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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #105

Updated on October 6, 2019
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

I Wouldn't Have Lasted 5 Minutes

A few weeks ago my family and I took a much-needed vacation to the State of Oregon. One of our stops along the way was a visit to the history museum in the city of Bend.

The building that houses the museum was originally the school for the region. One of the exhibit rooms still has in it the old potbelly stove, a teacher's desk, student desks, slates, and books. And, there was this notice posted near the entryway:

Which Just Goes to Prove That . . .

God puts us exactly where we need to be, at the proper time and place. (Mine certainly was not 104 years ago in a brick school in central Oregon.)

I'm much more effective wearing a tee shirt and blue jeans and answering your questions about food. Let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Vegan "Egg" Salad Sandwich Recipe

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to construct a good sandwich. Denise McGill (you know her as Paintdrips) left this comment:

This is good information. I make some vegan egg salad with chickpeas but it is so mushy it squishes out of the bread. I hate that. I must be using the wrong bread.

Denise, I have a pretty good faux tuna salad but I've never attempted egg salad. Would you like me to experiment with that? I'll ask my younger daughter too.

Yes, thank you. That would be so helpful. I have one with medium tofu and one with chickpeas but both and too squishy to put in a sandwich. I like the flavor but hate that it's so loose that I can't keep it between slices of bread. Thanks.


So I donned my super-sleuth hat and found what I think will be the perfect recipe for Denise. The creator of this vegan egg salad uses tofu, but a very specific type of tofu. Make sure to use medium—not silken, not firm, and certainly not extra-firm. You want a block of tofu that will have the same feel as the white of a hard-cooked egg.

There's another secret too. As one might expect, if you combine tofu and homemade vegan mayonnaise and toss in some turmeric for color, you'll have something that certainly looks like egg salad, but it will still taste like nothing more than tofu with mayo. Ugh! The secret to getting that eggy taste is black salt, also known as Kala Namak; it has a sulfur-like taste just like cooked eggs. What a deal!

You should be able to find Kala Namak at your local Asian market or (if all else fails) on the internet from the nameless world-known biggest retailer on the planet. (By the way, black salt isn't really black.)

And then, I received a question from Mary Wickison (Blond Logic).

British Condiments

While we are on the pickle relish subject, in the UK they had two mainly that I used to eat, Piccalilli and Branston pickle. Do you have any copy cat recipes for these? One was a mustard base and the other was brown (no idea what made it brown).

Picalilli | Source

Hoo boy, I had to dig deep into the archives for these.

Branston is a chutney of veggies with tomato, vinegar, and dates. I’m betting that long ago they used tamarind instead of dates. The first link provides a recipe that uses ingredients that most people have in their pantries—the author says it tastes just like Branston, but I have my doubts since there is no cauliflower, no dates, she used dried cranberries and even tossed in some Dijon. I think the next one (No. 2) is closer to the real deal. By the way, I’m pretty sure that the brown hue comes from the tamarind.

Piccalilli has many of the same components of Branston but is the puckery version. The yellow color, of course, is from turmeric. This recipe from the BBC is about as authentic as they come.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.


Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum


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