How I Veganised Klingon Cuisine


Written by McDonald, T.  |  Date 25th of October 2021

If you are a Trekkie, you should have a look at this.  I veganised a whole Klingon feast!  This has got really good food ideas that I still use today, so if you are a vegan and looking for a bit of Star Trek fun or food ideas for your Trekkie party, look no further because this is it!

Abstract

After watching many episodes of Star Trek i decided to investigate and try to make an authentic Klingon dinner.  However, since i am a vegan and cater for a Christian vegan audience, i had to consider appropriate constraints such as no meat, eggs or dairy and try to keep it healthy too.  With this in mind, i wondered if it was at all possible to create such a meal.  I searched the internet looking for suitable resources and found them although the sources where limited.  Despite the lack of suitable sites, the ones i did find where very helpful.  For instance, i discovered several Klingon dishes and even a vegetable one called Gladst, As a result of all research and planning, i successfully created something authentically Klingon, vegan and healthy.  The meal consisted of Heart of Targ stuffed with Gladst, Gagh, Bregit Lund and Grapok sauce.  All of the food was tasty with the Bregit Lung a clear winner.   However, although the meal was a great success, i was disappointed with the taste of the bell pepper in the Heart of Targ component to the meal.  It just did not taste right and seemed under cooked. 

Table of contents

  1. Introduction  
  2. Literature search 
  3. Methodology
  4. Results This has the recipes
  5. Discussion  
  6. Conclusion 
  7. Appendices 
  8. References

Introduction

I am intrigued by Star Trek and the foods they eat. Subsequently, i want to know how to prepare some of the interesting dishes mentioned in the famous sci-fi series.  However, since i am vegan, i do not eat any animal products including dairy and eggs, i will have to convert some of the dishes to something that is suitable for a vegan. Nonetheless, i do not want to stop the fun behind the project.  For instance, Klingons, a warrior like race obsessed with fighting, drinking and honour, have dishes mainly meat oriented, which is a problem.  Nonetheless, where there is a will there is a way.   I will be focusing in on finding Klingon dishes and any hints of ingredients then finding suitable vegan alternatives.  For an added restraint, i will look for zero waste, products with no packaging, options and much as possible.  From my knowledge of Klingon food, i already know that they eat Gagh, live worms and Heart of Targ, the heart of some animal they also value as a pet.  As a result of completing this project, vegan Star trek fans will be able to recreate from a recipe and enjoy Klingon food that is both fun and healthy to eat.  Although it is unclear what the dinner might be like, it will almost certainly have Gagh as a part of it.

Literature review

CBS Entertainment (n.d.) 'Gagh' Food and Drink' startrek.com Available at: https://intl.startrek.com/database_article/gagh (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it is an official Star Trek site. 

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Grapok sauce' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Grapok_sauce (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it describes the colour and has images from the TV show of the dish.  It also indicates what dish it might go with.

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Gladst' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Gladst (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it indicates the colour and has images from the TV shows. This site led me to more information via a link to Memory Beta. 

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Gagh' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Gagh (Accessed: 15/05/21). I chose this because it was a starting place with a familiar food name. 

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Heart of Targ' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Heart_of_targ (Accessed: 15/05/21). I chose this because it was a starting place with a familiar food name although i rejected it as a visual reference because i liked the stuff bell pepper idea.

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Gladst' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Gladst (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it indicates the colour and has images from the TV shows. This site led me to more information via a link to Memory Beta. 

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Bregit Lung' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Bregit_lung (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it indicates the colour and has images from the TV shows and it was the result of a link in wikidot.com. 

Memory Beta (n.d.) 'Gladst' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Gladst (Accessed: 07/05/21). I chose this because it gives a text description of the dish and seems to be well sourced.  

ikvhostam (n.d.) "gha'poq (Grapok sauce)" wikidot.com Available at: http://ikvhostam.wikidot.com/gha-poq (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it has some ingredients; however, they are not vegan and unusual. This site is not well maintained and has a licence.  In the end, i never used it.

Kuban A (2009) 'A Primer to "Star Trek" Food and Drink' seriouseats.com Available at: https://www.seriouseats.com/2009/05/a-primer-to-star-trek-food-and-drink.html (Accessed: 05/05/21). I chose this because it has a good list of many Star Trek foods and the sit was lasted updated 2018. 

Methodology

I used the internet and libraries to find authentic Klingon food.  I looked for typical dish names and recipes. The searches were successful and i was able to discover some interesting dishes to include in this banquet.  I cross referenced the sites looking for similarities in the dishes and watch Star Trek taking note of any food mentioned.  Once i found suitable dishes, i considered the vegan options such as using meat substitutes, tofu etc.

Concept development and choosing the ingredients

As a result from the literature search i put together a recipe that i liked the sound of for the following reasons: 

  • All dishes were authentic 
  • I had some idea how i might veganise them
  • Choice was somewhat limited to begin with

The dishes i choose from the search:

  • Heart of Targ - because it is a well known dish.
  • Gladst - because it is already vegan by accident.
  • Gagh - because it is a well known dish.
  • Briget Lung - because i immediately thought it can use tofu for this.
  • Grapok sauce - because it goes with the Briget Lung.

Choosing the ingredients 

Ingredients should pass as at least trying to look like the Klingon dish in colour and shape within reason.  In addition, some thought about nutrition is an essential factor as most Trekkies will insist upon it. This means the meal must contain B12, calcium and protein, which are all essential for vegans.      

Planning

The planing was easy:

  • Draw up a shopping list 
  • Shop in shops that had zero waste options 
  • Keep to a budget   

Design 

Yes i did have to make some alterations in order to veganize the meal and to keep them as zero waste as possible. However, i still considered colours and textures to make the feast a real delight.  Once i had discovered the dishes i wanted to use, i visualised the result based on knowledge of food flavours and textures.

Development 

Once i began to devolve the feast,  i set about preparing it.  Since the pepper needed to be stuffed with the Gladst, it seem sensible to made the Gladst first.  I opted to fry the veg and onions in this part of the feast and added the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce for both flavour and to keep it moist as i did not want it drying out.  Development and planing did involve working out the cooking times, which decided what to cook first. Whilst developing the plan, i decided to build the recipe as individual components in order to serve them as independent dishes in the future, which i am very glad i did, because it made the different parts of the meal more usable. 

Testing 

Since this was a new dish to me and the world since i could not find any veganized attempts at Klingon food, i tested it as i went along and took notes.  If i had the time, I would have prepared some trial runs of the independent components of the dish.   

Results 


Heart of Targ Stuffed with Gladst

Figure , Heart of Targ

Figure , Gladst in frying pan

Figure , bell pepper with top cut off

Ingredients 

  • Red bell pepper 
  • Garlic granules 
  • Rapeseed oil

For Gladst

  • Mushrooms x 60g
  • Aubergine x 70g
  • Onion x 1/4
  • Cranberries x 1 x tbsp
  • Garlic x 2 cloves
  • Nutritional yeast x 1 tsp
  • Balsamic vinegar x 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce x 3 tbsp

Method 

  1.  Cut the top of the red bell pepper and remove and seeds and pulp.  See figure.
  2.  Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and add some oil.
  3. Add all of the veg ingredients and stir.
  4. Mix all of the wet ingredients together and poor into the frying pan.  This will result in a lot of steam, which is good, but now you need to put the lid on to keep the steam in. 
  5. Keep checking every minute and stir.  Add more liquid if it starts to dry out. 
  6. Once the veg has softened, turn the heat off.

Gagh

Gagh with Grapok sauce drizzled on top

Half eaten feast.  Note the sauce is from the Gagh.

Ingredients

  • Courgette x 130g
  • Garlic granules x 1 tsp
  • Paprika x 1 tsp
  • Soy source x 1 tbsp
  • Brown sugar x 1 tsp
  • Cider vinegar x 1 tbsp 
  • A little water

Method

  • Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan.
  • Spiralize the courgette into zoddles while the oil is heating.
  • Add the zoddles to the frying pan with the other ingredients and stir.   Fry on a medium heat for about 5 - 8 minutes adding water a little at a time if needed.

Bregit lung

Cooked Bregit lung

Figure tofu coated in spices and oil
 

This dish is traditionally severed with Grapok sauce.

Ingredients 

  • Tofu x 100g
  • Cumin x 1 tsp
  • Paprika x 1 tsp
  • Cornflour x 1 tsp
  • Salt x a dash

Method

  1. Prepare the tofu.  For instructions on how to prepare the tofu, please see appendix A.   
  2. Cut into bite size cubes. 
  3. Add other ingredients to a bowl then add the tofu pieces.  Toss the tofu around until coated, see figure .  Add a little oil and toss around some more. 
  4. Place in a backing dish in the middle of an oven preheated to 200 C  and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. 
  5. Once ready, leave to cool for 1 minute.  

Grapok sauce 

Grapok sauce
 

Sauce to go with the Bregit lung is an important part of the whole meal.

Ingredients

  • BBQ sauce x 3 tbsp
  • Cider vinegar x 2 tbsp
  • Tomato paste x 1 tbsp
  • Soy sauce x 1 tbsp
  • Hot water x 50 ml

Method

  1. Measure out all the ingredients into a small dipping sauce bowl and mix with a spoon. 
  2. Achieving the correct viscosity to the sauce is important because you do not want the sauce to run off the Bregit lung when it is dipped into it.  Neither do you want to think a sauce; you should be able to poor the sauce onto the food.  Aim for a thick gravy like viscosity but thinner than ketchup.

Qapla'!  The finished feast.

Figure, the full feast served with carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Discussion

It started with Heart of Targ

To create something authentically Klingon I had to do the research.  Although i had a starting place with Heart of Targ that every Star Trek fan would recognise, i still needed to research.   I used the terms 'Klingon food' and 'Heart of Targ', which both yielded similar results. I quickly realised Heart of targ was not going to be enough and opted to research Gagh, which is another well known dish among Trekkies to add to it.  From prior knowledge of Star Trek and Klingons, I knew this was some type of worm, which I later found out from CBS Entertainment (n.d.) was a serpent worm with 51 different varieties including one with feet!  Since researching all the different types of Gagh was beyond the scope of this project, i decided something plain and brown would be enough.  I had something genuinely Klingon because of the authenticity of the websites confirmed these were classic Klingon dishes i had see and heard of from the Sci-fi show.   I could call it authentical and Klingon, but i still had to make it vegan.

Making it vegan

Research and planning made the Heart of Targ and Gagh vegan.  Now i had an idea of what dishes to prepare, i needed to know what they looked like.  I needed something that looked like a heart, but the only thing that sprang to mind was a bell pepper.  Since it was to replace a heart i chose to use a red one with a good stalk to mimic the aorta.  Knowing a little about food to begin with i quickly thought of stuffing the pepper with something like rice or couscous; however, my research led me to an interesting dish called Gladst, which according to Memory Beta (n.d.): '...consisted of leafy, brown vegetable matter.'  Although the text from Memory Beta said leafy brown the image for Memory Alpha looked like dried mushrooms.  From these two sources, I visualised thinly sliced mushroom with onions and aubergine because i think they make a great combination of textures.  In order to give it a brown colour, I decided to use soy sauce and balsamic vinegar because they are dark brown and would add to the overall flavour.  To increase the flavour still, I added some garlic, but i still felt it needed something to make it different.  Since i use sultanas in a curry, i thought why not use them in this dish?  However, it still didn't seem different enough, yet i knew some kind of current was what i wanted.  Suddenly, it came to me: cranberries.  My starting point had gone well and led me to another dish, which resulted in a decent idea for Heart of Targ stuffed with Gladst.  As for the Gagh, obviously, I was not going to use worms of any kind because then it would not be vegan.   I decided on spiralized courgette because I like courgette and it would make it a little different and lower in calories.  However, i had to find away to disguise the green colour  of the courgette.  As a result, i used soy sauce, cider vinegar and brown sugar to sweeten.  Now i had made vegan versions of Gagh and Heart of Targ. However, i still needed to check its nutritional balance to meet the requirements laid out in the conceptual plan.

How nutritional needs changed the ingredients and added a new dish to the feast.

Research and planning helped me make this dinner healthy and led to another dish. Creating something authentically Klingon and vegan is one thing; however, making it healthy needs testing the nutritional results. Subsequently, this means analysing all the ingredients one by one.  Using Cronometer to examine the nutritional values of the ingredients I found the dish had good vitamin C levels, but was lacking in calcium.  Below is a list of ingredients at this stage.

Ingredients 

  • Red bell pepper 
  • Garlic granules 
  • Rapeseed oil

For Gladst

  • Mushrooms x 60g
  • Aubergine x 70g
  • Onion x 1/4
  • Cranberries x 1 x tbsp
  • Garlic x 2 cloves
  • Nutritional yeast x 1 tsp
  • Balsamic vinegar x 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce x 3 tbsp

For Gagh

  • Courgette x 130g
  • Garlic granules x 1 tsp
  • Paprika x 1 tsp
  • Soy source x 1 tbsp
  • Brown sugar x 1 tsp
  • Cider vinegar x 1 tbsp 
  • A little water

Increasing the calcium levels

The answer to this seemed obvious, either i used vegan milk or tofu.  As I read on, I came across a dish called Bregit Lung, a Klingon dish that was chucks of lizard (Kuban A, 2009).  This solved the problem because as soon as i read it i knew I could use tofu as the lizard and it even gave me the idea of the dipping sauce. ' ...Bregit lung is often eaten with grapok sauce' (Kuban A, 2009)

At last, something was beginning to take shape; i had all the ingredients, but now i had to decide how to cook them, so i created a plan.  Naturally, frying these ingredients seemed a much better idea than boiling.  I could have roasted them, but it seemed easier to fry them and then stuff it all in the bell pepper and then roast the whole thing in the oven.  Frying them first softened the veg especially the aubergine, which is what i wanted.   

Conclusion

The time i spent at the beginning planing out the recipes and looking for suitable vegan ingredients resulted in a tasty dinner that was fun and different. On the whole, i thought the whole project went according to plan. In hind sight, i would have baked the bell pepper a little bit first as it did not taste right and seemed under cooked. Additionally, i would opt to use sweet potato noodles because they have a different colour namely purple, which would look more like Gagh. However, the Gadst was great and the Bregit Lung was much better than i expected especially when dipped in the Grapock sauce. In light of its success, yes, i would do it again, but it is best saved for a special occasion due to the work that is involved and I would roast the bell pepper first and then stuff it and roast it again to improve the flavour. Otherwise, i would keep everything else the same.

I hope you decide to give this a try. If you do, please let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter.  Please like, share with your friends and subscribe. 

Appendices

Appendix A - how to prepare tofu correctly. 

The trick to this is to find a really good press.  I had to get a plastic press out of a lack of choice. However, it does the job.  

Steps

  1. Freeze the tofu
  2. Defrost the tofu
  3. Press the tofu in the press overnight. 

Tofu press


References  

CBS Entertainment (n.d.) 'Gagh' Food and Drink' startrek.com Available at: https://intl.startrek.com/database_article/gagh (Accessed: 05/05/21).

Memory Alpha (n.d.) 'Gagh' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Gagh (Accessed: 15/05/21).

Memory Beta (n.d.) 'Gladst' Fandom.com Available at: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Gladst (Accessed: 07/05/21).





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