Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Vegetable Aspic with Tomato Baked Beans

A meat-free dish that filled with lots of dietary fibers, and tasted delicious. Aspic is a clear savory jelly (as of fish or meat stock) used as a garnish or to make a meat, fish, or vegetable mold. I used plant based agar-agar powder and vegetable stock cube or mushroom granules to prepare the aspic filled with colourful vegetable chunks that were cooked to soft. To me, it's vegetable soup in cool jelly form 😍

The baked beans served in vegetarian sweet tomato sauce gave the dish a sweet, savoury and a little tart taste. While the golden garlic butter bread triangles not only constituted the carbohydrate of the dish, but also were the most flavourful bites of the dish. Who can resist aromatic buttery garlic bread that have been pan-fried to crispy and aromatic😋 

The preparation was simple:
💚cauliflower, broccoli and carrots were steamed to just softened,
💛pour vegetable-stock-agar-agar jelly water into the cup filled with the steamed vegetables
💙cool to solidify
💗pan-fried garlic butter bread
💜warm up tomato baked beans
🍽 assemble over plate and serve 

You can cut the bread into star shape to make a more presentable dish 😍

Serving: 4 persons
Yield: 4x200ml cup size vegetable aspics

Vegetable Aspic
80~90g cauliflower
80~90g broccoli
25~30g carrot, smaller size preferred

6g agar-agar powder, about 1.5 tsp
30g water

300g water to boil
1 stalk white scallion, optional
300g water to be added later to cool down the jelly water
8g vegetable stock cube or mushroom granules
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp hua diao jiu/rice wine, optional

4 x 200ml glass cups

1. Add 30g of water to 6g agar-agar powder, and stir into a smooth paste. Let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Soak cauliflower and broccoli in vegetable wash for about 10 minutes before rinsing them with clean water. 

Cut the carrot into to slices, cauliflower and broccoli into small chunks. 
You may cut the carrot slices in flower design. This step is optional.

3. Add about 80ml of water to the pot of a mini rice cooker. Place cauliflowers in a small metal bowl and sit in the pot of the rice cooker. Place the broccoli and carrot in a steamer rack sit on top of the bowl of cauliflower.
Turn on the "Cook" function of the rice cooker, and let the vegetables steam for about 10 to 13 minutes, or till reaching your desired softness.

To test the doneness of the vegetables, insert a thin skewer through the thickest part of the vegetables. If the skewer passes through easily, the vegetables are done.

Transfer the hot vegetables to a bowl of ice salt water to halt the cooking and to give the vegetables a slight salty taste.

4. Boil 300g of water in a pot with a small stalk of white scallion. When the water starts to boil, stir in agar-agar paste from Step 1. Stir regularly to prevent the agar-agar paste from sticking to the base of the pot.

When all the agar-agar granules have dissolved, the jelly water is done. Turn off the heating.

Stir in the vegetable stock cube or mushroom granules,

followed by 300g of water to dilute and to cool down the jelly water faster.

Remove the stalk of white scallion from the jelly water.

5. Pour about two tablespoons of jelly water to the cups.

Place the cool cooked vegetables into the cups. Ensure you shake off the excess water from the cooked vegetables before adding to the cups.

Finally, pour the remaining jelly water to fill up the cups.

6. Seal the cups openings with cling wrap, and chill in the fridge till harden.
picture for demonstration

Garlic Butter Bread Cube
 4 slices white bread, thick slice preferred
40g unsalted butter, 1 bread slice to 10g butter
2 clove garlic, peeled and sliced into 8 to 12 slices

You can prepare more of these aromatic bread if you like to eat lots of them

1. Trim away the coarser bread crust, and cut the slice of bread diagonally into 4 triangular pieces.

You can also use a star shape cutter to cut out about 8 stars from a thick slice of white bread.

2. Melt 10g of unsalted butter in a small pan till it bubbles. Remember to swirl the pan once in a while to prevent the hot butter from splattering suddenly. 
Drop 2 to 4 sliced garlic into the hot butter. Cook till the garlic and butter turn golden and aromatic.

3. Drop in the cut bread slices, and cook till both faces turn golden. Remove the golden garlic butter bread from the pan. Set aside.

or the star garlic butter bread.

Tomato Baked Beans
1 can of Ayam Brand Vegetarian Tomato Baked Beans 425g

1. Divide the tomato baked beans into portions. Pour one portion of the tomato baked beans into hot pan with some garlic butter left over from preparing the garlic butter bread earlier. Heat up the tomato baked beans till it starts to bubble.

Assembling the dish
1. Run a thin handle of a teaspoon between the aspic and the wall of the cup till air "seep" into the base of the aspic.
Let the aspic thaw in room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the cup, if you prefer a not-too-cold dish.

Invert the cup to slip the aspic onto a plate. Wipe away any excess liquid flow around the aspic.

2. Pour the warm tomato baked beans around the aspic, decorate the plate with garlic butter bread and the golden slices of garlic. Enjoy 😋😍

Thank you Ayambrand for the 4 complimentary cans of Vegetarian Baked Beans and 2 foldable shopping bags 😃😃

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