Only the best and most cherished restaurants leave an impact on their visitors. Sometimes it is simply a sensation or emotion, drawn from the walls or from the energetic and knowledgeable servers. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can be left with an impact that comes straight from the food itself.
I am definitely not a difficult restaurant-goer, but I certainly find myself remembering the atmosphere of a great restaurant more than yearning for the menu. I think this is because of the challenge for restauranteurs to be original while also reaching our impeccable service expectations. And if they do reach both goals, it is so exhausting they charge abominable prices to keep it up. Unfortunately, like most of us, I do not have bottomless pockets so those restaurants are reserved for special occasions.
But oddly enough there are a few places that draws me back again and again for one specific menu item. Aux Vivres, a vegan restaurant in Montreal, has left me with a longing for their dragon sauce. Why, you ask? Because it is damn delicious and nearly impossible to replicate at home.
I love their dragon sauce. It is slightly nutty, perfectly sweet and salty, and makes raw vegetables nearly the best thing you have ever munched on. And their recipe is a secret. Sure, you can buy the sauce by the bottle in their take-out window. But where’s the fun in that?!
So I decided to do my research and test out proclaimed “replicas” of their dragon sauce. And although I still haven’t found the exact proportions, I’ve gotten really close. And you know what? I love it even more because it is deliciously homemade.
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 4-5 tbsp warm water
- Mix together all the ingredients together except the water. Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, fully mixing after each addition. Add water until you reach the desired consistency: it should be easy to drizzle but now too watery you will end up with soup.
- Make a bowl using a grain, a protein, and veggies (I like using grated raw vegetables). Top your concoction with green onions, chili peppers, and Dragon Sauce!
The pictured bowl has brown rice, marinated tofu (marinated in soy sauce, orange juice, chili flakes and salt), shredded beets, shredded carrots, chopped endives, and green onions. I also sprinkled on some chili flakes for a little kick! And, of course, Dragon Sauce!