Jun 16, 2015

moo shu seitan

This northern Chinese dish is typically made with cabbage, wood ear mushrooms, lily buds, eggs and animals. It is also more often than not made with hoisin sauce, a Chinese barbecue sauce, of sorts, made with bean paste, soy sauce and chiles.

In this delicious vegan rendition, we make our own hoisin sauce as part of the dish using red miso, sambal oelek and tamari.

It is important to note the distinction between white and red miso - white miso is fermented for only a few short months, is sweeter, milder and is the main ingredient in miso soup. Red miso, dark miso and the like, are fermented for more than a year, more often up to three years, is more pungent, is darker and saltier and not sweet.

While hoisin is made with soybean paste and not miso, dark miso is very close in flavor and robustness to soybean paste and is more readily available in stores near you.

The seitan I used is from Vegan Bowls (Amazon, B&N); it is robust, hearty and stands up well to grilling, sauteing and searing. It is the perfect replacement for the traditional meat in this quick stir-fry.

My hubby and I adore wood ear mushrooms, which are curiously black on one side and white on the other when dried, but rehydrate to a dark purple. These mushrooms are very toothsome and give a nice bite without any overpowering mushroom flavor. If you can find it, great, but it not use shiitakes or even button mushrooms.

Moo Shu is served with Mandarin pancakes and they are incredibly easy to make, but if you'd rather not, then just serve the filling with flour tortillas.

Moo Shu Seitan
Serves 4

Mandarin Pancakes:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon red miso
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
Black pepper

1 pound seitan medallions
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 cup wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, drained and rinsed
1 small cabbage, shredded
5 scallions, minced

1. Pancakes: Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the water and stir using a fork. Knead lightly and set aside for 20 minutes. Knead until smooth on floured surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten using your palm. Spread ½ teaspoon oil on one disk and top with another disk. Press together and roll into a 6 to 7 inch circle.

2. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and spray with oil. Cook one rolled disk for 20 seconds, covered with a lid. Flip and cook uncovered until puffy, another 30 seconds. Remove from pan, separate the disk into 2 pieces and keep warm between kitchen towels. Repeat with the other 3 pairs.

3. Sauce: Combine the vinegar, tamari, miso, sugar, sambal oelek and black pepper, to taste, in a small bowl. Whisk well until smooth and set aside.

4. Seitan: Combine the seitan, starch, ginger and garlic in a shallow pan. Mix well using your hands to massage the seitan. Set aside.

5. Stir-fry: Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the seitan and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and scallions and cook until wilted, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the sauce and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve the stir-fry with the pancakes.

Substitute: Substitute 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas for the pancakes. Substitute 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms for the wood ears.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Jun 14, 2015

middle eastern red lentil soup (shorbat adas)

Red dal is the quickest cooking lentil. Dal is split lentils and red dal is red lentils that are split in half. They take about 15 minutes to cook and taste delicious.

Sharpa adas is a very popular Middle Eastern soup of lentils that is seasoned with lemon, cumin and olive oil and is served with pita.

I add collard greens to this dish to boost it's nutrition; collards contain the highest amount of calcium of all the dark leafy greens. Because they are so bitter, it is a good idea to cook the collards in a pot of water until they are tender before using them in a recipe, about 15 minutes - the time it takes to cook the soup.

I serve this soup with seasoned pita croutons, adding flavor and texture to the soup. The pita is spiked with za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix of sesame seeds, thyme and sumac. If you don't have za'atar, season the croutons with 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 2 teaspoons sesame seeds.  

Overall, this is a tasty, nutritious, easy and quick soup to get on the lunch table.

ALSO: If you haven't already entered my contest to win Somer McCowan's new cookbook, The Abundance Diet, make sure to do so, HERE. Contest ends June 22.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup (Shorbat Adas)
Serves 4

8 ounces collard greens, tough stems removed, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken-free broth mix (Savory Broth Mix from Everyday Vegan Eats)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups red dal, rinsed and picked over
Sea salt and black pepper
Lemon wedges

Pita Croutons:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons za’atar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 pita breads, cut into 1-inch squares

1. Soup: Cook the collards in a medium pot of salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and chop well. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion and garlic. Cook until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomato breaks down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth mix, cumin, paprika and turmeric. Stir in the broth and dal. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the dal is tender. 

3. Croutons: Preheat the toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the oil, lemon juice, za’atar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the pita squares and toss well. transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until crisp.

4. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season the soup with salt and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and croutons.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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