Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Secret Sources for Vegan Asian Cooking

Southeast Asian cuisine is so varied it almost seems disrespectful to lump it under one umbrella, but there are a few common threads that pop up whether you are channeling the spicy curries of Thailand, the fresh, vibrant vegetable dishes of Vietnam or the rich tofu dishes that pop up throughout the region.

There is a reason vegans gravitate toward Southeast Asian foods. Rich coconut milk adds a silky texture to soups and stews, and tofu takes on an ethereal quality when simmered with curry spices.

I live in Wyoming, which makes finding exotic ingredients a veritable treasure hunt. However, over the past decade. I have put together a group of go-to websites that carry top-notch Asian ingredients. 

Here is the list. is an incredible online grocery store that not only carries authentic imported Asian foods, it also mails fresh Thai produce like kaffir lime leaves, thai basil, green papaya, lemongrass and galangal. If you love Thai food stop reading this post and immediately go to the site and purchase their Fresh Thai Produce Kit. For $26 you get fresh lemongrass, limes, Thai chiles, and galangal. Also, check out their handmade curry paste by Mae Ploy. It isn’t made with shrimp paste, an ingredient that you need to watch for with many other prepared curry pastes. carries a massive inventory of Asian ingredients (as the name would suggest), but most importantly carries AROY-D 100% Pure Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream. A lot of canned coconut milks include preservatives and have a 3-year shelf life but this brand is all natural and only has a 1-year shelf life. It is a favorite among chefs in Thailand, and for a good reason. Use this in anything that calls for coconut milk like this killer Coconut Almond Rice Pudding.

Savory Spice Shop is a virtual paradise for food geeks who like their spices hand ground and super fresh. Try any one of the more than a dozen custom curry blends including a Thai Red Curry, Thai Green Curry or my favorite, a Cambodian Lemongrass Curry. The craziest thing about this online store is the prices. You can buy most spices for less than you can find them at your local grocery store. And, because they are so fresh, you don’t need to use as much so your $$ goes a long way. 


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