Global Voices: Karma Dendup

May 03, 2021

Organization:  Karma is with Jangsem Monday in Bhutan, where he manages the campaign and also owns a private production company, Reflection Films. Jangsem actually translates as "Bodhicitta" in the Sanskrit language, which is taught by the Buddha and Buddhist masters as the essence of enlightenment. Jangsem serves as a reminder to think beyond yourself and to think of others. Previously, Karma was a TV Host and Producer for the only national TV channel of Bhutan.

When you think of Meatless Monday, what’s one word that comes to mind?: When I think of Meatless Monday, I think of the spark or the start to a more conscious and aware life. It’s a day with endless possibilities to make our shared planet better for all inhabitants. I also see the opportunity to unite countries and cultures all over the world through this cause. Lastly, I think of how we have the power to change the world one day and one meal at a time.

Tell us about something going on in your country or city addressing meat reduction: In Bhutan, for two months out of the year (the first and fourth month of the Bhutanese calendar, which is similar to the Chinese Lunar Calendar), the sale of meat is prohibited - as these months are holy for Buddhists.

Currently, over 12 restaurants are observing and supporting Jangsem Monday, with the number in Thimphu, the capital, growing.

Some inspiring news is that data shows that more and more Bhutanese youth are going vegetarian or vegan for environmental, health and animal welfare reasons.

If you could give one piece of advice or an easy step people could take to reduce their meat consumption, what would it be?: 

Meatless Monday - there is not an easier or simpler way to go meatless. Educating yourself on the health benefits of a meatless diet and the environmental impacts of meat production will definitely help. I personally love that when I go meatless on Monday, there are people all over the world joining me in the cause for a healthier life and healthier planet. This fills me with hope and motivates me to carry the movement forward.

What’s your favorite plant-based dish?: 

This recipe for Sesame Soba Noodle Bowls is one of my favorites: https://ohmyveggies.com/sesame-soba-noodle-bowls/

Ingredients

For the baked tofu:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes

For the roasted veggies:

  • 20 asparagus spears 1 small bunch or about ¾ pound, tough ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • ½ medium red onion sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sesame soba noodles:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces dried soba noodles use buckwheat soba noodles to keep this gluten-free

For serving:

  • 2 scallions chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Black pepper

Instructions: 

Make the baked tofu:

  • Stir the soy sauce or tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, sriracha and sesame oil together in a shallow dish. Add the tofu cubes and toss gently to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice to recoat the tofu with marinade.

  • Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, gently flipping halfway through, until the tofu dries out a bit and begins to darken around the edges.

Make the roasted veggies:

  • While the tofu bakes, toss the asparagus, carrots, onion and oil together in a roasting pan or oven-safe skillet. Place it in the oven with the tofu and bake 15-18 minutes, until the asparagus and carrots are just tender. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the sesame soba noodles:

  • While the tofu bakes and veggies roast, stir the soy sauce or tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain into a colander and return them to the pot. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss to coat.

Serve:

  • Divide the noodles into bowls and top with tofu and roasted veggies. Sprinkle with scallions, sesame seeds and black pepper. Serve.


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