Vegan Chicken & Vegetable Pad Thai Rice Noodles and Silom Thai Market & Vegan Meat GALORE!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

I have written about my favorite local Thai market, Bangluck, many times.  I have also mention Silom market.   Silom is where I found the vegan beef I used in my Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles – seen just above.   But – while I was impressed with the vegan meat discoveries in the center freezers – somehow – I missed that they have an entire WALL of freezers – stocked to the brim with vegan meat options!  Look at this shit!

They have dozens & dozens of options.  Some are already prepared – like orange or sesame chicken – and some are not.  Huge bags, small bags.  Seafood, beef, pork & chicken.  Just a regular vegan wet dream!  INCREDIBLE find!  Not sure how I missed it all these years.

The store itself is very ghetto and the security guard out front suggests Silom is a front for some other more nefarious industry than peddling soy products.  But still – it is CHOCK full of cheap but exotic rices & sauces & veggies & BIZARRE-looking desserts & bug-based pastes.  Yes – bug.  That story is HERE.  Here are a few more views of the mecca that is Silom.

That is some fine looking jewelry!

Anyway – I love this place & they almost always have Keffir lime leaves which are like a Thai restaurant in a tiny bag.  They smell SO good!

Anyway – I digress – because I used my favorite faux chicken ever – Beyond Meat – in this Pad Thai.  I used the Pad Thai noodles you see above because they were handy at Silom.  You can use some like this or ramen noodles or even regular pasta.

I also used tamarind paste (also from Silom) but it is not critical.  Not critical but it does add authenticity.

If you cannot find the ingredients I used (tamarind paste or the homemade vegan fish sauce) – there are plenty of other options.  I will list a few in the ingredients list.

Vegan Chicken & Vegetable Pad Thai Rice Noodles

serves 2-4 (depending on appetites)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pad thai (or other) noodles – cooked according to the package

9 oz vegan chicken

2 TBS coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

1 red bell pepper – cut into slivers

2 cups shredded or matchstick carrots

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1-2 red (or green) jalapeno peppers – diced (optional)

1 small head broccoli – cut into florets

1 cup sprouts

GARNISH – cilantro, lime wedges, chopped peanuts (I used crushed almonds)

for the Pad Thai sauce

(double this recipe if you like a heavy sauce on your noodles)

3 TBS of brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter Pad Thai)

1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS chili paste –  sambal oelek (or sriracha if you cannot find chili paste) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS tamarind paste (or tomato paste or peanut butter – each will be very different but still tasty)

2 TBS homemade vegan fish sauce (or just more soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the noodles & set aside.

Either whisk the sauce ingredients together or warm them on a stove until the sugar dissolves.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Add the red bell, sprouts, broccoli & carrots & saute until tender but not soggy.  Add chicken & garlic & combine for one minute.  Add noodles & sauce (if you doubled the sauce recipe, add it incrementally until you have a ratio that suits you).  Combine & heat through.

Serve with peanuts, cilantro & lime wedges.

Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – the other day I found this amazing new beef replacement at Silom Thai Market.  If you live in LA & you want something that will fool folks they are eating sliced steak – RUN to Silom & go to the center freezer aisle in the middle of the store.  Dig around the freezer-burned packages in the cardboard boxes & find this stuff below.

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It is SO convincing – once you load it with yummy flavors like this Szechuan dish.  I served this beef over wide rice noodles (above) that I buy fresh at Bangluck Thai Market.  The two stores are only a few blocks apart in Thai Town & both have their treasures & are worth adventuring into.  If you don’t want or can’t find noodles – rice or whatever will do just as nicely.  This cooks up in just a few minutes & the ingredients are not exotic.   It is a great entry-level Chinese dish.

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Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles

Serves 2

Sesame oil

7 or more ounces vegan beef

12 ounces cooked wide rice noodles (or pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into thin strips

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1/4 onion – diced

1 cup orange or tangerine juice (I freeze juices in 1 cup quantities for future use in recipes)

2 dry red chilies – split (these add a lot of heat & should not be eaten when the dish is finished)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 tsp Szechuan pepper corns (anise) – crushed in a mortar & pestle or pre-ground

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

2 TBS sambal oelek

1 tsp agave nectar

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS minced fresh ginger

GARNISH – sesame seeds & sliced scallions

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DIRECTIONS

Sear the beef in a TBS or two of sesame oil.  Set aside.

In the same pan, heat another 1 -2 tsp sesame oil & saute the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.

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Then add the juice, Szechuan pepper, hoisin, sambal oelek, dary soy, liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, and agave.  Heat on high until it thickens a bit.  Add the meat and noodles – if you are using them. When the ingredients are well combined & warmed through – serve with sesame seeds & scallion slices.

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – last week on Tuesday – I began a test to see how long I could go without spending ANY money on groceries.  The only cheats allowed would be the delivery of vegetables I get every two weeks from Farm Fresh To You & any restaurant meals.  I eat out VERY seldom so – that second one is not much of a cheat.  Still, I started the challenge out eating that Gardenburger from Carney’s.  That cost me $10 with fries & a drink.  Then, I spent the next week eating things like these:

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Vegans, beware!  The Morning Star veggie sausage is merely vegetarian – not vegan.  If I ever eat breakfast (and I seldom do) – it typically looks like that above.

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I eat tortilla pizzas a SHOCKINGLY frequent amount of dinners per month.  I adore them.  And that cheese there is vegan!    It is Parmela Creamery cheese.  I like it A LOT more than Daiya which – I think – tastes funny & doesn’t melt easily.

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More often than not – I eat a giant, zero-carb, 100-calorie bowl of vegan pho for lunch.  Made with shirataki noddles – it is a wonderfully filly & guiltless soup.

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That is a salad of red lettuce, tomatoes & (I admit) a bit of goat cheese.

I also ate my Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce and my Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas – seen below, respectively, so I had a pretty well-fed week.  In the past when I attempt the pantry challenge – I do not allow the acquisition of ANYTHING if it can be avoided.  Almond milk for coffee & wine being notable exceptions.  In the past, once the fresh produce ran out, I became reduced to frozen leftovers & lots & lots of dry, white food – like pasta & rice.  Panicked friends began delivering fresh produce so – to avoid a full-scale panic – I am allowing (as I stated) a 2x monthly delivery of veggies.

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Well – everything was going great – until yesterday.  I had not spent one cent on food since that burger at Carney’s – 8 days before.  But, yesterday, I got bored.  I wanted to cook.  I wanted to post something on this blog.  So – I cheated & allowed myself a stop in the CRAZY inexpensive Thai market – Bangluck.   Shit is practically free in there but I still managed to spend $52.  Here is the bulk of what I got there:

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Those two jars of gluten look like lab specimens but I could not resist.  Each of those cans of varied mock meats are gluten & all cost under $2.  I bought that tofu above for under $2 each – far better than the price at Gelson’s – about a mile away – below.

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Drunk from my misbehavior & shopping orgy – I drove by Sacred Farts.  Yes.  Sacred Farts.

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I Googled it & I guess it is a dance & yoga studio.  Who knew?

Well, my will weakened, I decided to stop by Silom Market – also in Thai Town.  This place is super sketchy and always has a security guard at the front door.  Armed guard to protect bulk spices?  Sorta seems like Silom might be a front for something else – but I digress.   If you go there & decide to buy some of the fresh items they make & sell there – be sure to check ingredients.  By check – I mean GOOGLE.  Let me recount an experience I had there once.

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In the cooler section – they had what seemed to be a large selection of locally produced pre-made sauces & curries & pastes….sold in the lidded plastic containers delis use to sell you potato salad. I looked at a bunch of them, mouth watering as I thought of how authentic my dishes would taste if I used these expertly prepared flavorings.  I saw one that looked dark & spicy & read the ingredients

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Ingredients: Chili, onion, garlic, mangda, sugar, salt, fish, tamarind paste.  It was called Nam Prik Mang-da.  I love prik pao squid at my beloved Torung & this stuff looked like culinary gold.  I didn’t know what mangda was but wrote it off as an obscure name for a common thing – like my recent anise pepper experience.  $5.  Sold!

Upon closer inspection – I see these curries/pastes are made in-house at Silom!

When I got home – I Googled the name of the chili paste I just bought looking for culinary inspiration.  I was ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED when the search engine spat out its results.  Here – take a peek and see what MANGDA means – HERE.  Don’t look at the horseshoe crabs.  In fact – here is a stock photo of your garden variety MANGDA:

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Yes, folks.  Mangda means giant water bug!!!!!!  OMG!  I’m gagging just looking at that thing!  And I should have known better.  This isn’t my first time crossing paths with these fuckers.  No!  I pointed them out to you guys in my Bangluck Market post.  You can buy 4 of these guys whole, in the refrigerated section, for $4.49 – and they have 35 calories in the 4 together – 15 of which come from fat.  Yeah – they are nearly 50% fat.  Gag.  Needless to say – I threw the $5 container in the trash and pronto.

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So – I have learned to be a careful label reader in Thai markets.

Anyway – here are some new things I found at Silom:

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It is vegan & it is $5.  It didn’t seem very appetizing so I passed on it.

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 Vegan crispy balls?!  I have no idea what they are but I fucking BOUGHT some!

Then I found fresh, frozen jackfruit but I already had 4 cans from Bangluck – so I passed.

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That is how the stuff is displayed in the freezers at Silom.  I dug into one & pulled out a package almost totally obscured by frost.  I scraped it off & discovered this!

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Vegan strip steak!   And then I found this!

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I was VERY excited by these two discoveries but stopped my impulse to buy the entire stock before I had put them to the taste test.

I also bought keffir lime leaves & some other stuff  (some of the stuff below came from Bangluck):

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So – I dropped another $35.  And – when I got home – I realized I wanted red bell peppers for this beef dish so – I went to Gelson’s.  I had a $5 off a $25 purchase so – of course – I had to spend $25.  I filled my basket with what I guessed would just be $25 but I miscalculated.  It never crossed my mind that two red bell peppers would cost over $6!   I also bought the chorizo below.  Gelson’s has a sorta fun (if very expensive) selection of vegan things.  I bought the chorizo – but here are a few of the other vegan delights they offer.  Anyway – I dropped another $40.  So – there’s that.

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OK!  On to this Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles!!!  I added fresh noodles that I bought at Bangluck but this would go just as nicely over rice – or in lettuce wraps.  The revelation is this AMAZING S.P.A. vegan beef!  Read that nutrition label above.  Non-GMO soy protein.  This shit is guiltless and looks EXACTLY like slices of steak!  It is pretty innocuous in the flavor department so – like chicken – it kinda just takes on the flavors you add to it. HERE they are on Facebook.  I will DEFINITELY be buying more & more & more of this stuff.   Once my pantry challenge is over.

This dish is very easy & doesn’t use anything especially exotic.  I recommend it very highly!

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

SERVES 2 well

INGREDIENTS

A few TBS sesame oil (or olive oil)

7 (or more) ounces vegan beef

12 ounces fresh rice noodles (or cooked pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into strips

1/2 small onion – diced

2 jalapenos – diced

2 heads bok choy – cleaned (optional) & chopped a bit

5 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari) – plus extra

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp vegan oyster or mushroom sauce

1 TBS sambal oelek

1/2 tsp agave nectar (or brown sugar)

1 cup basil leaves (I used a mixture of Thai sweet basil & Thai holy basil but any basil will do – Thai ones being preferred)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

If using noodles – separate them under cold running water.  If using pasta or rice – cook it & set aside.

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I did not bother to defrost the beef.  It might be easier if you do.  Either way – heat the sesame oil (2 or 3 TBS) in a wok or large saute pan.  Cook the beef until it is seared on both sides.  Set aside.  (I only used 1/2 of the cooked beef in the noodle dish & reserved the rest for another recipe.)  I covered the beef while it cooked to hasted the defrosting.

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In the same pan – add a bit of olive (or sesame) oil & heat it.  Add the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.  Saute until soft.  Add all the other ingredients except the garlic & basil (and the garnish).  Heat the noodles & meat through & let the bok choy wilt.  I added a bit of extra liquid aminos here because I thought the dish needed a tad more salt & moisture.  This is your call.  Once the bok choy is wilted & the ingredients are well-combined – stir in the garlic & basil.

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Serve with cilantro & lime wedges!

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ugh – I am just having a shit couple of weeks.  The details are all, individually, mainly minor annoyances, disappointments & slights but – combined – they pack a wallop.   Add this to the triple-digit heat & the fact that I have no AC & you get a very despondent girl, thick with over-indulgence, self-pity & slimy sweat.  Ugh.

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So – at 7 am – I decided to get cooking – before it got too hot to do so.  My first effort was a mushroom & baby kale tofu frittata.   It looks OK there in the pan but it was, ultimately, very thin (less than half an inch deep) and would not have photographed well – so I ate some & saved the rest to add to my dogs’ dinner tonight.

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Next up, I wanted to use some stale French bread I had – so I attempted 4 little vegan maple-walnut bread puddings.  They started off looking promising – no?  But, even though I cooked them for nearly an hour – they never got crusty & when I let them cool, they collapsed in their centers & looked as defeated as I feel.  I tasted one.  Tasted good but they were definitely a no-go for the blog.

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By this time is was officially sizzling outside & I still wanted to make a blog entry – so – cold noodles!  These are really easy, really fast, customizable & light.  I added only 1 TBS of peanut butter to what would make 2 good-sized servings.  You can see that the noodles are not heavy with sauce – critical in whether like this.   I also added a good portion of spiralized cucumber noodles to lighten it up even more.   You can get these together in ten minutes.  I reviewed two different spiralizers in my Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes post but I recommend the less expensive hand held version seen below.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

Serves 2 very well.

INGREDIENTS

8.8 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained & run under cold water (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking)

Sesame oil

1 hothouse cucumber – spiralized (or cut into think matchsticks)

1 TBS tamari

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS ponzu sauce (or 2 TBS tamari & juice of 1/4 lemon)

1 TBS peanut butter

1 tsp sriracha for heat (optional)

GARNISH OPTIONS – sliced scallions, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sliiced red cabbage, black and/or white sesame seeds, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, chili flakes

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize (or slice up) the cucumber.  Cook the noodles.  Drain & run under cold when done (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking).

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, peanut butter & sriracha (if using).

Toss everything together & garnish with your selections.  Serve.

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5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken with Sesame Hibachi Noodles (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Holy fucking shit!  This 5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken is AWESOME!  Honestly, the sauce on them takes 5 minutes & will blow your socks off!  The noodles are more delicate in flavor & accompany the chicken well – and will take as long to cook as the package directs but this whole thing can be don in under 20 minutes.  These noodles are probably more authentically prepared with soba noodles but I just used this spaghetti here.

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I used the best faux chicken on the market – Beyond Meat.  Click that link to find a store locator & maybe grab a coupon!  I used vegan butter & I am pretty sure that vegetarian hoisin in vegan (I am not yet 100% vegan).  If you fear it is not – substitute with a vegan teriyaki sauce.

***NOTES – I used gochujang – a Korean spicy paste.  I see it at my local grocery store in the Asian section but you might have to go to a Korean market or buy it online.  It is like a thick & spicy ketchup.  One suggestion to substitute it is:

“Per tablespoon – Make a paste of 1 tablespoon red chilli pepper flakes moistened with soy sauce and add a little sugar. This will not replicate the complexity but a similar flavor profile.

HERE is another option to substitute using sambal oelek.

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Sesame Hibachi Noodles

Serves 4 (cut this recipe in half to match the chicken quantity – or just treat yourself to leftover yummy noodles)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb noodles (your choice of spaghetti or soba or linguine etc) – cooked & drained

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS brown sugar

2 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS hoisin sauce (or teriyaki sauce)

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS sesame oil

Sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles.

Meanwhile – heat the butter in a saute pan.  Add the garlic for one minute & then add sugar, hoisin (or teriyaki) and the crushed red pepper.  Bring to a boil & let it thicken a bit.  Add the sesame oil & then immediately toss with the drained, warm noodles

Sprinkle with sesame seeds & maybe extra crushed red pepper.

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5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken

Serves 2 (double this recipe to match the noodle quantity)

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan Beyond chicken – cubed

3 TBS agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (Again – I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS gochujang (see notes above)

1 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tsp sesame oil

Scallions – sliced – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Thaw & cube the chicken.

Put the rest of the ingredients (not the chicken) into a sauce pan & bring to a boil  Simmer a few minutes until it thickens – less than 5 minutes.  Add the chicken & cook until the sauce is thick & clinging to the chicken – maybe even letting a few bits brown or char.  Be careful not to burn it.

Garnish with scallions & serve with the noodles.  YUM!

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux) with Homemade Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The other day, I posted my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles – seen above – in the top photo under the one of me.  Today – I revisit Dan Dan – and, this time, I made it with Beyond Meat’s Feisty Beef-Free Crumbles – seen below.

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I changed the ingredients up a bit & I used a homemade chili oil.  Both Dan Dans were yummy – and the “meat” element could be interchanged.  I again used the Chinese pickled radish (where ya cai is called for  – or other Chinese preserved vegetables) – but, though this adds “authenticity,” I don’t think you need this ingredient – not really.  So lose it (if it is hard for you to find) – and make this comforting & yummy dish.

I used chow mein noodles this time but linguine or ramen or any pasta will do.

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Homemade Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

1 cup oil (I used half grapeseed oil & half olive oil but any lightly flavored oil will do)

1/4 cup crushed red pepper

2 star anise

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 TBS whole Szechuan peppercorns

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DIRECTIONS

Combine in a pan & heat until it boils – and turn off heat.  Let it sit until it cools.  With a slotted spoon, remove the star anise & the cinnamon.  Put in a jar & chill.

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Vegan Beef Dan Dan Noodles (Redux)

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb noodles (cooked as per directions)

2 heads Bok choy (optional)

for the meat

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

3-4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1 TBS sesame oil

2 tsp tahini

1 TBS chili bean sauce

2 tsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine (not vinegar)

1 tsp dark soy sauce (or regular or tamari)

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/3 cup ya cai or other preserved Chinese vegetables (optional)

4 garlic cloves – minced

for the sauce

2 TBS tahini

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari)

2 tsp sugar

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1/2 tsp ground anise or Szechuan peppercorns (I ground mine with a mortar & pestle)

2 TBS chili oil (recipe above) – more if you like spice & are not worried about the dish being more oily

2 garlic cloves – mined

1 cup vegetable stock or pasta water or water

GARNISH – red or green diced jalapeno, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

for the meat

Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan & add all the other ingredients.  Heat through & set aside on the lowest heat.

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for the sauce

Heat all the ingredients together & bring to a boil.  Set aside on lowest heat.

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Cook the noodles – adding the bok choy (if you are using it) to the final minute of the cooking pasta.

Drain & assemble the Dan Dan.

Ladle sauce into two bowls.  Top with noodles & bok choy & the meat mix.  Garnish.  Eat.  Rejoice

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Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles

2 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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bathingandthesinglegirlcover

vromans-back

OK – I had never heard of Dan Dan noodles but they are, it seems, a Chinese staple & even on the menu at P.F. Chang’s.  I began researching recipes & they seem to vary a lot – going from a pho-like soup to a drier noodle dish.  Spices varied a lot but they all seemed to have a preserved vegetable thing in them.  I went on Amazon looking for “ya cai” (preserved mustard greens) or “tianjin” (preserved cabbage).  I thought I bought some of one or the other but this is what showed up.

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So – fuck it.  That is what I used.  I used light & dark soy sauces but regular would likely be fine.

You really should use Szechuan pepper (anise) and dried red chilies for the heat & flavor factors.

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And I used this chili oil – which is not the right kind.  I will be making my own chili oil today so I can try a new version of Dan Dan tomorrow!

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I used these fresh egg noodles – but any noodle would work.  If you are vegan, obviously, egg noodles are NG.  Use fettuccine or ramen or chow mein noodles – or whatever you prefer.

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The revelation here is the jackfruit – above.  I had seen it used online in recipes for pulled chicken & pork but I had no idea where to find it.  Then, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spied an entire shelf of the stuff.  That can cost about $1.40.

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Wikipedia says, “The jackfruit, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Goa, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length, and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.[9]

The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Ethiopia, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil, west-central Mexico, and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices, in Bihar, Jharkhand, Sri Lankan, Andhran, eastern Indian (Bengali) and (Odisha) and Keralan cuisines. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian populations.”

(these two images below of the jackfruit tree & the split fruit were stolen from Google)

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jack-fruit

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So – excited – I bought a can.  I was planning on making a Dan Dan recipe with Beyond Meat beefy crumbles but I HAD to try this jackfruit immediately – so – I made Jackfruit Dan Dan.  I opened the can & it looks like that above.  But, it is thready & breaks down the way chicken & other meats do.  Look at these images of cooked jackfruit.  Convincing – no?

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(above from the Chow Vegan)

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(above from Food 52)

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Jackfruit is the greatest Goddamn thing ever!  Look HERE to see the health benefits – including glowing skin & hair growth – low in calories & zero fat!  Genius!

*Here is a little tip I read today about fresh noodles: if you are using fresh noodles (even fresh spaghetti or whatever) – steam it for 5 minutes & then boil it.  The steaming gives the noodles a chewier texture – more like ramen.  I tried it.  It worked.

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Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb noodles of choice (if using fresh noodles – see the *tip above)

Bok choy

for the “meat”

1 (10 oz) can of jackfruit (in water or brine – NOT syrup)

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

3 dry red chilies – cut the top off & shake the seeds out & discard the seeds

1/2 tsp whole Szechuan pepper corns

2 TBS preserved vegetable (ya cai or tianjin, ideally, or the preserved radish I used and I used all 3.5 ounces in the packet)

2 TBS light soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

for the sauce

1 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns (I crushed mine with a mortar & pestle)

4 tsp tahini sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TBS dark soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

1 TBS light soy sauce (or low sodium or regular or tamari)

1 TBS chili oil

2 garlic cloves – mined

1/2 cup water (reserved pasta water is best)

for the garnish

chopped scallions, crushed peanuts, Thai basil or cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

For the sauce – mix the sauce ingredients – except the water.  Add the water from the pasta pan after you cook the pasta.  Or – just use hot tap water & make it all at once & set aside.

For the meat – heat the oil in a pan & add the Szechuan & red chili peppers for one minute.  Then add everything else & heat it through.  Smash the jackfruit up until it looks like pulled chicken or pork.  Set on the lowest heat & set aside.

If using fresh noodles – steam them for 5 minutes then put them in boiling water – adding the bok choy – and cook for about a minute or until it is done.  If you were waiting to add pasta water to the sauce – do that now & drain the rest.

If using dry noodles – cook according to instructions – adding the bok choy when the pasta is about one minute from being ready.   If you were waiting to add pasta water to the sauce – do that now & drain the rest.

Ladle some sauce into two bowls, add noodles & top with the jackfruit.

Garnish & eat it all up.

And look back here soon – because I will make another version of this presently.

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