Sunday, November 29, 2009

Asian grocery goodness...

On Monday, I typed the final paragraphs into my conclusion chapter, leaving me with .... a complete first draft. It was like a beacon of light shone down on me, and a chorus was singing in the distance. In the life of a PhD student, a complete draft is A Big Deal. I've spent just under three years so far working on this, first researching my face off and then writing for months on end. Now my drafts are up with my supervisors, which means a short reprieve before revisions start with a vengeance. There's plenty of work I could do in the meantime, but I basked in the moment and took both Tuesday and Friday off from uni.

So on Tuesday, I headed up to the Asian grocery shop, something I've been meaning to do for weeks, and stocked up on some supplies.

I often complain that in Townsville we lack many of the luxurious ingredients that city dwellers and North Americans take advantage of without a second thought. Things like more than one brand of store-bought veggie burger, vegan cheese, and vegan restaurant food. But for all my complaining, my basic needs are met -- the Asian grocery store carries lots of vegan staple foods.

My recent trip saw me purchase about 7 kilos of food, which made riding home a bit arduous but totally worth it.

I got: sesame seeds, azuki beans, tapioca pearls, dried shiitake mushrooms, miso paste, cannellini beans, ground cumin, loose leaf green tea, sumac, chickpea flour, gluten flour, and stinky tofu. Of the products which are available in the mainstream grocery stores, these are much cheaper -- because the Asian grocers buy in bulk and pack most things themselves. They have tons of spices and dried herbs, rice of all varieties, beans, nuts, seeds, tinned mock meat, and noodles galore. They've also got a fair bit of fresh produce, including lots of fruit and veg that you can't get in the supermarket. In short, I love it there.

The other thing I bought on Tuesday which had made it to the fridge by picture-time was a block of fresh tempeh. At $5.50 a cake, it ain't cheap, but it's approximately 12,403 times better than the tempeh we can get in the supermarket.

For me, tempeh and peanut sauce were made for each other, so I stir-fried my tempeh with broccoli and carrots and smothered everything in a curried peanut sauce.

The fresh tempeh was firm and textured, with a deep, almost mushroom-y flavour. Served with bulgur, this was a great post-yoga meal because it was so ridiculously quick to throw together.

Note to Townsvillains - I shop at the Asian grocery store in Aitkenvale. I've been to the Hermit Park shop once and wasn't super impressed, and since I'm a creature of habit I'm happy to stick with the one I know and love.


lisa said...

The fresh tempeh looks awesome! $5.50 isn't bad - how much do you pay for supermarket tempeh up t'north? The supermarket tempeh here costs $5-7 for a block, or $3-4 if you seek out Asian grocers.

Cindy said...

A complete draft? That's awesome! I can think of nothing better to celebrate than a couple of days off and some peanutty tempeh. :-)

Theresa said...

lisa - I think supermarket tempeh here is in the $4-5 range, so this isn't so bad in comparison to that. And there is an organic grocery delivery place this is more lik $7+ for organic tempeh, so it's great compared to that. I'm kind of comparing it to alternative protein sources, like seitan, tofu and beans... For two meals, $5.50 is a bit more than we usually spend but I will definitely be getting it again!

Cindy - thanks! :)

Liz said...

Oh wow. I love Woolworths tempeh so I can only IMAGINE how much I'd love the tempeh you bought. Totally agree about the peanut sauce thing :)
My new blog's up, just by the way!
xx Liz

David J said...

As our family moves closer to becoming less carnivorous I expect I'll be referring to this blog for interesting recipes. The images are always really great and the food looks so delicious.
Interesting qualitative statistic on the tempeh.... I'll take your word for it and maybe try to find some here in Darwin. I've only ever eaten it prepared by others.

Seitahn said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! on finishing your draft!!

I love my local Asian shop, too! I have never seen fresh tempeh there - must look harder!!


Susan said...

Hurrah for finishing your draft. :) The thesis beastie is a mighty foe, which you have now slain! Mwahahaha. :)

I love an Asian grocery store. I live in an area of Brisbane that has a zillion of them, which is great! I haven't tried any stinky tofu before, but I really want to.

Mandee said...

I have some tempeh in my fridge that I really should not eat but now I want to make some peanut sauce and eat the whole block of it, you're a bad influence!!

And what a great shopping haul, there are a few Asian groceries around me and I love finding new products to try.

Vaala said...

Congratulations! That's awesome news about finishing your draft.

Ooo, I do like a good Asian grocery store (we have this chain called the Tofu Shop here in Auckland but there are heaps of others). The only thing is that there are a few things there that look interesting but I have no idea what they are or what are in them as there is no english on the packaging!

Eve Jelebi said...

Hi There
I came here via wellsphere.
It's nice to see an Aussie blogger!

That block of tempeh is huge.
I've never really tried it before and feel like giving it a go now Ive seen your blog post.

Have a good day!

Mihl said...

Congrats on your first draft! That is really, really awesome and it must feel great. I wish I was that far with my PhD.
I've never seen fresh tempeh, I think...I have to check my local Asian store.

Jackie said...

Congrats on completion of the draft.

I know what it's like to have a shortage of Vegan products. I battle to get even Vegan cheese and I have never tasted tempeh. On the up side though it means making things from scratch with fresh ingredients without their added preservatives etc :)

I must try your nutty eggplant bake, sounds yummy.

InALittleMinute said...

Congrats on the First Draft being complete.. huge task!

Great to hear your taking a few days to chill, do what you like.. etc.

Enjoy your few days, and try not to think about anything educated related!