28 June 2010

Worth the Pain

During my last trip to East Bay, my sister and I stopped by Flacos' teeny-tiny storefront in Berkeley for a late lunch.  It was another of my sister's fruitful, Yelp-induced ideas.  The restaurant location happened to be the building previously occupied by an Ital restaurant we once visited--the occasion marking the first time my sister took me to a completely vegan eating establishment.  We enjoyed the food then, and now with a vegan Mexican restaurant in its place, we hoped that we would have a similarly positive dining experience.

And that we did.  My sister ordered some faux shredded chicken tacos topped with habanero sauce and served with brown rice and refried beans, while I ordered the posole, a spicy soup traditionally made with hominy and some type of meat (but sans animal presence at this restaurant).  After trying each other's dishes and proceeding to nosh hungrily on our own, my sister and I both agreed that the food was pretty scrumptious.  Each dish was fairly spicy, but still incredibly flavorful.  The posole was a delicious new experience for me and good enough for my omnivorous sister to proclaim it as tastier than any non-veg versions she had ever eaten.  How awesome is that?  The only thing that slightly marred the experience--mind you, it certainly didn't ruin the fact that the food was really good--was knowing full well that all of that spice and oil would wreak havoc on my stomach (which it later did); I used to suffer pain associated with gastritis that is still occasionally problematic when I eat particularly spicy or greasy food.  I still usually opt to suffer just to satisfy my taste buds, as demonstrated by my penchant for dousing practically anything savory with hot sauce.  "No pain, no gain," right?
Over the weekend, my family held another barbecue-oriented gathering to honor a visit my an out-of-town relative.  When grocery shopping for supplies, I noticed giant cans of cooked white hominy and was immediately reminded of that killer (in the best way possible) posole.  Rather than taking the pasta salad route as previously considered, I bought one of those monstrous cans of hominy with the new goal of recreating a vegan version of posole that I hoped would be as tasty as (if not at least close to) the one from Flacos.  I tried to make it a little less spicy, just because my family can only handle so much heat and I like to think that I put whatever I've learned from past experiences (e.g., the agony of too much awesomely spicy soup) to good use.  Admittedly, my posole is likely not very authentic and probably can't compare to the one from Flacos, but it still has good flavor and kick.


Vegan Posole (printable recipe)
Yields 6 large servings


1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (or leave seeds in for more heat)
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 c (40 oz) canned hominy, drained
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (depending on how much heat you desire/can handle)
2 tsp oil
1/2 c tomato sauce
4 c vegetable broth (preferably low-sodium)
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 lime (approximately 2 T)
Salt, to taste
Condiments: shredded cabbage, sliced onion, sliced radish


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low flame.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent.  Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook for a few more minutes.  Stir in the spices, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth, and bring it to a boil over medium heat.  Add the hominy, cover, reduce the heat to low, and allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Taste for salt, adding more if necessary.  Serve hot with a sprinkling of shredded cabbage, sliced onion, and sliced radish.


Keep in mind that you can always adjust the spice to fit your level of heat tolerance by starting off with just a portion of the jalapeno and chipotle called for, then increasing the amount if necessary.  And remember that this makes a rather large batch; feel free to scale it down to feed a smaller crowd.  Enjoy!

6 comments:

  1. Yum, this looks like a great recipe- thanks for sharing! We love vegan Mexican food and lots of spice! :)

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  2. Thanks! I've never had posole, and I would love to try a vegan Mexican restaurant! My attempts at Mexican food don't even come close :-(

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  3. Great blog! I really like your buckwheat recipe down there as well as the Shortcut Suman. I make mochi all the time. My husband LOVES mochi. I am following your blog now :) Check mine out when you can!

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  4. I only had posole for the first time about a month ago, and liked it, but still don't really know what to do with it. Thanks for this idea, it sounds like a tasty option!

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  5. Thanks! I've never had posole, and I would love to try a vegan Mexican restaurant! My attempts at Mexican food don't even come close :-(

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  6. I only had posole for the first time about a month ago, and liked it, but still don't really know what to do with it. Thanks for this idea, it sounds like a tasty option!

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)