Tag: rosa’s thai cafe

My Favorite Veg-Based Cookbooks

With Veganuary coming to a close and my covert announcement in Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter on recipe writing and ingredient sourcing on the kinds of recipes I will be sharing here, I thought now was as good a time as any to walk you through some of my favorite vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.

To be clear, I’m not vegan or vegetarian because limiting my eating options causes problems for me, but I do eat a mostly vegan and vegetarian diet and try to shop as animal, human and planet friendly as possible.

I promise these 13 vegan and vegetarian cookbooks will keep you as inspired as I am about centering vegetables on your plate.

Vegetable Kingdom – Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a star in his own right in (vegan) cooking and after reading Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes, I can see why. I can’t recall a best of 2020 cookbook list without it, so I had to have it.

With Bryant’s classical training at first glance this book can come across as a bit ‘cheffy’. Once you realise virtually each recipe is a menu in and of itself, and that you can take each individual component to make your own combinations or just cook one of them at a time, it all becomes a lot less intimidating so all you’re left with is inspiration.

I’ve already made the fantastic charred leak and mushroom toast with a pinenut puree from Vegetable Kingdom but the taro root cakes and cornmeal-fried oyster mushroom po’boy are also high on my hitlist along with all the other purees mentioned in the book. Or Vegetable Kingdom here if you’re in the US, or here if you’re in the UK.

Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian Cookbook – Siaphin Moore

My brother took me to Rosa’s Thai Café in London’s East End (our old haunt) years ago and I distinctly recall it blowing my mind. Before I’d only had heavy Thai ‘curries’ but Rosa’s showed how bright and refreshing Thai cooking can be. So when I spotted this book and saw one of my favorite photography and styling teams had worked on it I had to get it.

There are quite a number of reasons to love this book. The photography by Louise Hagger and styling by Alexander Breeze is stellar, for one. The recipes are mostly vegan and extremely diverse in scope. But above all, Saiphin Moore has embellished each recipes in Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian Cookbook with her rich personal history of eating experiences, recipe sources and more. This book gives you a real feel for all the regional Thai cuisines and Saiphin’s past growing up and living in various parts of Asia and now the UK.

All the recipes, including this gaeng penang tua lima (vegan butterbean panang) are surprisingly easy to make, which is just icing on the cake to me. Order Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian here if you are in the UK.

Jackfruit & Blue Ginger – Sasha Gill

If you’re looking for a broader vegan Asian tome, Sashi Gill is your woman. In Jackfruit & Blue Ginger: Asian Favorites Made Vegan Sasha shares well-beloved classic Asian dishes from India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, China and Japan, made vegan, as well as some basic techniques to veganize recipes of your own accord.

Chapters are organised by region, which makes it easy to find something to suit your mood or come up with a cohesive vegan menu for a dinner party.

One thing in particular that I love about this book is that it also contains sweets or ‘desserts’ from each region (most Asian cuisines don’t work with desserts, but have sweets throughout the day instead). The vegan Hong Kong ‘egg’ tarts made with silken tofu in particular are amazing and a recipe I’ve made and fed to others again and again, it also formed the foundation for my vegan dark and stormy crème brûlee. Order Jackfruit & Blue Ginger here if you’re in the UK or here if you are in the US (it appeared under another title).

Greenfeast – Nigel Slater

As a voracious reader I prefer reading that challenges and discomforts me. But there are times when something more soothing is required. As a young one I found this comfort in Kurt Vonnegut, because he seemed as miffed by the ways of the world as I was (and still am).

Now that I’m older I cannot think of a single more soothing voice than Nigel Slater‘s. One of my favorite recipes of his is called an earthy meal in a bowl type soup, a title that describes his writing to a tee. When you read Nigel you know you are going to be alright.

Greenfeast comes in two parts: Spring, Summer and Autumn, Winter. These books will help you cook with the seasons and as Nigel states, are intended more to inspire than to be very exacting with. They are my go to when I’ve bought a vegetable but no longer know what to do with it. I just pull them out and browse, good things surely coming my way. Greenfeast is a bit cream and cheese heavy and very classical European in scope, which makes it a great place to start for anyone only just venturing into more veg-based eating straight from plates full of meat.

Order Spring, Summer here if you are in the US and here if you are in the UK. Order Autumn, Winter here if you are in the US or here if you are in the UK.

Vegan with Bite – Shannon Martinez

I got to know Shannon over some late night/ early morning transnational DMing (don’t be gross) and knew I had to get one of her books immediately. Lucky for me Vegan with Bite had just come out.

Shannon isn’t vegan but her restaurant is vegan and so are the recipes she shares because *gesticulates at planet*.

My favorite thing about this book is that ingredients aren’t prefaced with ‘vegan’ (vegan butter, vegan milk, etc). It’s a vegan cookbook so when Shannon says butter she obviously means vegan butter and when she says milk she obviously means non-dairy milk. That’s just a level of duh I’m really into. She also gives you some very useful pointers as to what to look out for when buying ready-made products because so many products that sound like they may have meat in them no longer do (chicken stock cubes, for one, rarely contain chicken – at least in Australia).

One of the chapters is called Minimum Effort, Maximum Results and another has the byline Zero Waste, Maximum Taste and these are pretty much the rules I cook by so you can see why I have to recommend it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Joe Yonan – Cool Beans

I bought one of Joe Yonan‘s other books years ago, when he still included meat. He’s since committed to sharing meat free recipes only.

With Cool Beans, the title kind of speaks for itself. It made me realise beans are a great staple that I could be eating more of without it being a sad ‘tin of beans’ sort of affair. Cool Beans includes a whole bunch of classics (paella! hummus!) from the world over as well as some of Yonan’s own concoctions all with a bean-centric focus. He even includes some tips on how to avoid the notorious musical side effects of beans: farts. Apparently it helps if you cook them well, and this is just the book that’ll help you do it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Lagusta Yearwood – Sweet+Salty

I got Salty+Sweet: The Art of Vegan Chocolates, Truffles, Caramels and More by Lagusta Yearwood because Alicia Kennedy recommended it. In it, her famous Lagusta’s Luscious truffles and caramels feature prominently. If you’re good at coming up with funky flavors and adjusting recipes to your own needs (it me) this may feel a bit one-note when you first start reading it. I can come up with funky truffles perfectly fine on my own, thank you very much.

That said, Lagusta gives such great and in-depth information in the perils of shopping and producing ethically (sugar and cacao are a nightmare) and things get a little bit more exciting (for me at least) on the caramel end of things, which is why I’ve decided to include this here. I was talking about uncomfortable reading earlier: this book will make you uncomfortable. But then you get to make better decisions and make vegan chocolate truffles in exciting flavors (or come up with your own, I’ve got kimchi truffles on my mind for one), so it’s all good. Order at Bookshop.org in the US or in the UK.

Vegan Soul Food – Jason Tjon Affo

This is an honorable mention because Vegan Soul Food by Jason Tjon Affo isn’t actually available in English (yet). But it’s a beautiful vegan cookbook full of colorful photography ánd food, mostly inspired by Jason’s Surinamese roots. Which makes this an incredibly diverse cookbook, because Suriname contains multitudes.

My recipe for vegan kue lapis flavored monkey bread was based on Jason’s vegan monkey bread recipe from Vegan Soul Food, so there you go.

Nosh – Esther Erwteman

Nosh: Mijn Vegetarische Joodse Keuken (My Vegetarian Jewish Kitchen) is a lovely and beautiful book by Esther Erwteman who runs Amsterdam-based deli, cooking school and eatery (the former two when there’s no Covid going around) Esther’s Cookery. This is another honorable mention because it’s only available in Dutch right now.

In Nosh Esther interweaves her personal history with her Jewish faith, explaining why certain dishes are prepared and eaten at certain times as well as explaining how certain less obvious choices made it into her repertoire. If you live in Amsterdam be sure to help yourself and help Esther by visiting her shop and getting some good nosh, or if you’re not be sure to order some of her prime goodies in Esther’s Cookery webshop. I’ve gotten a really nice aubergine grill and some lovely harissa’s from her and she also offers workshops online.

Zaitoun – Yasmin Khan

Another honorable mention because strictly speaking Yasmin Khan‘s Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen is neither vegan nor vegetarian. That said, only 13 recipes in this book contain meat. These recipes can easily ignored in favor of all the veg based dishes in this book. The unique insights Zaitoun offers into the Palestinian kitchen and reality are another element of this book that cannot be ignored which is why I had to include it.

I’ve made the falafel and fennel pickle from this book. Both were simple and delicious, so if you’re into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors with a bit of back story this book is for you. Order in the US or in the UK.

Ed Smith – On The Side

I found On The Side in the discount isle at the American Book Center in The Hague. Intrigued by a book consisting of just sides, I bought it. This book has been my most trustworthy companion ever since. I don’t know why there aren’t more books on sides, though this might be the only one you’ll ever need.

Every recipe includes tips on what to combine them with or how to combine them with other recipes from the book to make a full meal. Furthermore there are not one but three (THREE!) indexes. You can browse based on your main protein, based on what veg you want to use or based on how much time you have. As such it served for the inspiration of the way I’ve set up my chapters and the additional vegan and vegetarian index for my book Nomnomnom.

I previously shared a peppercorn and lime rice recipe from On The Side. Order On the Side at Bookshop.org in the UK.

Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables

Sadly as it turns out Lucky Peach was not a happy place. And now as I read some of the older copies, I can tell it was all a lot more bro dudey than I can stomach (I’ll confess I was more bro dudey when I first read them too). Still, when I got my hands on my first Lucky Peach I fell in love hard because up until that point I didn’t know food writing like this existed.

Fast forward whatever years later and all I’m missing is #1. While the issues of the magazine are hard to get a hold of, most of the books are easy to find and out of all of them I think Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables might give you the most bang for your buck. The photography is amazing and the recipes are all accessible and easy to follow, with LOADS of flavor. Vegan too.

In general I find vegetarian cookbooks lean a little too heavily on cheese (and I love cheese, just not for every meal) while vegan cookbooks are just diet books in disguise. Power Veg is just a good old cookbook that leaves you feeling hungry and ready to wield some veg.

You can find some recipes from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables here.

That’s my roundup for vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, I hope the scope is wide enough to have something in the list for you. Be sure to order from your local bookstore!

Zoek je deze kookboekentips in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor 13 van mijn favoriete vegan- en vegakookboeken.

Gaeng Penang Tua Lima

Originally I was going to reshoot and post tofu scramble chilaquiles, but I always struggle with making proper mole here because tomatillos are so hard to come by. Also… while I love tofu, scrambled tofu just isn’t really it for me.

Rosa’s Thai Café – The Vegetarian Cookbook by Saiphin Moore

Then I was reading Rosa’s Thai Café – The Vegetarian Cookbook and spotted this recipe for vegan gaeng penang tua lima (lima or butter bean panang, I refuse to use the word ‘curry’ for all Asian stews) and I knew I had to have it. Because out of all the beans, the butter bean is my favorite.

Hot & Bothered serendipity

I was however (and will probably always be) still hung up on chilaquiles. Because nachos. Pondering these decisions during one of my morning walks, I started thinking of chilaquiles mash-ups: laksa chilaquiles,  mohinga chilaquiles and finally gaeng penang tua lima chilaquiles. But I let it go because it seemed like maybe this was too much of a stretch.

Later in the day my friend in Thailand contacted me. They’re working on a new project. Hot & Bothered Vegan Thai, a vegan newsletter on Thai food and (food) politics, in Thai and English. In it they plan to go over various regional foods while also sharing veganized recipes for classic Thai dishes. You should really sign up.

And as we were talking, we serendipitously shouted: “PANANG CHILAQUILES” at each other across the globe (no lie). And so I decided, this is okay. Though of course you can have this butter bean panang with rice as well. I don’t know why Asian and Latin American food fuse so well. From now classic Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, to my beloved Mexican-Korean mash-up from LA, but it does. So here we are.

Ko Thai to the rescue

I was very happy to find an accidentally vegan panang-paste by Ko Thai at our biggest supermarket chain, if you choose to go with a ready-made paste, but be sure to check the contents extensively. As my friends of the Hot & Bothered newsletter started their project in the first place because vegan ready-made pastes can be very hard to find.

The Rosa’s Thai Café recipe below also includes instructions on how to make your own panang-paste. I made my panang with cashews, as you can see in the pictures, but the original recipe calls for peanuts and I suggest that unless you have an intense dislike for peanuts like I do, you follow Saiphin’s lead.

If you are in the UK you can order Rosa’s Thai Cafe: The Vegetarian Cookbook here.

A teal cast iron pan filled with nachos and lima bean penang, covered with a sprinkling of cilantro, chilies and cashews sat on an orange backdrop. At the top of the image there is a hint of a plate with some food on it.

Gaeng Penang Tua Lima (Vegan Butter Bean Panang)

Dorothy Porker
This recipe for gaeng penang tua lima (vegan butter bean panang) from Rosa's Thai Café is quick, easy and incredibly moorish. Turn them into chilaquiles for an exciting nacho-twist or have it with rice like a normal.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Soaking the chilies (when making panang-paste from scratch) 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Main course
Cuisine Mexican, Thai, Vegan
Servings 1 - 2 people


  • Small bowl (for soaking chilies, if making paste from scratch)
  • Pestle and mortar or small food processor (if making paste from scratch)
  • Wok or large frying pan (x2 if making chilaquiles)
  • Kitchen towel (if making chilaquiles)


To make the panang-paste (ready-made also works, but double-check to ensure it's vegan)

  • 6 dried chilies deseeded and soaked for 30 mins
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 g salt
  • 4 stalks lemongrass white core thinly sliced
  • 1" - 2.5 cm galengal* finely grated
  • 1 makrut lime leaf finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch coriander root or stalks
  • 5 shallots sliced
  • 6 black peppercorns

To make panang chilaquiles (or have with white rice)

  • 4 T - 60 ml neutral oil I use sunflower
  • 3 corn tortillas** cut into nacho-shaped triangles
  • pinch salt

To make the gaeng penang tua lima

  • 2 T - 30 ml neutral oil I use sunflower
  • 1 T - 20 g panang-paste heaped, home-made or store-bought
  • 1 1/4 c - 300 ml coconut milk
  • 1 T - 15 g palm sugar I use gula jawa
  • 2 T - 30 ml soy sauce light is preferred if you have it
  • 2 T - 30 g peanuts roasted and crushed, or use cashews
  • 1" - 2.5 cm galengal* thinly sliced
  • 3 makrut lime leaves thinly sliced
  • 8 1/4 oz - 235 g butter beans this is roughly one can, drained and rinsed

To serve

  • 1 red chili thinly sliced
  • a few makrut lime or sweet basil leaves*** thinly sliced
  • 1 T - 15 g peanuts roasted and crushed, or use cashews


Make the panang-paste (or use store-bought)

  • Finely grind together 6 dried chilies that you've deseeded and soaked for 30 minutes and then drained with 1/2 t - 2.5 g of salt using a pestle and mortar or a small food processor.
  • Add the thinly sliced white core of 4 stalks of lemon grass, 1"- 2.5 cm of sliced galengal root, 1 finely sliced makrut leaf, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 small bunch of finely sliced coriander root or stalks, 5 sliced shallots and 6 black peppercorns and grind or blend to a fine paste.

If making chilaquiles

  • Heat 4 T - 60 ml of oil in a frying pan and fry 3 corn tortillas cut into triangles until golden and crisp. Drain on some kitchen towels and sprinkle enthusiastically with salt, before setting aside.

Make gaeng penang tua lima (butter bean panang)

  • Heat 2 T - 30 ml of oil in a wok or frying pan.
  • Once the oil is hot, add 1 heaped T of panang-paste and stir until fragrant. This should take 30 seconds or so.
  • Keep stirring while pouring in 1 1/4 c - 300 ml of coconut milk.
  • Once the coconut milk and paste have properly mixed, add in 2 T - 30 ml or g of soy sauce, palm sugar and roasted and crushed peanuts each with 1 T - 15 g of thinly sliced galengal. Keep stirring for 2 minutes or so, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in 3 finely sliced makrut lime leaves and finally add 8 1/4 oz - 235 g of drained and rinsed butterbeans.
  • Let everything bubble away gently for 5 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened and serve with white rice, thinly sliced chili and makrut or sweet basil leaves and 1 T - 15 g of roasted and crushed peanuts.

Make the chilaquiles

  • First off: make sure you are very ready to eat because you want to eat this while the nachos are crisp and only starting to soak up the liquids from the panang.
  • Quickly but gently scoop your nachos through the gaeng penang tua lima, so everything is evenly coated. Top with the thinly sliced chili and makrut or sweet basil leaves and 1 T - 15 g of roasted and crushed peanuts and serve immediately


Home-made panang-paste will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for roughly 2 weeks. 
As long as you have not made chilaquiles with them gaeng penang tua lima will keep and reheat well the next day. 
* Saiphin uses greater galengal in the panang-paste and lesser galangel in the gaeng penang tua lima, as far as I am aware they only sell one type of galengal here so that's what I used
** I find chilaquiles do not work with store-bought nachos, but this may be due to the quality of ready-made nachos we have available in the Netherlands (it's Doritos)
*** In the photo I've used coriander because both fresh makrut lime leaves and sweet basil are hard to come by here 
Keyword butter beans, lima beans, panang, rosa's thai, rosa's thai cafe, thai food, vegan thai

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor gaeng penang tua lima (vegan limabonen panang).