Jeeca (short for Jessica) Uy is an avid home cook and the creator of the popular vegan food blog, The Foodie Takes Flight. She started her blog in 2015 when she decided to go vegan. “This was after watching the documentary called Earthlings and I realized that I no longer wanted to contribute to the cruelty towards animals,” says Jeeca. “I eventually learned of the environmental impact of our diets on this planet, and that has made me more conscious of my day-to-day choices starting from the food I consume and products I purchase.”
In her new cookbook, Vegan Asian (Page Street, 2021), Jeeca transforms traditional Southeast and East Asian cuisine into spectacular vegan renditions that are bursting with flavor. She has also packed her book with tips and tricks to guide any cook, vegan or not, on how best to work with tofu, how to fold dumplings, how to make vegan versions of essential sauces and so much more. Born and raised in the Philippines, she currently and lives in Metro Manila.
Jeeca Uy’s Char Siu Tofu
1. My go-to type of tofu is extra-firm because it’s the easiest to store and cook with. It’s also the “meatiest” in terms of texture because it’s much more compact compared to the other types of tofu.
2. If you’re using store-bought vegan fish sauce, start with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) or use soy sauce, since store-bought vegan fish sauce can be much saltier.
3. You can replace tamarind puree with a mix of 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of fresh lime juice and 2 tablespoons (28 g) of coconut sugar or palm sugar.