Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

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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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This is really easy & does not use any ingredients that are especially exotic.  I added WAY too many hot peppers & blasted my face off with this one – so – I will recommend using less spice here than I did.  I used Gardein Beefless Tips that I found in the freezer section of my local Ralph’s.  You can use these or any other meat replacement you prefer.  The ratio of veggies is an entirely personal one.  You can take my suggestions or wing it – or just go straight beef & rice.  Your call.  But it is easy & bursting with flavor!

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Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Serves 4 with cooked rice

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice of your choice

2 TBS coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

9 oz meatless beef – defrosted

2 cups broccoli florets

2 bell peppers – seeded & cut into strips

3 carrots – chopped

1 leek or medium onion – chopped

1 large zucchini – chopped

4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1-2 jalapenos or serranos (seeded to lessen the heat) – or to taste – diced

1-3 tsp cornstarch (optional)

for the sauce

2 TBS vegan oyster-flavored or mushroom-flavored sauce

1 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS minced garlic

2 TBS chili garlic sauce (or sambal oelek)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)

1 TBS dark soy sauce

1 tsp chili oil

1 TBS sesame oil

1 TBS dark berry jam (or molasses or brown sugar)

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INSTRUCTIONS

Cook the rice & set aside.

Mix the sauce & pour it into the bag with the faux beef & smoosh it around to marinate.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large fry pan.  I added the leeks & carrots & mushrooms first – because they take the longest to soften.

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Add the fest of the produce.  Broccoli & zucchini cook fastest – so I added them last.  Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, stir in the beef & marinade.  You might want to add a bit of water – but not much.  If the sauce feels too thin – whisk in a tsp of cornstarch.  Mine did not need it but yours might.  Toss to heat through & serve with rice.

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Vegan Spicy Szechuan Green Beans with Minced Pork

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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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So – I came across several kinds of canned seitan (seen above) at my favorite Thai market – Bangluck.  I used the first can (on the left) in my Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups (below) & it was a huge success.

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Today – I wanted to use one of them for my Green Beans & Minced Pork.  I looked at the calorie count of each of the two remaining cans and was surprised to see a huge calorie disparity despite the fact that the ingredients list is identical.

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So – since the “roast duck” had fewer calories – I used that one.  Despite the image on the can – it looked exactly like the fried gluten one did.  I have not opened the third can yet but I suspect it is just more of the same but – somehow – with more than twice the calories – so – I likely  will feed it to my dogs & just use the others in the future.  I man – see below?  First image below is the fried pork & the second is the duck.

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Same thing.  Canned seitan in water.  So – for this dish, you could use canned & drained seitan or your favorite brand of seitan  – or even a faux beef like Beyond Meat’s Beefless Crumbles (or other brand of ground beef).  The flavors in this dish are very strong & will take over the dish.  You could even use Beyond Meat’s chickenless strips.  No matter.

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I served this with my newest rice discover – Thai Rice Berry (black jasmine) rice.

I saw this new rice at my favorite Thai grocery store – Bangluck.   $10 for 5 pounds – so I could not resist.  I looked it up online & found THIS:

Riceberry  Rice is the new variety of rice that has been bred in Thailand. The rice is deep purple in colour; this rich dark colour is typical of plants that yield high nutrition. Rice berry rice is cross pollination of three hardy and loved rice strains; they are:

  • Thai Hom Mali Race – also known as fragrant jasmine rice, the highest quality and most sort after rice in the world, after cooking it retains its structure but takes on a soft fluffy consistency.
  • Hom Nin Rice – has well known and documented antioxidant properties, but this grain can become a little chewy if it isn’t cooked through.
  • Khao Dawk Mali 105 – a hardy seed which will grow in a broad range of agricultural environments.

The cross-pollination of these three rice plants has resulted in Riceberry Rice, a new and exciting rice variety. Riceberry takes on the best attributes of each of the grains that were used in its inception. The light fluffy texture and flavour from Thai jasmine rice, high in minerals and antioxidants from Hom Nin rice and hardy and high yield characteristics of Khao Dawk Mali 105.

Riceberry Rice Nutrition Profile

Riceberry rice is rich in many antioxidant that help our immune system stay healthy. It contains significant levels of:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Gama Oryzanol
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • Tannin
  • Zinc
  • Fiber
  • Bran Oil

These antioxidants, vitamins and minerals give riceberry rice a nutrition profile that is relatively unique. The dark purple colour it matures signifies it high nutrition content and gives it a unique appearance when served.

The rice is also extremely high in fiber and bran oil, this natural aids digestion and helps keep the stomach free from disease.

Thai Rice Glycemic Index

Riceberry rice has been graded as low-medium in the glycemic index. The abundant fiber and bran oil which it contains helps to reduce the risks of diabetes by hindering the absorption of sugars into the blood through the stomach. It also helps the pancreas function better.

– See more at: http://www.thenaturalhealthmarket.co.uk/riceberry-organic#sthash.388tjdGM.dpuf

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This green bean dish is very easy.  I used fresh green beans & loads of spices.  You could use frozen green beans but I think canned ones will just become mush.

Vegan Spicy Szechuan Green Beans with Minced Pork

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

10+ oz seitan (or other faux meat)

1 lb green beans – trimmed & cut in half

1 TBS olive oil

2-3 TBS cornstarch

1-6 cloves garlic – minced (I used 6)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (according to your taste for heat)

2-3 TBS liquid amino acids (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)

1-6 dry red chilies (VERY spicy & VERY optional) – cut in half (I used 6)

GARNISH – cooked rice, sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice.

Mince the faux meat & toss with the cornstarch.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan & add the rest of the ingredients – EXCEPT THE GARLIC.

Stir to combine.  If using fresh green beans – add about 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil & cover for 3-5 minutes or until the green beans are cooked to your taste.  Frozen beans won’t need this step but you can still add water if your sauce cooks off too much or the meat sticks to the pan too much.

When it all seems warmed through & the sauce is thick – toss in the garlic & stir for one minute.  Serve with rice.

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Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles

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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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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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