We unwittingly stumbled into a vegan cul-de-sac recently.

As you know we’re meat-free monday to friday these days which is why we launched CBP back in January. We like authenticity rounds these ends and tend to steer clear of the ‘veggie products that could be meat if you had no taste buds’ in favour of real dishes that were designated veggie from the get go.

Making what we’re about to say all the stranger… but we fell in, unwittingly…

Replicating the asian flavour staples of Nam Pla aka fish sauce and shrimp paste is the last great adversary of the devoted vegan, and climate kind eater for that matter. This is a neccesary conversation we feel, just don’t get us started on quorn sausages, tempeh bacon or tofurky. 

There are vegan substitutes out there but they are hard to come by in the UK. So we’ve scoured the net so you don’t have to, for the best brands and recipes to make them yourself – skip to the end for a list.

But we didn’t use any of them. It’s the weekend!

Note to peeps: remember this red curry paste for all your mid week fixes of an asian flava persuasion.

35 mins | serves 2 | ee-zee

Ingredients

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400g packet courgetti

noodles for 2

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tin coconut milk

350ml vegetable stock

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 lime, juice, plus wedges

1 tbsp fish sauce

red curry paste:

2 shallots

2 red chillies – with seeds if you want – we did

1 lemongrass stalk

3 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped

thumb size piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

bunch coriander, stalks and leaves seperated

1 tsp shrimp paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt flakes

Method 

Curry paste first. Bash up or whizz the shallots, chillies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks until it forms a coarse paste. Add the shrimp paste, ground spices and salt and bash/whizz again until it’s a bitty paste.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and fry the curry paste until fragrant – which is amazing – about 2 mins. Add the coconut milk, stock and sugar, bring to a bubble and simmer for 10mins or so. Season with the fish sauce and lime juice.

Meanwhile cook the noodles (2-3mins) and warm the courgetti by dipping them in the noodle water for a few seconds if you have a pasta basket. If not, tip the water over the courgetti in a colander as you drain the noodles.

Place the noodles and courgetti in the bottom of a warmed bowl. Pour the soup over to cover the courgetti, scatter with coriander leaves and chilli slices. Serve with lime wedges.

Yum yum.

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Vegan substitutes:

Fish sauce 

recipes: brilliant vegan fish sauce by vegan miam, no’nam pla by the gentle chef

brand: Âu Lac nước mắm chay 

Shrimp paste

recipes: “shrimp” paste by i eat food, vegan bagoong alamang by vegan pinoy

brand: Red Lotus vegan shrimp paste

Oyster sauce

recipes: vegan oyster sauce by vegan recipe club, vegan shiitake “oyster” sauce by the clean dish

brand: Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir fry sauce – is considered the best vegan sub for oyster sauce

The brands are available in the UK online from veggie-world.com.

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