Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Cooking inspiration with Yondu Culinary Studio

 We have used Yondu in our cooking classes, and it is an amazing tastemaker in the kitchen.

The company is doing some online cooking classes, and they are worth attending, you will get ideas. You can register for the classes through Eventbrite here.

Having said that, like most food businesses, they are trying to leverage the "plant-based' trend only in the general sense, and they stick to a traditional nutritional model, which can be confusing, particularly when it comes to the usual misunderstanding that it is hard to get sufficient protein on a plant-based diet. With high school nutrition, people worry always about "but where do you get your protein?" which is not warranted, and seems to be a problem only because they do not know the actual protein content of foods (like even rice or potatoes at 10-11% of calories from protein are a perfectly balanced food). The corollary to that problem is also the overconsumption of protein in the standard diet, which turns out to be unhealthy in the first place. So, as long as you get your staples of rice, or potatoes, etc., you can build a meal around that. In short, if the general conversion from a "normal" recipe to a #WFPB recipe involves seeing to your staples, which need to be complex carbs (brown rice, potatoes, or whole grain pasta, etc.) and not refined foods. Aside from that, you typically make more veggies than "ordinary food." That can include both cooked and raw.  

Accordingly, if I use a Yondu recipe here, I may post some comments or variations from time to time to illustrate how you can easily make proper Whole Foods, Plant-Based meals with Yondu. Used properly, Yondu allows you to create a lot of flavor without adding a lot of salt and that is really the crux of the whole thing. Their classes have given me some great ideas.

In my own cooking the easiest taste makers ("umami" is the word of the day for aromatic and flavorful taste) are:

  1. Yondu
  2. Braggs Liquid Aminos
  3. Panch Puran

Caramelizing onions

These days, caramelizing onions for me often involves Yondu, though sometimes, depending on what I am cooking, I may start with roasting some Panch Puran in my pan (the seeds, not the powder).

Here is my routine:
  1. [optional] Roast Panch Puran for 5 mins at 350F
  2. Dry roast the chopped onions at 350F for 5 mins (optionally chopped chili or peppers can also be added at this stage.
  3. Continue another 5 mins at 350F, and gradually stir in a cup of water with 1 Tsp Yondu.
  4. Add in chopped garlic

That's a great start for many wonderful vegetable dishes. You can make spinach, Malabar spinach (in my Bangla neighborhood "Poi leaf"), Amaranth leaves (" shaag"), chard, any green leafies can be started this way.  On the other hand, we also know that our taste buds do change on a plant-based diet, and I am often amazed how good something simple like steamed spinach can be.  

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