Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sesame "Beef" and Broccoli

Yes. You read that right. Beef. This recipe uses wheat gluten or seitan, long used by Chinese Buddhist vegetarian monks, to simulate the taste and texture of meat.

I use the Vegeusa brand which I buy at Ranch 99, an Asian grocery on Buford Highway in Atlanta, but seitan--both in its dried and ready-to-use forms--is usually available in most health and Asian food markets.

If you buy the ready to use kind, simply skip the "rehydrating step" given below.

Ingredients
1 package dried wheat gluten
(once rehydrated you should have about 1lb)
Two stalks broccoli (about one pound)
1/2 inch piece of ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 small dried or fresh chili pepper (optional)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce*
2 tsp rice cooking wine*
1/2 Tbsp yellow bean sauce*
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 green onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal

*See step 4 about substitutions for hard to find ingredients you may not have on hand.

1. To rehydrate dried wheat gluten: place the dried wheat gluten chunks in a pot of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. They'll float but good so you'll need to press them down into the water with something: a small plate that fits in the pot, a lid from another pan, etc. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chunks are soft, rehydrated and tender all the way through.

2. Chop the broccoli into small florets. Peel the outer layer from the stalk and chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and throw in the broccoli to blanch it for about a minute and a half. Drain. Rinse the broccoli with cold water to stop it from cooking any more. Drain well and pat dry.

3. Mince the ginger, garlic and pepper.

4. In a small glass or bowl, mix together the soy sauce, hoisin, tomato paste, rice cooking wine and yellow bean sauce. (Some of these ingredients you may not have on hand, but the sauce is very amenable to substitution. Broth, wine, ketchup, chili sauce, miso. It's hard to go wrong. Just remember: soy sauce is the base and primary ingredient. In all you should have about 1/2 cup of sauce.

5. Heat your wok over high heat with a tablespoon of oil in it. When it's VERY hot, throw in the seitan and fry, stirring, until it has picked up some brown spots. Remove from the wok and set aside.

6. Let the wok regain its heat for a moment (You may need to add a dash more oil). Throw in the garlic-ginger-pepper mixture. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds and then throw in the broccoli. Cook for about three minutes or until the broccoli is tender-crisp and close to done.

7. Toss the seitan into the wok with the broccoli and stir-fry together until the seitan is heated through. Pour the sauce into the wok and stir to coat the vegetables.

8. In a few moments, your sauce should coat the veggies, absorb into the seitan and thicken. If not, i.e. if you have a bunch of watery sauce in the bottom of your pan, you'll need to fix that as the stir-fry won't taste good and the sauce will be, well, watery. Push the veggies and stuff up onto the sides of the wok as best you can so that most of the water runs down into the middle. Sprinkle 2 tsps. corn starch into the water and--quickly! or you'll get lumps--whisk it in to the sauce. It should thicken in a few moments over the heat. If not, continue to add a tiny bit more starch until you have a nice thick sauce. Once it's thick, stir it back over the beef and broccoli.

8. Put the "Beef and Broccoli" on a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and then the chopped green onion. Serve over rice.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds very good! I like your posts that have a lot of commentary the best (rather than just the straight forward recipe). You have a great and funny way with words and the way you say things.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Lily said...

Yes, Fassbinder's one of the best there is, isn't he? Or was, I should say. Netflix keeps adding films to its library so hopefully soon they'll have his entire oeuvre. In any case, nice job with your blog - hope you have a great New Year.

4:16 PM  

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