Cars are death traps and weapons. Bikes don’t need parking spots, endless amounts of fuel, and get you around cities much better. The tour would not have been possible without a car, but yeah… the bike time was sweet. I need to fix up my bikes in Berlin and get out more.

7. Drive at night.

I hate traffic. I’d rather drive all night and get somewhere in half the time, than have a leisurely lie-in and long breakfast and spend twice as long stuck in a car. Often stuck in a line of cars and construction sites. Several times, particularly when I was alone, but also with Chris and Jon, I rolled down the window and turned up the music and enjoyed the highway. That’s not really possible during the day when there are 5 times as many cars on the road, and all the constructions site and accidents are grinding traffic to a halt. Also, I should have shared the driving more. I was nervous because I’ve had so many bad experiences with rental cars and insurance.

8. Shop early, shop smart.

Several times on the tour we had to squeeze in a visit to the shops to get our ingredients for cooking shows and dinner parties. It was totally stressful. I really wish I’d planned this aspect of the tour better so we could’ve had more time to get everything we needed. It would have been much better to have organized all the groceries and ingredients in the car so we always knew what we had and didn’t have to play guessing games with the spice supply.

9. Watch out for Porsches. And Ferraris.

Stay right on the highway and expect that when the autobahn speed limits disappear, Hans & Dieter will come blazing up the left lane in their sporty convertible going 240 kmph. Driving on the autobahn is awesome, and it was great to have a modern rental car that can keep up, but I’m often taken aback by how fast and sudden the speed demons come ripping past you.

Essen Veganz The Vegan Zombie Germany Tour 2014

10. Cookbook fans = The best.

Everywhere we went we met incredible people. In every city, at every event, we came into contact with some really great folks. In Frankfurt, the boys got a walking tour around town from our new friends. We talked for hours with super cool fans in all of the Veganz stores. We met mega-fans at every stop, including the young lady who brought us vegan spare ribs. Another super fan brought crocheted Vegan Zombie dolls for the guys. So cool! Every time we set up the table with our books, we got into conversations with our neighbors, biz partners and fans. People brought us food, gave us hugs, made us laugh, let us pet their dogs. I totally love experiencing everyone’s stories and enthusiasm. People were also wonderful for helping us out with tour logistics: arranging places to stay, directing us to grocery stores and parking spots, taking us around town, cooking for or with us, helping us set up, loading the car… all kinds of support and help!

11. Two days on, One day off.

The next time I plan a tour, I will make sure that there are rest days. We often went 2 or even 3 days with little or no sleep, and this was my biggest regret of the tour. My mood goes south when I haven’t slept, and simple tasks and decisions take three times as long. We hit 7 cities in 9 days, and I really wish we’d had at least 12 days. It was totally nuts! We could have had more time off for sightseeing, sleeping, chilling with friends and fans, etc.

12. Sleep is good.

As I just mentioned, we were really sleep deprived on the tour. It led to short tempers, fussiness, and lack of focus. When I watch the videos of our TV interviews and see photos of the tour, I realize I was not nearly as awake and rested as I felt. I was running on adrenaline and excitement and some magical energy reserve for the majority of the tour. At one point we didn’t really sleep for 3 days: After cooking and hosting a dinner party in Munich all day, we drove all night to Solingen for the VeggieFest where we did cooking shows and our cookbook table, then drove all night to Berlin. Then we cooked breakfast at Chaostheorie, then did a dinner party at Fast Rabbit. It’s insane that it all worked out. We averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night on the tour, and had events Every Single Day. Totally crazy. I think we literally became Vegan Zombies, or at least I think I did. The tour was tons of fun, but we would’ve enjoyed it even more and appreciated the time together much more if we’d had at least six hours of good sleep every night. Most important lesson of the tour, definitely.

13. Bring a sleeping bag.

Maybe it all goes back to being a boy scout when I was young: I like to be prepared. Not knowing I’d ever need it for the tour, but not wanting to rely on others, I packed my trusty travel sleeping bag. In Hamburg, I stayed with a friend who’d just moved into a new place and didn’t have much more than a mattress, let alone blankets and furniture. She camped out on the living room sofa with a borrowed blanket, and I slept fantastically (even if only for about 4 hours) in my sleeping bag on the bare mattress. Waking up in a sleeping bag reminds me of camping trips, and sleeper trains in Asia. I love it.

14. Showers are good. Bathtubs rule.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I lived in a place with a bathtub. I miss taking a hot bath once in a while. So it was so great that the apartment we had in Frankfurt had one. Whenever I travel and there is a bathtub, I get happy. We were lucky on this tour actually. We pretty much always found time to shower and bathe and freshen up before or after a long day on the road and/on our feet.

15. Shut up & cook!

I won’t lie, I can be a pain in the arse in the kitchen. Crowded kitchens are tough. In Mainz, there were up to six of us in the kitchen cooking 5 courses for 50 people. And two reporters following us around with notepads and video cameras. It’s best to focus on your tasks and let others focus on theirs. I have to learn to let go more, and speak less. The dinner parties were the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the tour, but they were also high stress and fast paced. We worked much better when we just did our work and left our egos and emotions out of things. Also, it’s awesome to work with professionals. Christoph at Fast Rabbit is a godsend. That guy can work so fast, and so smooth. Without him, the Berlin Dinner Party would’ve been hell. He’s got so much experience, and killer kitchen skills. It’s a gift to work with him. All of us work and cook differently, and Chris, Jon and I were managing so many things to make these events happen. Sometimes I got frustrated or overwhelmed by the amount of work and lack of time. But every time I watched the videos Chris made from the tour and events, I realized how crucial his tasks were, and I realized getting antsy or anxious didn’t really help anything. Jon is also great in the kitchen, and was brilliant with the cleanup. When you’re staring at 20 butternut squash that need to be cut up, or 100 dirty dishes, or realize 22 plates of dessert have to go out in 5 minutes, it’s easy to freak out. Breathe. Divide and Conquer. Realize it will all get done. And it did.

16. Reporters can make me crazy.

I love TV folks, magazine journalists, newspaper reporters, and bloggers. We love promotion and exposure. What I don’t like is having a camera in my face for 4 hours when I’m trying to prep, cook and serve a giant dinner party. I need to learn how to set clear rules and time limits for press people. Or else I’ll tell them exactly what I’m thinking and how much they’re in the way at crucial times. And they’ll make video interviews of me looking exhausted, frustrated and foolish. At least twice, I look like total crap on video because I was way too tired and focused on other stuff. I need to be better prepared for it. Or just be faster at answering questions and getting it out of the way early and efficiently.

Want to see me exhausted after 6 hours of driving, 4 hours of cooking 50 meals… doing a video interview in German? Yes, I actually said “Cheesecake” when I meant “Cheesesteak”. WTF!

17. Kitchens are quirky.

Don’t expect every kitchen you work in to have fancy blenders, good knives, predictable ovens, the right pots and pans, or all the spices you need. I know this, as I’ve done dinner parties, cooking demos and classes in dozens of kitchens. Still, I get bent out of shape most of the time I have to get things done in a kitchen I don’t know. We did pretty well, all things considered. For future tours I need to get more informed in advance about kitchen equipment and think about traveling with more of my own gear. Looking back, it’s pretty amazing we pulled off as much as we did with what we had. In Mainz, Jon made 2 giant pots of blended soup with a single immersion blender, and I made frozen banana sorbet for almost 50 people using a basic blender. All because I’d assumed we’d have a Vitamix or other high-performance blender, since I’m used to always having one. Or more. Chris also managed to bake incredible brownies working in small kitchens all across Germany, and with ovens of all sizes, shapes and (irregular) temperatures.

18. Learn how to draw unicorns.

When I sign cookbooks, I always offer to draw some fun pictures and write a cute dedication. In Mainz I learned the hard way that I don’t know how to draw unicorns off the top of my head. My deepest apologies to the dinner party guest who got some kind of lopsided horse bear with a horn drawn on the title page of her copy The Lotus and the Artichoke.

19. Find time alone.

3 guys driving, cooking, and hanging out almost 24 hours a day for 9 days is a LOT. We did okay at finding personal time and personal space. A few times we had our own rooms and place to stay. This helped a lot. The next time around, I’ll try to find more opportunities for everyone to tend to themselves and keep a bit of their private, personal routines. We didn’t get much time for exercise, music, computer geek time, phone/skype calls, emails and such. I also wish I’d had more time to read and mediate on the tour. Thankfully, cooking is a great meditation. The stereo in the car was great for rocking out a few times. I enjoyed time with family in Berlin, and would’ve gone nuts without seeing my son any longer than I did. And getting on a bike in Hamburg was also a blessing. Next time we’ll have more time.

20. Oktoberfest is hilarious.

We only spent an hour and a half at Oktoberfest after the book signing event at Veganz in Munich. But it was great. I’ve been to Oktoberfest twice before and enjoyed it, even though there are a lot of sloppy drunks around. It’s just fun to walk around, eat a pretzel as big as your head, have a drink, watch the amusement park rides, and get into the spirit of an intense gathering. I’m really glad Chris and Jon got to see it, too. Our friend Claudi (Claudi goes vegan) was a terrific host, and it was great to have her with us. Next time we’ll arrive earlier so we can get to the vegan food booth!

21. Relax & enjoy.

Sure, we had some time on the tour to just chill, chat and enjoy ourselves. Even aside from a lack of sightseeing and sleep, I wish we’d been more chilled out and really appreciated how amazing and incredible the tour was. We did well. We had a super successful tour, made all of our events, sold hundreds of books, cooked for hundreds of people, and learned an insane amount about ourselves, each other, the scene, the kitchen, cooking, and other people. It’s super important to take moments, no matter how short, to just breathe and smile.

22. Give thanks!

Thank you to everyone who made this tour possible and excellent. Above all, I thank Jon & Chris from The Vegan Zombie for their trust, patience and power on this wild ride. I had an unforgettable time! Big thanks to all our partners & sponsors, and all the kitchens & couches along the way. A special thanks to everyone who came out to see us at our book signing events, cooking shows, dinner parties, and other events. Here are just some of the people we love:

Get our cookbooks here:

Watch tour videos on YouTube here.

3 Months in Mexico

Mexico - Lady Death - Dia de los Muertos - Tepoztlán

Greetings from Gorgeous and Sunny Mexico!

I’m taking a break from the German winter, and spending three months exploring and experiencing Mexico. I’ve been here twice before, but it’s been years. This time I wanted to spend several months here to really get to know the people, the culture, the language, the places, and of course: THE FOOD!

I’ve already spent a few weeks researching the wide variety of Mexican cuisine in more than a half dozen locations including Mexico City, Tepoztlán, Guanajuato, San Pancho, Sayulita, Buceriás, and La Peñita de Jaltemba.

Since last month, I’ve been based in the sleepy village of Lo de Marcos, Nayarit. I’ve rented a house just a few blocks from the Pacific. There’s an amazing kitchen, fantastic garden full of herbs, lots of little vegetable markets and even a truck that drives around town selling fruits and vegetables. It’s a little mini paradise! Warm. Sunny. Friendly. Authentic. Down-to-Earth. I’ve been doing yoga every morning and I even got a surfboard and have been having fun in the ocean almost every day.

I’ve already developed over 40 new recipes which I’m planning for my next cookbook of vegan recipes inspired by my travels. This book will be about my travels in Mexico, life here, adventures in the kitchen and much more. It will be full of stories and original artwork, similar to my first cookbook: The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Recipes from World Adventures.

Here are a few photos from the last few weeks. I hope to be posting more, soon!

Guanajuato, Mexico

Guanajuato Kitchen JPM - Vegan Cooking in Mexico

Vegan Soy-Potato Tacos - Lo de Marcos

JPM with Surfboard in Lo de Marcos, Mexico - Vegan Cooking Adventures

German Lebkuchen

German Lebkuchen Cookies - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook

German Lebkuchen - Traditional Christmas Cookies

makes 12-14 / time 45 min

Cookie dough:

  • 2/3 cup / 100 g almonds ground
  • 2/3 cup / 100 g hazelnuts ground
  • 2/3 cup / 150 g sugar
  • 1/3 cup / 50 g flour
  • 3 Tbsn soy flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsn apricot or orange marmelade
  • 1/4 cup / 25 g candied lemon peel (Zitronat) or dried figs finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup / 25 g candied orange peel (Orangeat) or dried dates finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 to 14 baking wafers (70 mm)

Spice mix:

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves ground
  • pinch black pepper ground
  • pinch nutmeg ground
  • 2 Tbsn cocoa powder OPTIONAL

For decoration:

  • Orange zest, almonds, hazelnuts, candied orange and lime peel
  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy flour, sugar, marmalade, water well until mixture is smooth.
  2. In a food processor, chop candied orange and lemon peels or dates and figs very finely. (If using dates and figs, add 1/2 Tbsn orange zest + 1/2 Tbsn lemon zest.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix ground nuts, flour, salt, vanilla, and spice mix. Add contents of other bowl and chopped peels or dried fruit. Mix well to form smooth and moist dough.
  4. Refrigerate 1 hr, or preferably, overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C / level 5.
  6. Line baking tray with baking paper. Top a baking wafer with a heaping tablespoon of dough. Press down to form round and mostly flat cookies. Repeat with rest of the dough and wafers. Place well-spaced on baking tray. No baking wafers? Form flat and round cookies with a spoon and place directly on baking paper.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Note: Cookies will still be soft and similar shape when done.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool.

3 types of icing:

Chocolate icing:

  • 2 oz / 50 g dark chocolate
  1. Melt chocolate in medium pot set into larger pot of hot water.
  2. Apply melted chocolate with spoon or baking brush on cooled cookies. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

Plain icing:

  • 3 Tbsn water
  • 2 Tbsn sugar
  1. Mix water and sugar in small pot on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. Brush on/pour over with spoon on cooled cookies. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

White icing:

  • 3 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs coconut milk or soy cream
  1. Whisk powdered sugar and coconut milk or soy milk in small bowl. Mix well until thick and creamy, adding sugar or liquid as needed.
  2. Spread icing over cookies with spoon to fully cover. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

German Christmas Cookies - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

German Gingerbread Christmas Cookies with Matcha Sorbet and Blueberry Sorbet - The Lotus and the Artichoke

Blackberry Beet Smoothie

Blackberry Beet Smoothie - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

For years, I’d been dreaming of getting an awesome blender and making the transition from juice guy to smoothie guy. I’ve been into juicing for almost a decade, making a fresh juice about 4 or 5 times a week. When I go through phases of more raw living and detox days, and especially when I do a juice fast a few times a year, my juicer gets some serious play in the kitchen. Well, life took an amazing turn for me about two weeks ago…

I got a super duper, high-powered blender: a Vitamix Super TNC 5200. And I’m in love. I knew I’d love it, but I didn’t know I’d love it this much. It’s awesome for smoothies (duh!) but I also use it at least once more nearly every day for sauces, soups, spreads, desserts… in other words, all kind of prep work and kitchen fun. I also never expected it’d replace pretty much all of my favorite kitchen appliances, or at least fill them with envy. It’s kind of crazy how I just don’t need my small or large food processor anymore, and even my trusty coffee grinder, which I used daily for grinding nuts and spices has taken a back seat. Poor guys! Anyone want a used blender / food processor? Seriously, come and pick it up in Berlin.

Let’s be honest. These things are pricey, especially if you live in Europe, as I do, and get these goodies as imports from the U.S.. I keep telling people when they ask me: Could it possibly be worth the investment? Well, if you cook and blend a lot, and if you love smoothies; Yes. Find the funds, take the plunge. (In the intro to my cookbook, I talk about getting the best tools you can afford, and considering practical needs, priorities, as well as budget.) Soon, you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without a power blender. All the blenders I had over the years were difficult to clean and I avoided using them. This one’s a totally different story: Simple to clean and practically indestructible. It’s fun. It’s awesome.

Of course, there are other brands and models. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something that you can afford. And if you’re already buying smoothies outside the house regularly, in a few months you’d probably have spent the same amount of money. (Based on my current Smoothie Addiction, I’d be spending over 50€ a week if I was buying them, not making them at home. Instead, I probably spend about 5 or 6€ a week on fresh, mostly organic ingredients for juices and smoothies.)

Since I love to travel, I’m already starting to wonder how I’ll feel when I leave home for a few weeks or months (for example, this coming winter during my planned Mexico trip) and won’t have my beloved smoothies just about every morning. I guess I’ll be back to the stick blender, which fits well enough in my backpack and does the job. After all, I got by in India for a year without a juicer, and the stick (immersion) blender and small food processor I got there were enough. For several weeks in Africa I was always able to get by with a simple citrus press. So yeah, I’ll survive.

Enough about the blender! Give me the smoothie!

This smoothie recipe, a Blackberry Beet Smoothie (with lots of other fun stuff in it, too) is part of a series of smoothies I plan to post about. Many of them have stories that relate to my travels and places I’ve lived in the 40+ countries I’ve seen. But this one is just fun and delicious. I’ve always loved beets and berries. I could talk about how beets remind me of India and berries about my childhood days of scouting trips in the forests of Northeastern America. Nah… Let’s get on to the tasty stuff.

If you don’t have a power blender (yet), you could make this with a standard blender, or even an immersion blender. Just chop the stuff well, and soak the nuts and seeds longer. Or use cashew butter. Be creative, have fun. It’s your smoothie now. Enjoy!

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Kochen ohne Knochen Interview

Interview Kochen ohne Knochen Das Vegane Magazin Justin P. Moore on the balcony

Interview Kochen ohne Knochen Das Vegane Magazin Justin P. Moore layout

I was recently interviewed for Kochen ohne Knochen – Das Vegane Magazin. The original interview is in German, but I’ve translated it here for you to read in English, and added more detail to a few answers. I also included photos from the printed magazine’s design and layout for the article. I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

Justin P. Moore – World Traveler & Vegan

Interview with Kochen ohne Knochen – Das Vegane Magazin
Issue #12

Justin, an American living in Berlin, has traveled to more than 40 countries and compiled over 100 delicious recipes. In his cookbook, The Lotus and the Artichoke (first published in English) which was recently published in German, he documents his culinary adventures from around the world.

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Moroccan Stuffed Squash RELOADED!

Vegan Moroccan Stuffed Squash Reloaded with Quinoa - The Lotus and the Artichoke

Once in a while I have a recipe that I just keep coming back to and improving and evolving. Lately I’ve been enjoying lots of dinner parties and I’ve been cooking for friends very regularly. I’ve been cooking a lot of stuffed vegetables and experimenting with different fillings.

Just in the last few weeks I’ve cooked either my Tempeh Stuffed Mushrooms, Stuffed Peppers, and Stuffed Squash about a dozen times. (These are all recipes from my vegan cookbook.) It’s just so fun to make a giant batch of tomato rice or spicy quinoa or couscous and mix it up with more spices and other delicious foodstuffs. And then of course to fill up the vegetables and throw them in the oven.

A few days ago one of my good friends gave me an enormous zucchini from his home garden. I totally laughed when I saw the 2.5 kilogram monster squash. Everyone at our picnic was quite amused when I passed around the homegrown gift. It took me a few days to figure out how to best honor the gigantic gourd. And then it came to me yesterday afternoon: Make a killer variation of my Vegan Moroccan Stuffed Squash!

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Cooking Demo at Veganz in Berlin

Around the World with The Lotus and the Artichoke - Cooking Demo at Veganz in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg

Around the World
with The Lotus and the Artichoke

Join me in the kitchen: FREE cooking demonstrations + amazing food at Veganz 2nd Birthday Party this Saturday, 27 July, 2013!

The program (auf Deutsch & in English):

You’ll also have the opportunity to get a signed copy of The Lotus and the Artichoke (in English or German). Or bring your book to get it signed… if that’s your thing.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Lotus & Artichoke Love,
Justin