Vegan surprise

The surprise was more exciting for me than it is likely to be for you, so I’ll spill it straight away: to my absolute astonishment and entirely by accident I have just cooked, eaten and enjoyed an entirely vegan dinner. No butter, no bacon, not even a bit of egg.* What a revelation.

The combination of ingredients was determined by:

1) the fact I had a strange craving for pak choi at lunchtime today and bought two in the covered market

2) things I already had in the cupboard

Serves 1 greedy person

100g basmati rice
half a vegetable stock cube [I was cooking for myself, it was late and I was hungry. Under these circumstances shortcuts are allowed.]

sunflower oil [I would have used olive if I hadn’t run out.]
about 80g shelled unsalted pistachios
1 teaspoon dried crushed chili [or less if you are of a delicate disposition]
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 small pak choi
1 clove of garlic
mirin [don’t really understand what this is but it makes everything taste better]

Put the rice on to cook with the stock cube crumbled in. I do it lid on, with twice as much water by volume as rice. All the water gets absorbed by the rice so when it’s done you don’t have to faff around with draining it.

If you have a pestle and mortar give the nuts a gentle bashing to break them up into halves and quarters. If not bundle them up in a tea towel and batter them with a rolling pin.

Meanwhile put 1-2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and heat it up to medium-hot.

Wash and chop the pak choi. Cut away and reserve the greens. Cut the white parts into two or three pieces. Crush the garlic.

Put the nuts, chili and mustard seeds into the pan. Stir them round till they’re hot and coated with oil but not burning.

Add the whites of the pak choi. Cook for about three minutes, until the whites are cooked.

Stir in the greens and garlic and cook for another two minutes or so.

When the pak choi’s done stir in the cooked rice. Add a few splashes of magic mirin and eat. Probably on the sofa in front of the television.

pak choi rice garlic mustard seed crushed chile garlic pistachios

It’s not a small bowl, it’s a big fork