The Chinese Vegan Kitchen (8 page)

BOOK: The Chinese Vegan Kitchen
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{VARIATION}

To make Chinese Dessert Crepes, add 2 tablespoons sugar when you combine the flour and salt. Replace the sesame oil with canola oil. Prepare as otherwise directed in the recipe. Fill with Sweet Red Bean Paste (
page 182
), Coconut Jam (
page 177
), or your other favorite fillings and fruit, etc.

Scallion Pancakes

I adore these savory pancakes. Serve them with soups, stews, and salads to create a light supper, or use them as a bed for your favorite stir-fries and tofu dishes in lieu of rice or noodles.

MAKES 4 PANCAKES; 8 TO 12 APPETIZER SERVINGS

2 cups all-purpose flour

1

4
teaspoon table salt

1 cup just-boiled water

3 tablespoons canola oil, plus additional, as needed

1 tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

1

2
cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only

2 tablespoons black or regular sesame seeds, toasted, if desired (optional)

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Garlic Chive–Ginger Dipping Sauce (below)

In a large bowl, combine the flour and table salt. Slowly add just-boiled water in a steady stream while stirring constantly in one direction with a wooden spoon (to keep bowl in place, wrap a kitchen towel around the bottom). When the flour absorbs the water and cools, knead the dough with floured fingers directly in the bowl into a slightly sticky ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes. Alternatively, combine the flour and table salt in a food processor fitted with the knife blade; with the motor running, slowly add just-boiled water and process until a slightly sticky ball forms. Transfer to a large bowl and knead briefly with floured fingers. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and sesame oil. Set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle, about the size of a standard baking sheet. Brush on oil mixture; sprinkle evenly with the scallions, sesame seeds (if using), sea salt, and pepper. Starting at one long side, carefully roll up the dough to encase the filling. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll and stretch each piece into a longer cylinder. Take one piece and twist in 3 places, keeping the filling in place; reshape into a cylinder. Coil each piece to form a spiral, pinching end in to keep in place. Press spiral with your palm to flatten it; using a rolling pin, roll out into a pancake 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Repeat process with remaining pieces.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a large nonstick skillet, heat
1

2
tablespoon of remaining canola oil slightly above medium heat. Working with 1 pancake at a time, place pancake in skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining canola oil and pancakes, adjusting the heat as needed.

Cut each pancake into 6 pieces. Serve immediately with Garlic Chive–Ginger Dipping Sauce on the side.

{PER SERVING} (per
1

2
pancake without sauce) Calories 176 • Protein 3g • Total Fat 7g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 24g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 335mg

GARLIC CHIVE–GINGER DIPPING SAUCE

Use this dipping sauce for dumplings, pot stickers, steamed buns, and spring rolls. Scallion greens can replace the Chinese garlic chives, if desired.

MAKES ABOUT
3

4
CUP

1

4
cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1

4
cup plain rice wine vinegar

1

4
cup chopped garlic chives or green parts of scallions

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

2 teaspoons sugar

1

2
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Serve at room temperature. Sauce can be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 day before returning to room temperature and serving.

{PER SERVING} (per tablespoon) Calories 8 • Protein 0g • Total Fat 0g • Sat Fat 0g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 2g • Dietary Fiber 0g • Sodium 201mg

Crispy Noodle Pancake

Serve this crispy noodle pancake on its own as a snack or appetizer, or as a bed for countless stir-fried vegetable and tofu dishes. If at all possible, try to use fresh eggless lo mein noodles, available in the refrigerated or frozen section of Asian markets, often labeled “plain noodles.” Dried lo mein noodles, known as lao mian or ban mian in Mandarin, or lou mihn in Cantonese, are typically egg-free.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

1

3
pound lo mein or other thin, egg-free Chinese wheat noodles, cooked according to package directions until al dente, drained and rinsed under cold running water, drained well

1
1

2
teaspoons toasted (dark) sesame oil

1

4
teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion greens

1 to 1
1

2
teaspoons Chinese chili paste

1 tablespoon peanut oil

Basic Dipping Sauce (
page 9
) or other dipping sauce

In a large bowl, combine the noodles, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and salt, tossing until noodles are thoroughly coated. Add the scallion greens and chili paste, tossing well to combine.

Preheat the oven to broil. Set the oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heating element.

In a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the peanut oil over medium-low heat, swirling to evenly coat the bottom. Add the noodle mixture, pressing down firmly with a spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to form a pancake. Raise the heat to medium and cook until crisp and golden on the bottom, 7 to 9 minutes, brushing the top with the remaining
1

2
teaspoon of sesame oil the last few minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler; broil until top is crisp and golden, 5 to 7 minutes, turning the skillet occasionally to promote even browning.

Loosen the underside of the pancake, working a spatula carefully under and around the entire circumference; carefully slide onto a large serving plate. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into desired number of slices. Serve at once, with the dipping sauce passed separately.

{PER SERVING} (per
1

4
of recipe, without sauce) Calories 186 • Protein 5g • Total Fat 6g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 29g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 137mg

Pickled Chinese Long Beans

These appetizing pickled long beans, or snake beans, are based on a family recipe for “sour pods” submitted by Ecksyoo, whose bright smile and blithe spirit lit up English corner on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during my first semester at Yali. These beans make piquant and crunchy additions to relish trays, stir-fries, rice, noodles, soups, and congees. Green beans can replace the long beans, if necessary.

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

1

2
pound Chinese long beans, trimmed, cut into
1

2
-inch pieces

1 cup cider vinegar

3

4
cup water

1

2
cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 to 4 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the long beans 30 seconds; drain and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain and set aside.

Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a brisk simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Place drained long beans and peppers, if using, in a 26- to 32-ounce clean glass jar. Add the vinegar mixture, seal tightly, and refrigerate a minimum of 5 days, or up to several weeks. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

{PER SERVING} (per 1/8 of recipe) Calories 68 • Protein 1g • Total Fat 0g • Sat Fat 0g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 18g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 270mg

Roasted Five-Spice Peanuts

Jazz up countless rice, noodle, and stir-fried dishes with these tasty morsels. Almonds or cashews can replace the peanuts, if desired.

MAKES 2 CUPS

2 tablespoons orange marmalade, preferably a Chinese variety

4 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari sauce

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

2 cups unsalted peanuts, without skins

Preheat oven to 250F (120C). Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the marmalade, water, soy sauce, and five-spice powder until thoroughly blended. Place the peanuts in a medium bowl and add half the marmalade mixture; toss until thoroughly coated. Transfer peanuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake on the middle oven rack 30 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle peanuts with the remaining marmalade mixture; toss well to thoroughly coat. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until golden and dry. Toss the peanuts well and immediately transfer to a plate, spreading in a single layer to cool. Serve at room temperature. Completely cooled peanuts can be stored in an airtight container for a few weeks at room temperature, or for several weeks in the refrigerator.

{PER SERVING} (per
1

4
cup) Calories 223 • Protein 10g • Total Fat 18g • Sat Fat 3g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 11g • Dietary Fiber 4g • Sodium 55mg

Sichuan-Style Marinated Green Bell Peppers

Serve these scrumptious peppers by themselves as an appetizer or side dish, or toss them with hot cooked rice or noodles, garnished with chopped peanuts or cashews, for a satisfying main meal.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

1 tablespoon peanut oil

4 large green bell peppers (about 8 ounces each), cut into bite-size chunks

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar

1

2
teaspoon Chinese hot oil, or to taste (optional)

1

2
teaspoon sugar

1

2
teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook, stirring frequently, 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned and slightly charred. Add soy sauce and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Transfer to a large shallow bowl and add the remaining ingredients, tossing well to thoroughly combine. Let cool to room temperature, stirring a few times. Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours or up to 3 days and serve chilled, or return to room temperature.

{PER SERVING} Calories 91 • Protein 2g • Total Fat 4g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 13g • Dietary Fiber 3g • Sodium 420mg

Baked Tofu Nuggets

While these make excellent appetizers to dip in hoisin and other savory sauces, you can also use this basic recipe whenever plain baked tofu is required. Feel free to toss the tofu with your favorite spices—such as Chinese five-spice, cumin, or fennel—before baking, or your favorite herbs—such as cilantro, basil, or chives—after baking.

MAKES 6 TO 8 APPETIZER SERVINGS OR 4 MAIN DISH SERVINGS

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained

1

2
tablespoon canola oil

1

2
tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

Salt, to taste (optional)

Hoisin Sauce (
page 116
), Quick Spicy Hoisin Sauce (
page 140
), prepared hoisin, or other favorite dipping sauce, to serve

Place the tofu on a deep-sided plate or shallow bowl. Top with a second plate and weight with a heavy can. Let stand for a minimum of 15 minutes (preferably 1 hour). Drain off the excess water. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F (205C). Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the canola oil and sesame oil. Add the tofu cubes and salt, if using, tossing well to thoroughly coat. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes, turning the tofu halfway through cooking time. Serve warm, with the hoisin sauce passed separately for dipping.

{PER SERVING} (without sauce) Calories 78 • Protein 6g • Total Fat 6g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 1g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 5mg

Saffron-Scented Coconut Rice Cakes with Sesame Seeds

BOOK: The Chinese Vegan Kitchen
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