Mark Reinfeld, Taste of Asia


Mark Reinfeld is founding chef of the celebrated Blossoming Lotus restaurant. His Vegan Fusion World Cuisine won a Gourmand Award for Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA. He lives in Kaua’i, Hawaii.


Caryn Hartglass: Hi there, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Good to be back, I was gone for a few weeks and I missed talking about my favorite subject so we’re going to make up for it today. This is a call in show, you can call in at 1-888-874-4888, and if you have comments and you’re not ready to call in you can leave me an email any time during the week at

Okay, another delicious show today. We have the author of some wonderful cookbooks and we’re going to be talking about them today, Mark Reinfeld. He’s the recipient of the 2006 Platinum Carrot Award for for Living Foods. He’s the founding chef of Blossoming Lotus restaurant, winner of Honolulu advertiser’s 2006 “Ilima Award for Best Restaurant on Kaua’i” and he’s co-authored the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, and that has a forward by Dr. Jane Goodall, and this book won nine national awards. He’s also the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw, and there’s a new cookbook out, and we’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about it, The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East: Asian-inspired recipes. Mark, welcome to It’s All About Food.

Mark Reinfeld: Hey Caryn, thanks for having me!

Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome! Did I pronounce this Honolulu advertiser’s award incorrectly?

Mark Reinfeld: It’s called the Ilima award, you came really close!

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, okay, I couldn’t tell, it looked like two long lines and one’s an “I” and ones an “L”. Okay!

Mark Reinfeld: Yup, you came really close!

Caryn Hartglass: Well, congratulations!

Mark Reinfeld: Thank you!

Caryn Hartglass: Now I’m a little hesitant to start this show because I only had an early breakfast and I haven’t eaten all day and reading a lot of these recipes and talking about them when you’re hungry is very very dangerous because there’s so many yummy things in here that I want to eat right now.

Mark Reinfeld: Well we’ll get you ready for lunch!

Caryn Hartglass: And it only takes 30 minutes to make most of these recipes!

Mark Reinfeld: Yup, that’s true!

Caryn Hartglass: Okay let’s back up a little bit.

Mark Reinfeld: Okay.

Caryn Hartglass: What got you into creating all of these wonderful recipes, and starting your restaurant, and writing all these books? Is that a loaded question?

Mark Reinfeld: Well it’s interesting I actually went to NYU Law School for a semester and that was the direction my life was heading and after the first semester I realized that wasn’t the direction I wanted my life to head in. So I left law school and I headed out west and reconnected with my passion for cooking that I had as a child and started working in the kitchen of a natural food store in San Diego and just started experimenting in the kitchen and just getting really creative. Eventually I wound up branching off on my own, offering consulting services, chef training, menu and recipe development, and found my way. Made my way out to Kaua’i and met up with a bunch of people and we used most of my recipes to form the base of the restaurant here, The Blossoming Lotus. And the restaurant led to the cookbook creation and the latest evolution is now I’ve been offering trainings and workshops.

Caryn Hartglass: When did you open that restaurant?

Mark Reinfeld: The restaurant on Kaua’i was opened about 8 years ago and then we closed it at the end of 2008 for the economy. And there is The Blossoming Lotus in Portland, Oregon for those who miss the restaurant here on Kaua’i.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmm, are you a part of that one?

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah! The co-author of the first book The Vegan Fusion book is the main owner of that restaurant there.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well I’m sorry I missed your restaurant on Kaua’i because Kaua’i is a pretty perfect place and with that restaurant it was probably perfect.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it was definitely a magical experience.

Caryn Hartglass: And I heard lots of wonderful things about it.

Mark Reinfeld: Well it lives on through the cookbooks and the trainings that I offer and also the location in Portland.

Caryn Hartglass: And I don’t think the law community really, how do I want to put this, let’s just say it’s our stomachs gain and the law community’s loss to have you making food. Okay, so you have this new cookbook out called Taste of the East and I don’t think there’s anything quite like it. There are lots of wonderful vegan cookbooks out, and I have a lot of them, but I haven’t seen anyone, maybe I’ve missed them, but the fact that it focuses on all these different Asian cuisines rather than just one or two Asian dishes is really unique.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah, we’re really happy with this one. It’s a follow-up to a book we did last year called The 30 Minute Vegan and that was an eclectic blend of recipes, kind of trans-cultural recipes, and with this book we wanted to focus on one of our favorite cuisines which is Asian cuisine. And so the book has five sections, the first four sections each focus on a major ethnic cuisines, there’s a section on China, a section on Thailand, one on India, and then we have Japan is the fourth main section, and then the fifth section is an Asian fusion and in that we have a sampling of recipes from Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and when researching the book if you research Asian cuisine most people don’t think of central Asian cuisine so we threw in some recipes from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan just to kind of broaden the range of Asian cuisine.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s great and I want to talk about a lot of the recipes but first I just want to talk about the title, The 30 Minute Vegan. Now I know most people, one reason they stay out of the kitchen is because they think it’s going to take too long. Another reason is a lot of us have seemed to have lost some knowledge, inborn knowledge, to prepare food. And so people are really lost in the kitchen and so I imagine a title that is attractive is to let them know it’s not going to take them a long time.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that was definitely the main motivation is we found when cooking on our own we tend to do the quick and easy method, and so for the last few years we’ve really been focusing on that using less ingredients with maximum flavor in the quickest amount of time just to fit into a busy lifestyle and people can realize you don’t have to compromise your health and can still fit things in on a busy schedule.

Caryn Hartglass: Well there are clearly lots of wonderful tastes and flavors in here and we’re going to touch on a lot of them but something I think people have to realize, in order to make things quick and easy in the kitchen they’ve got to do some homework, they have to be prepared, they have to have a little organization going on in the kitchen, and make sure that they read the recipes in advance, have a shopping list, make sure they have all the necessary ingredients, and then when the kitchen’s ready to go, then preparing food can be pretty easy….and…. Oh okay I think we’ve lost our guest and he’s going to be back in a minute and while we’re waiting for him I just want to talk about this book because some of my favorite cuisines are Asian cuisine. I love Chinese food, Japanese food, Thai food, and Indian food but I’d never really seen a book that had the recipes for the dishes that I loved in restaurants. And one thing I like about the ability to make these things at home is you can really cater them to your own taste. Myself in particular… Are you back with us Mark?

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah I’m here!

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, we missed you! I was just talking about how one of the reasons I like to make meals at home is because I can customize them myself, I really don’t like salt in my food or very much salt but I love Chinese food, I love Indian food, I love Japanese food, and I find when I go to restaurants that have these foods, and fortunately I live in Manhattan where we have vegan restaurants for all of these cuisines, I always come home and I can’t drink enough water because the food was so salty.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah we emphasize that, one of our main things is to help people not feel constrained by the recipe itself but to let them spark their own creative process so that they can develop their own preferences and feel a growing confidence in their ability to adapt recipes to what their favorite flavors are.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, so what we were talking about before you disappeared for a brief moment was being organized and having the kitchen set up, and you do a pretty good job of explaining what’s necessary and I like the way you’ve broken the book up into the different countries’ cuisines and the special ingredients that are necessary for each category.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it’s like anything that you want to delve into, you just start fluidly and you just start building your base of your pantry. You don’t have to go out and get everything all at once but just start slowly adding specialty ingredients that are helpful in vegan cuisine. There are certain ingredients that really add a lot of flavor and they have a lot of different uses in different recipes and once you start building your pantry it just keeps expanding your ability to create different dishes.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so when I meet a lot of people it’s like a repeat over and over and over and over, I just can’t believe how many people are not aware of all the phenomenal things they can do with healthy plant food. It blows me away, it really does! And you know I keep thinking that as a species we’re evolving and then I go to another party and talk to some other people who look at me like a deer in headlights when I talk about so many different aspects of a healthy plant-based diet.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah… and that’s where you get your protein…

Caryn Hartglass: Oh gosh!

Mark Reinfeld: Things like that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I just don’t know! So here is one great book and let’s start talking about some of the yummy things that are in here, so you start with the cuisine of India, and here in Manhattan we have several areas in the city that are just loaded with Indian restaurants and many of them make vegan food so I’m pretty fortunate but I do like the idea of making it myself because very often the Indian food I find isn’t as fresh as I would like it to be.

Mark Reinfeld: Right. Yeah, and could have the tendency to be a little on the oily side as well.

Caryn Hartglass: Oily, salty, and not so fresh, but when I’ve had it fresh it’s just phenomenal.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah, well we do focus on healthy whenever possible. We do have some indulgence recipes in there but we do focus on like minimizing the use of heated oils and all of the ingredients we recommend organic, locally-grown whenever possible so there is an emphasis you can create the similar textures of all the ethnic dishes and still have the local healthy spin on it.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now one of the secrets to preparing Indian food is taking the spices first and sort of toasting them or sautéing them in the oil to bring out the flavor…

Mark Reinfeld: Mm, yes!

Caryn Hartglass: …and I notice you do that in most of your recipes. And what I’m trying to do is pick out the unique things of each cuisine that really bring out its unique flavors and that to me seems to be an important point.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that’s a really easy tip and trick about just toasting spices before you add them to the dish, especially one of my favorites is cumin and you can even do it with the ground cumin as well as the whole seed. The culinary aromatherapy is pretty strong with the cumin.

Caryn Hartglass: Now the question is, I say its cue-men, should I be saying its coo-men or do both go?

Mark Reinfeld: I think I’ve heard it both ways…

Caryn Hartglass: Haha, I mean I don’t know! I really need to check on that one, I think coo-men sounds cooler. And the wonderful thing about many of the Indian spices is how healthy they are.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah they have especially digestive aides as well.

Caryn Hartglass: Well turmeric, or however you want to pronounce it, has a lot of anti-cancer fighting properties and does all kinds of wonderful things, it’s an amazing spice.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah, it actually grows locally here in Hawaii so if you have the chance to try fresh turmeric also I highly recommend it.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, yeah I’ve seen it but I have not had it fresh. Now one thing I like about talking to people on this show is I usually tend to learn one or two things and so the one ingredient that I am not familiar with in your list of the Asian pantry is the first item, and I’m not sure how to pronounce it, Asafetida?

Mark Reinfeld: That is a, yes asafetida, it’s also called hing, and it has a somewhat unpleasant taste when it’s uncooked and when you cook it in dishes that impart onion and garlicky flavor, and I’m not sure if you’re familiar but certain like Krishnas don’t eat onion and garlic, some groups that don’t eat that they use the asafetida instead to create that flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmm, I’m going to have to look for that one. So the other things that you talk about that are in the Asian pantry are chutney, curry leaves, curry powder, dal, garam masala, masala tamarind, and a bunch of other spices. Fortunately in Manhattan we have wonderful shops where you can get all of these and get them in lots of wonderful varieties, but if people can’t you have some website links at the back where they can order specialty foods?

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, and again it’s just recommended if you really want to dive into the cuisine we recommend investing a little in different spices and ingredients that give it more of an authentic flare.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so I think my favorite in this Indian section is the Tofu Tikka Masala.

Mark Reinfeld: I used to as a non-vegetarian chicken tikka masala was one of my favorite Indian foods so I was happy to make the tofu tikka.

Caryn Hartglass: Well I’ve never seen it, the vegetarian version of it, and my mouth waters whenever I hear about the tikka masala but I don’t eat it because I’ve been a vegan for forever so this is really a wonderful alternative.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that’s one of my favorite recipes in the book.

Caryn Hartglass: The sauce has coconut milk, vegan yogurt, tomato paste, lemon juice, cardamom, cinnamon, a little salt, and fresh cilantro… yum!

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah, I like the cardamom, cinnamon, combination is one of my favorite spice combos also.

Caryn Hartglass: And then another thing that’s difficult to get in an Indian restaurant, even if they have vegan food and many of them do, are the milk or yogurt-based items and drinks like the lassi. And you’ve got a number of great recipes here for a mango is it la-see or lah-si? I don’t even know…

Mark Reinfeld: Las-ee.

Caryn Hartglass: So simple and so yummy, mangos, coconut milk yogurt, which you can make yourself or purchase. It’s uh, what’s the brand, I’ve seen it more and more…

Mark Reinfeld: So Delicious?

Caryn Hartglass: Right, they’re making these coconut-based milks and yogurts.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, and they are so delicious.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my God, So Delicious. Yeah so there’s the mango lassi and the vanilla cardamom rose lassi, yummy! Oh my God this is so dangerous right now.

Mark Reinfeld: Jennifer developed, the co-author Jennifer Murray, developed those recipes and they’re definitely a great way to end or start the meal.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so now jumping over to Thailand, now you visited all of these countries? Before you…? Or some of them…?

Mark Reinfeld: I visited India, Nepal, and those are the two countries that I’ve visited and Jennifer’s been to Thailand and China.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay now Thai cuisine, I love it, and for vegetarians the big challenge is the secret fish sauce that’s always snuck in.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, yes, that distinct flavor that’s unidentifiable from the plant-based perspective.

Caryn Hartglass: And unfortunately many Thai restaurants that say they have vegetarian dishes still use the fish sauce.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, I always remember to, even if it says vegetarian, to request it without the fish sauce.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, and sometimes you have to get their attention and tell them that you’re going to die if you have it, unfortunately! So the Asian pantry, your list consists of coconut milk, can’t do without that, and you have a wonderful recipe for a fish-free sauce. The Thai ginger called galangal, that I haven’t tried and I really need to do that.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that one’s great and the kaffir lime leaves that are a big one and the lemon grass also are two great ingredients to have on hand if you want to go into the Thai cuisine.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. I have a lot of lemon grass but I don’t have these other things. Now green papaya, can you talk about what green papaya is? There’s very often in Thai restaurants they have green papaya salad.

Mark Reinfeld: Basically it’s an immature papaya compared to an un-ripened one and so it doesn’t have the sweetness that a ripe papaya would have and also the color is usually like a light green and it’s firmer.

Caryn Hartglass: So is it green first immature and then it’s unripe and then it’s ripe?

Mark Reinfeld: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, yeah I always wondered about where the green papaya part of it, but it has a lot of great nutrition.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, it’s especially good as a digestive aid.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah it is good in salad, I’ve had it.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it’s a nice dish to have on the side that can help with digestion and the papaya seeds also have a little nice spicy kick to them.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now let’s talk about papaya seeds if you don’t mind.

Mark Reinfeld: Sure.

Caryn Hartglass: Now somebody once asked me if you could eat the papaya seeds and the one time I tried it it was very bitter and not something I wanted to eat, is it different with the green papaya?

Mark Reinfeld: The seeds are bitter and spicy and you wouldn’t want to eat too many of them, and also an interesting tidbit is they could have a slightly abortive effect also so definitely if you’re expecting or pregnant you wouldn’t want to have them.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah someone had said they had some nasty properties but you think it’s an interesting spicy flavor?

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah like papaya seed dressing is nice to have and also it’s good for digestion as well.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well that’s good to know. I didn’t notice, is there a papaya seed dressing recipe in here?

Mark Reinfeld: We have that in our first book, the papaya seed dressing.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay I’m going to have to check that one out.

Mark Reinfeld: That’s called The Vegan Fusion World Cuisine.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, you know I don’t have that one and I need to get it.

Mark Reinfeld: That was the original.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so one of my favorite soups is the Tom Kha, and you have a great recipe for that.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And you know there’s really no need, I think, to have it any other way. You know you don’t need shrimp in here, you don’t need fish in here, it’s just bursting with flavor as it is!

Mark Reinfeld: Yup, I think that’s what you’ll find if you make the recipes in our book, that they kind of are meals onto themselves.

Caryn Hartglass: And this is with vegetable stock, lemon grass, coconut milk, fresh ginger, the kaffir lime leaves or lime zest, and then your choice of assorted vegetables like carrots, zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, yellow onion, green or red chilies, some lime, Braggs Aminos, some salt, cilantro, Napa cabbage, and mung bean sprouts. It’s really nutritious and that coconut milk, ginger, and the chilies just… wow!

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah you can’t go wrong with it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yummy! Oh my God I’m going to have to… okay, stay calm. Now another great recipe that I like is the lettuce wraps, tempeh lettuce wraps.

Mark Reinfeld: That’s just the general concept of having a wrap and a dipping sauce and so you can vary what you put in the wrap and also what you dip it in and so that recipe uses a tempeh which is a soy product to give a filling quality to the wrap.

Caryn Hartglass: Well this is such a great thing because it can be a finger food or you could even have it on the go if you prepare the center, the fixings, or the tempeh you can put that in a container and bring the leaves and then wherever you are you fill them up and…

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it’s a great picnic or potluck dish as well for those reasons.

Caryn Hartglass: And for people that want to avoid bread and flour foods this is such a great way to go.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it’s just altering your perspective on preparing food to use the vegetable as the wrap.

Caryn Hartglass: Now that’s something that probably lends itself very well in the raw food community, but I don’t want to talk raw yet, haha. Now a lot of the Thai restaurants they offer curry, green curries and red curries, but I imagine that most of them have that fish sauce in it, is that true?

Mark Reinfeld: You could request them to make it without it and depending on the place I’m sure they would do that because I always make sure to request the no fish sauce.

Caryn Hartglass: Right because I think some of them make a lot of it in advance.

Mark Reinfeld: That’s true, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and that’s the challenge. Okay well if you like red and green curries, you get this book and you make it yourself and it’s fabulous and vegan and healthy.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah there are actually eight different curry recipes in the book, so for the curry connoisseurs among us there’s a lot of experimenting to do.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah and I didn’t know until I read this book what the difference was between the different kinds of curries, and now I realize… ah what’s the name of the one I’m looking for that starts with “n”, not the phanang the other one…I’m looking in the book, okay…where is it, I’m going to have to forget about it…

Mark Reinfeld: Was it massaman?

Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah, the massaman! And I never realized what it was that was different but it seems it has cumin in it and the other curries don’t?

Mark Reinfeld: It has the star anise is in it and coriander and cardamom…

Caryn Hartglass: It’s a more complicated curry.

Mark Reinfeld: …cinnamon. It’s a little on the sweeter side too.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm, so good. And the last thing in this section that I love is tapioca pudding with coconut milk.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes that’s the coconut milk; again the coconut milk sugar combo is also, you can’t really go wrong with that.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know what? Some would say its like mother’s milk; hat sweet coconut milk, and that’s why we like it so much.

Mark Reinfeld: Could be!

Caryn Hartglass: But I have a question and in this tapioca pudding recipe you say that you need to soak the tapioca for about an hour.

Mark Reinfeld: Mm.

Caryn Hartglass: And I’m wondering why that is and I’m wondering if the problem that I’ve had with making tapioca pudding before was because I didn’t soak the tapioca for an hour before.

Mark Reinfeld: It just helps with the texture of it and for the overall final product of the dish.

Caryn Hartglass: Because I found that when I would just cook coconut milk and tapioca it never really got very thick, and maybe soaking it would help that.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah soaking definitely helps.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well I’m going to run home and do that because this is such a great desert! Okay I think we’re going to take a very quick break, Mark don’t go away, and I’ll get back to the rest of this.

Mark Reinfeld: Wonderful, thank you!


Caryn Hartglass: Hi I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food, the call in number is 1-888-874-4888, and this is a mouthwatering show today we’re talking with Mark Reinfeld, the author of the new cookbook 30 Minute Vegan: Taste of the East; actually the co-author because it’s along with Jennifer Murray. But we’ve got Mark with us today, Mark? You’re still with us?

Mark Reinfeld: I’m still here, great to be here!

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, great! I’m thumbing through the rest of this book, a few of the recipes I wanted to bring up that are really interesting to me. Now I go nuts over scallion pancakes and you’ve got a couple of different pancakes in here that are along those lines. There’s in the Chinese section, oh where did it go, did you call it hotcakes or something?

Mark Reinfeld: Korean onion hotcakes.

Caryn Hartglass: Onion hotcakes. And then another version is the Vietnamese happy pancakes made with brown rice flour and I really like that especially for the people that can’t have any gluten, this is a great gluten-free alternative because it’s made with rice flour.

Mark Reinfeld: And the dipping sauce for that is great also, the nuoc cham on the following page.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh right, there it is nuoc cham, which can be soy sauce or tamari or Braggs amino acids, rice vinegar, water, lime juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and what I love about this recipe, something that I wanted to talk about in general, is making your own is so much better because the ones that are available out there that are pre-made, read the ingredients, they’re scary!

Mark Reinfeld: Yes. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient generally I tend to avoid the product.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah it’s really unfortunate because these are wonderful sauces that give so much flavor, some of them are spicy, some of them aren’t, but they’re always loaded with these horrible preservatives.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah. Yup, and your body will let you know about it too.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah and here it is. It’s so simple and it’s such a great sauce made with all healthy, delicious, fresh ingredients and it’s not hard to make.

Mark Reinfeld: Yup!

Caryn Hartglass: Yummy!

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah the beauty is in the simplicity of it.

Caryn Hartglass: And I mean in general I find that’s one of my issues with some of these different Asian cuisines and unfortunately restaurants really try and make their business profitable and so they have to cut corners and a lot of times they cut corners with ingredients that are marginal or not as healthy as you would like them to be.

Mark Reinfeld: Yup that’s a reality of the restaurant business; it’s definitely an ongoing dynamic.

Caryn Hartglass: And so this is a great way to have all these great foods, you make them yourself and you make them the way you like. Now there’s a recipe here for cilantro pesto in your Asian fusion section. There’s just an infinite variety for different dips and sauces you can make with herbs and nuts and citrus and oils.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah pesto is definitely one of my favorite things to make and we had just come back from a trip to Italy and somehow just were pesto crazed and so we wanted to include an Asian twist to it and the Italian version of it was made with basil and pine nuts and this one uses the cilantro as the base.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I love it and I’ve never had it and I haven’t tried it and I can’t wait to because I love the combination of lime juice and garlic and cilantro just in general but with the cashews and the sesame oil it really must be spectacular.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah and the toasted sesame oil that’s another price ingredient to use where a little bit goes a long way, it adds a really nice like a smoky depth to the dish and you wouldn’t think to include it in a pesto but it really works well.

Caryn Hartglass: Well I really try and hold back on the oil that I use in my cooking and that’s what’s great about sesame oil because you can use really a little bit and it just really brings things, ties everything together and gives it a great flavor.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah especially with this because you’re not heating the oil as well so it’s just in the dish itself so it adds that nice flavor without the heating.

Caryn Hartglass: And the last thing that I wanted to talk about in this book is the hot and sour soup. It’s something I love and yet I know that when I go and get it in a restaurant again the ingredients must really be questionable.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, a lot of the sauces that are used commercially will have additives and preservatives and artificial colors and sugar and salt and possibly MSG and so doing it yourself and choosing the recipes that are quick and easy and it just builds on your own confidence and helps you feel like you can create healthy versions of your restaurant favorites without paying the price afterwards.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right and this looks like a really easy recipe, lots of great ingredients, so dig in. Is there anything that you want to add about this wonderful cookbook, The 30 Minute Vegan: Taste of the East?

Mark Reinfeld: Just to encourage people to check it out and there’s a section on dim sum which is a Chinese version of tapas where it’s little, small, mini portions and so we have like good steamed wantons and other great little appetizer-type dishes and some great desserts and a great resource in the back for where to go for more information if you want to expand your pantry and things like that.

Caryn Hartglass: I love dim sum and fortunately in Manhattan we have a bunch of vegan restaurants that make vegan dim sum so we’re pretty lucky here. But I have a question on wonton wrappers, now some of them have eggs in them sometimes and others don’t and all the ones that I see in the Asian stores have some sort of preservative in them; have you ever found them without?

Mark Reinfeld: I don’t believe so. They were relatively healthy, the ones I got here in Hawaii that I developed the recipes with, I don’t recall exactly what the ingredients are but they definitely did not have eggs in them. And again it’s like in terms of just incorporating healthy foods into our lifestyle we recommend a gradual relative approach so occasionally if you were having a special party and you wanted to do some steamed wonton dumplings then the occasional indulgence is definitely worth it.

Caryn Hartglass: This is great, absolutely! Well it makes it super easy when you buy these wonton wrappers in the store; you just make the filling and wrap them up.

Mark Reinfeld: Yup, and we do have recipes for Tibetan momos and samosas where you’re making your own wrapping, the outside portion of the dumpling.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now you’re also a co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Do you eat a lot of raw food?

Mark Reinfeld: I go through stages of more or less raw food. It’s always part of my lifestyle to some degree or another. I think including raw foods is definitely beneficial for our health.

Caryn Hartglass: And I imagine in Hawaii it’s very easy to do that.

Mark Reinfeld: It’s a lot easier to do that. There’s an incredible assortment of tropical fruits here that are never-ending.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Well I went through an all raw diet for 2 years.

Mark Reinfeld: Wow!

Caryn Hartglass: And now I’m back as a happy vegan eating all the wonderful cooked and raw foods that I possibly can.

Mark Reinfeld: How does that work for you?

Caryn Hartglass: Oh God, I love my diet! And you know there are reasons why I went one way and another way and I can talk about that some other time, it’s all another show, but the thing that I got out of the raw food diet are the nut milks and the raw cheeses, the nut cheeses. Some recipes I found were very heavy, where you could really overdo the nuts and the namashoyu, but I love the nut milks and the nut cheeses and you have some good recipes in this book for that.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that book is really a great intro for anyone wanting to learn about the raw food diet. It has a pretty comprehensive summary of why it’s good for you, what the various techniques are, what equipment is good to stock up with, what pantry items are good, it gives great recipes that sample all the different kinds of types of foods that you can learn about, working with a dehydrator, making flax crackers and granolas and raw desserts like Glad Pies and raw puddings, it’s definitely a good intro to the raw food movement and the underlying philosophy as well as the recipes and techniques.

Caryn Hartglass: Well I think for most people, those that have an incredible sweet tooth and want to get away from it, the raw desserts are really the way to go.

Mark Reinfeld: It’s a good, definitely when you gravitate towards the fruit-sweetened raw desserts it can help break the attachment to the refined sugars.

Caryn Hartglass: Well they’re just so delicious and so many different varieties and things you can make but they’re really satisfying, I think, when you want something sweet and then you know you can have dessert for breakfast if it’s one of these raw desserts and you feel like you’re really indulging but they’re just made mostly from raw nuts and dried fruits or fruit.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah in general raw pies would have a nut and date base, the crust would be formed by nuts and dates, and the filling could be fruit blended with different kinds of fruit and items to help give it a thickness.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so great for desserts, and then another thing I like about the raw food recipes especially in the summer when you don’t want to cook but you want something substantial, the raw soups are terrific and you’ve got some great recipes in this book for different raw soups.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah it’s great, it’s really a new… it’s not a new way as I like to say like Adam and Eve were the first raw foodists…

Caryn Hartglass: But they didn’t have a blender and they didn’t have a dehydrator.

Mark Reinfeld: Right, right, haha. But this is just a unique way to start looking at food in terms of the energy and vitality of it in addition to the flavor, and so raw foods are really energizing and a variation of the smoothies theme so you’re getting fresh vegetables and fruits blended so it’s a more absorbable way to get the nutrients in them and like you mentioned especially in the summer months having like a nice chilled soup is a nice, refreshing meal.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so you have some recipes in here like cucumber dill soup with cucumber, celery, avocado, garlic, dill, oh you put a little bit of orange juice in there too, and onion, cayenne, and blend all that up… really yummy. So I think a lot of people are familiar with gazpacho…

Mark Reinfeld: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And yet there are many variations on gazpacho too, but there are so many different things with other vegetables to make these cooled soups.

Mark Reinfeld: Definitely, you just start looking at produce and the produce section in the super markets and the farmers markets a lot differently when you start thinking in terms of raw food creations.

Caryn Hartglass: And then in this book you have this four-week raw cleanse, is that what you called it?

Mark Reinfeld: It’s like a 30-day challenge where you basically, it’s like a menu plan for people, for those that are interested in raw foods we recommend either having an all raw day, there’s different ways to approach it, you could say I’m going to start to have just a raw meal every now and then or like raw breakfast or raw lunches or you could do a full day of raw or a weekend or a week, and some people like to dive in and do a 30-day just go all raw for 30 days and we did that actually when we started working on the book and so that’s a really transformative experience. It really alters the way you look at food when you do something like that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I like the immersion program and you can really learn a lot and you don’t have to stick with it but it will give you a lot of tools and experience to apply to all of your food preparation.

Mark Reinfeld: Definitely.

Caryn Hartglass: Yummy, and you know it’s not just salad!

Mark Reinfeld: Right, that’s a simple way of summing it up.

Caryn Hartglass: That would be a good title for a book; It’s Not Just Salad! But you know I love salad, I love green salad with a simple maybe citrus tahini dressing, a little avocado, and I’m good to go and there’s nothing like that.

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah that’s actually the salads, when people ask me how they can start incorporating more vegan or raw foods into their lifestyle, salads are one of the main things I say is just to really start getting creative with your salads and chop up different veggies that you might not think of including. You could also, like you mentioned, use avocado to add some substance to the salad and also, well not raw, but you can add things like some cooked beans or a grain like quinoa or rice and it bulks up the salad to turn it into a meal.

Caryn Hartglass: A very satisfying meal, and there’s just so many variations on that theme.

Mark Reinfeld: Definitely.

Caryn Hartglass: I love it. You don’t have to convince me! You mentioned a couple of other things in this book that I think are really important and one is juicing and I happen to be a religious juicer. I juice everyday at least 16 ounces of green juice.

Mark Reinfeld: What’s your favorite combo?

Caryn Hartglass: Well you know that’s a good question and I definitely have to have ginger and lemon rind or lime rind in my green juice, and I’ve got to have all the dark leafy green leaves that are available, it can be kale or collards, I like to have a lot of celery in my juice and then something that might make me turn my head and say “Oh this is a good juice” is if there’s a bunch of mint leaves in them. Yeah but I just make whatever greens I have or whatever’s affordable, not necessarily what my favorite one is because I do it every day. But I do love my green juice and I love the ginger… so you have this one that includes half a pineapple!

Mark Reinfeld: Yeah the pineapple that is here in Hawaii, it’s just amazing to have fresh pineapple blended in with greens and really pineapple covers a lot of the flavor of the greens so you have a really sweet, nice beverage.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m always trying to encourage people to include green juice in their diet and for most people it’s a little bitter so typically people might add apple or carrot but pineapple definitely is a winner! It probably helps in the digestion of all those nutrients.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, definitely.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a winner, I think I’m going to grab some pineapple and put that in my juice today. And then you have a section on sprouting in this book which is also important because sprouting is so easy, you don’t need any fancy contraptions, just a jar and some cheese cloth, and you show that in your pictures in the book, and it’s fun to sprout!

Mark Reinfeld: It’s pretty amazing! I do these 10-day vegan and raw food trainings now and we do the sprouting as part of that and it’s really cool to just check on it each day and see it grow from seeds to green, it’s really a great thing for people who don’t have the space to create a garden to just be able to witness the miracle of life as it unfolds before your eyes, it’s really really nice.

Caryn Hartglass: It is it really is! So tell us a little bit more about those workshops.

Mark Reinfeld: Well since I mentioned the restaurant closed and we do have the cookbooks out there, our message became how can we get the information out there and help people prepare the food themselves. And so I’ve been offering 10-day trainings where we go over, it’s really like vegan and raw food boot camp where like one day we’ll do soups, the next day we do salads and dressings, the next day we do grain and bean dishes, the fourth day is tofu, tempeh, and seitan dishes, the fifth day we do casseroles, we make a nice lasagna and different sauces, and then the sixth day we do sandwiches, wraps, and we do rice paper rolls, and spreads like roasted red pepper hummus, the seventh day is healthy desserts where we do various, we make cookies and cakes and cobblers and gluten-free items, and then we end after our big dessert day when everyone’s all on a big sugar high we go into three days of raw food preparation and that’s three days. We go over all the essentials of raw food preparation, so smoothies and salads and nut cheeses and nut milks and ravioli and tacos and pizza and granolas and cheesecake and all the goodies, and you learn how to use a dehydrator and a lot of different techniques that are in the raw food world. And for those who are unable to attend then full 10-day training I’ve been doing 2-day and 3-day workshops as well. I’m actually planning a 2-day workshop in New York in March so I could keep you posted on that.

Caryn Hartglass: Woo! Okay, please do. Where do people find out about this? You have a website?

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, people could go to and there’s a blog tab, if you click on the blog tab there’s information on upcoming retreats and workshops. I’m actually doing a 1-day vegan retreat in Belize in February where it’ll be with an emphasis on local and focus on creatively preparing dishes with whatever ingredients are available. So and I could e-mail, Mark with a “K” at vegan (, if anyone has any questions about workshops or the recipes in the books, I’m really happy to help people.

Caryn Hartglass: So during these workshops people make all these foods and then they eat them…

Mark Reinfeld: Yes! It’s a feasting on your own creations. They’re hands-on so everyone, basically we all prep the ingredients together in the beginning of the day and then in teams of two people work on creating the different recipes, so everyone gets the chance to prep the food and also to facilitate the creation of several recipes.

Caryn Hartglass: Do people gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same?

Mark Reinfeld: If they didn’t do exercise it’s a little bit more food than they probably would normally eat but it’s the vegan feast so it’s that special occasion and they also leave with a training manual and recipe handouts.

Caryn Hartglass: Very very yummy! So do you have any particular favorite foods?

Mark Reinfeld: I love, like as far as vegetables, kale and broccoli are my favorites I’d say. As far as meals like having a fresh green smoothie with the pineapple and some kale and fresh tropical fruit like papayas, mangoes, or some of the other delectables here. And as far as meals I like doing what we call a Monk bowl which is basically a grain, a green, and a protein and so it would be the grain would usually be quinoa or sometimes a rice pasta or rice, and the greens would be a selection of assorted vegetables, generally steamed or lightly sautéed, and then for protein you could make either a tofu cutlet or a tempeh cutlet or have some beans in that, and then have it with a salad. That would be my quick and easy meal where you’re getting a well balanced nutritional meal in less than 30 minutes.

Caryn Hartglass: Well what I want people to know is there are these wonderful cookbooks out there where you can make really very very flavorful foods and a wide variety of foods, but when you settle into this kind of diet and you’re kind of backing up on processed foods that are loaded with oil and fat and sugar and salt, and you start eating more naturally you actually enjoy the simplest of foods with the minimal kind of preparation.

Mark Reinfeld: Yup that’s how it evolved for me.

Caryn Hartglass: And then you know on special occasion you can delve into these books and make you know a really amazing array of foods.

Mark Reinfeld: Yes, that’s how it’s, they’re the special occasion usually, but with these recipes actually they’re… since almost all of them are 30 minutes or less they can really be part of your everyday or weekly repertoire.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay well I’m going to give them a try!

Mark Reinfeld: Cool! And you’ll have to let me know what you think of the cilantro pesto and the other recipes.

Caryn Hartglass: I will! I am going to put my timer on and see how long these take, haha! Mark it’s been great, thank you so much.

Mark Reinfeld: Thank you so much for having me and I’ll keep you posted about the New York event and I’ll let you know about that as it gets closer.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I definitely want to know about it, okay! Thank you for everything that you do.

Mark Reinfeld: Great, thank you so much! You too, keep up the great work.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me and if you have any questions or comments during the week you can e-mail me at Thanks for listening!

Transcribed by Lydia Dearie, 3/14/2017

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