Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ital-Asian Gold

It's been a long time since we've taken the opportunity to experiment in the Driftwood Vegan kitchen so this weekend we decided to make some time.  My parents bought us a pasta roller for Christmas and I was keen to experience the joy of making pasta without the hard work created by the rolling pin method.  I was all set to make ravioli or lasagne and announced this to Phil who responded with less enthusiasm than I had anticipated.  You see my culinary preference and expertise is Italian, Phil's Asian.  He really wasn't feeling the Italian vibe; until that is, I jokingly said "how about making some Asian ravioli"?  He immediately perked up.

He was clearly excited by the idea and set about pouring out ideas that temporarily confused my conventional idea of ravioli. Finally he decided upon the idea of a filling that was a cross between scrambled tofu and the satay peanut filling that is inside the Thai speciality snack Tung Tong.  To accompany the ravioli Phil dreamt up a subtly flavoured creamy coconut sauce with turmeric and fresh curry leaves.  My mind was boggled so I left him to it and got on with the task of making the fresh pasta whilst enjoying the wafts of exotic aromas from his side of the kitchen.

As is the way when we get going in the kitchen we had the 'sounds' pounding. It turns out that a spot of dub is perfect for kneading pasta dough and this particular track added to the Ital(ian)-Asian vibe developing.  Before I knew it the dough was as smooth as the groove!

After the pasta had rested for a few minutes, it was all ready for some fusion.  A joint effort of rolling, cutting, filling and squeezing the edges together gave us 26 rustic looking ravioli. Now if it was all down to looks, we would never win Masterchef but they held together perfectly when cooked, and the taste, well let's just say it was 'Ital-Asian gold' and we are very happily repeating the experience tonight.  It all just goes to prove that a spot of cultural diversity and fusion should extend into all aspects of everyday life, especially the kitchen.

Here's how it all happened......

Ital-Asian Ravioli with Creamy Coconut Sauce

For the pasta
1 and 2/3 cups Doves Farm Organic Pasta Flour
1/2 cup gram flour
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the flours and the salt in a bowl and add the water.  Stir with a fork at first but then just 'get in there' with your hands and when you've got a reasonable 'ball' of dough, lob it onto a floured surface and knead it to some cool tunes for 10 minutes. It should feel noticeably smooth when you've finished.  Pop it into a plastic bag to rest for at least 10 minutes.  Then roll it either with a rolling pin or a pasta roller to about 2-3mm.  For the base of the ravioli choose a smaller cutter (I used round cookie cutters as seen in the photo) and then a larger one for the top so it takes into account covering the filling.

For the filling
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1/2 large leek quartered and finely sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground galangal
3/4 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/4 teaspoon Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 spice)
4 large fresh shiitake mushrooms chopped finely
200g firm tofu crumbled finely
2 tablespoons shoyu soya sauce
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

Fry the leek in the oil until soft.  Add the ground spices and continue to cook for a minute.  Add the shiitake mushrooms and continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes before adding the crumbled tofu.  Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the soya sauce and coriander and mix in well then add the peanut butter in small blobs and mix well. Take off the heat and allow to cool. 

For the creamy coconut sauce
2/3 can of organic coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4" fresh ginger root chopped finely
1 tablespoon jaggery (palm sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shoyu soya sauce
10 fresh curry leaves
1 tablespoon kuzu/arrowroot dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

Empty the coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat until simmering gently.  Add all the other ingredients apart from the kuzu/arrowroot.  Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the kuzu water mixture and bring back to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes.  Keep warm until ready to serve with the ravioli.

To assemble, cut the pasta to the desired size and fill with an appropriate amount of filling.  Use a little bit of water around the edge to seal the pasta together.  Add the ravioli (in batches so not to crowd them) to boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with the warm creamy coconut sauce drizzled over the top.



  1. Replies
    1. :) There would never be enough left of this one. We make it and somehow it disappears. Making it again this weekend for a couple of friends. We must spend more time experimenting in the kitchen with random stuff. Random is good!