What Do Vegans Eat at the Nepal Cuisine Lunch Buffet? Curry of Course!
Monday lunch is one of my favorite meals of the week because that’s when Nepal’s Cuisine in Boulder, Colorado offers an all vegan lunch buffet.* I don’t live in Boulder, but nevertheless frequently make the 40 minute journey because the food at Nepal Cuisine is so good and what vegan doesn’t enjoy selection?
The Vegan Buffet at Nepal Cuisine
A number of the buffet items change weekly at Nepal’s vegan lunch buffet, but you can always count on some variety of daal (lentil soup), vegetable samosa, pakora, momos, salads, spinach saag or mustard greens, chutney, rice and a variety of curry dishes which will include several of the following: chickpeas or other legume, cauliflower, green beans, eggplant, squash, tomato, broccoli, bamboo shoots, potato, green beans, tofu and peas.
The proprietors of Nepal Cuisine sell a “Don’t Worry, Eat A Curry” t-shirt. I decided to take the advice to heart so lately I’ve been preparing – and learning – a lot about curry.
For instance, I’ve learned that the word ‘curry’ is broader than I once thought (thanks Emily June). The term refers not only to a spice or mixture of spices, but also to any dish in a richly spiced sauce. The sauce can be dry or wet and people who eat vegan/plant-based diets enjoy an almost endless variety of curries including legume curries, vegetable curries and tofu and biryani curries. Curry dishes are made in hundreds of countries throughout the world.
Most curries are very versatile and great for feeding larger groups of people. They can be served with a variety of accompaniments including rice, noodles, flatbreads and even pancakes! Contrary to some thinking, curries do not have to be hot or spicy. Rather, they are often mild, aromatic and even sweet.
Vegan Curry Recipes
I hope you’ll enjoy a curry (and less worry) sometime soon. To get you started, consider making one or more of the recipes that follow. And if you want to sample some exceptional curry, be sure to stop by Nepal’s Cuisine any Monday for the vegan lunch buffet. Because if you eat curry, you will have less about which to worry.
Pad Ped Makua
This recipe is from our friend Emily June. The fish sauce traditionally used is replaced with other ingredients for a memorable flavor. Thanks Emily J.
- 4 T red curry paste
- 2 T palm sugar or brown sugar
- 19 oz. coconut milk
- 3 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped (available online and in Asian markets)
- 1/8 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. thin Thai soy sauce
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup bamboo shoots
- 1/8 cup chopped red bell pepper
- ¼ cup snow or sweet peas
- ¼ cup finely chopped carrots
- ¼ cup chopped zucchini
- 2 T white sugar
- 1 lb. purple eggplant, diced
- 1 lb. Thai eggplant, diced
- ½ cup Thai or sweet basil
Stir the curry paste and brown sugar in a wok or large pan over high heat until the mixture starts to boil. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves, vinegar, soy sauce and salt and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the bamboo shoots, bell pepper, peas, carrots, zucchini, sugar and eggplant. Cook for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add the basil and stir. Serve over cooked basmati rice. For a spicier dish add more red curry paste and/or crushed dry Thai chilies
Butternut Curry with Seitan & Spinach
This is one of many recipes from Glenn & Justina.
- 2 T sunflower or peanut oil
- 1 T mustard seeds
- 1 medium butternut squash or pumpkin cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 onion finely sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed and diced
- 2 inch piece of ginger, finely diced
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- ½ pound chicken seitan, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 pound tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 can coconut milk (14 – 15 oz.)
- 1 package fresh, baby spinach (8-10 ounces)
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin or garam masala
- salt & pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or wok, add the mustard seeds and stir-fry until they pop. Add half of the squash or pumpkin and all the onions and gently stir-fry until the onions soften and are translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, salt and pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add turmeric and stir-fry 1 minute more. Add seitan, stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and remaining squash or pumpkin and ½ of the veggie broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Add the spinach, remaining broth and cumin or garam masala, cover with a lid and steam for 2 minutes until the leaves collapse, then stir mixing all ingredients. Serve over steamed brown basmati rice.
So, follow the advice of Machhendra and Ratna: eat a curry and do not worry!
Updated April 2, 2016
* Vegan buffets are deliciously fun for vegans and a great way to introduce friends, family and co-workers to the diversity of vegan/plant-based diets. In addition to the Monday vegan lunch buffet at Nepal Cuisine, other vegan buffets in the Denver/Boulder area include Thursday evenings at Tsing Tao in Boulder and Friday lunch at Jill’s Restaurant, also in Boulder. Govinda’s Garden Café in Denver offers a mostly vegan buffet (check website for hours) and of course there are some wonderful vegan restaurants in the Denver area including Watercourse and Native Foods.
Author: Kris Giovanini
Kris is a former attorney and long time vegetarian/vegan who was healed of severe digestive problems after eliminating all dairy from her diet. Says Kris "if I can make great vegan food, anyone can"! Kris devotes her time to promoting vegan/plant-based diets and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.