The Chinese Vegan Kitchen (9 page)

BOOK: The Chinese Vegan Kitchen
13.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

The Asian-Indian influence upon Southwestern China is apparent in these savory saffron-scented little cakes, delicious dipped in your favorite sauce as a snack, or as an accompaniment to tofu or vegetable dishes in lieu of steamed rice or noodles.

MAKES ABOUT 24 CAKES

2 cups water

3

4
cup plus 2 tablespoons (14 tablespoons) coconut milk

2 pinches saffron threads

1

4
teaspoon ground turmeric

1
1

2
cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

1

2
teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1

3
cup sesame seeds

2 tablespoons canola oil

Basic Dipping Sauce (
page 9
) or other dipping sauce (optional)

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring the water, coconut milk, saffron, and turmeric to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, sesame oil, salt, and pepper; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid, 17 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly oil a 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Add the scallions to the hot rice and toss well to combine. Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared baking dish; using a spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon, press the rice to evenly spread. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the rice. Let cool to room temperature.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cooled rice mixture and press firmly. Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours, or up to 1 day. Uncover and cut into about 24 squares, triangles, diamonds, etc.

To make the rice cakes, in a large nonstick skillet, heat half the canola oil over medium heat. Add half the rice cakes and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a holding plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and rice cakes. Serve at once, seed-coated side up, with Basic Dipping Sauce, if desired.

{PER SERVING} (per cake, or
1

24
of recipe) Calories 83 • Protein 2g • Total Fat 5g • Sat Fat 2g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 9g • Dietary Fiber 0g • Sodium 54mg

{VARIATION}

To enjoy Saffron-Scented Coconut Rice to serve 6, steam the rice as directed in the recipe. Stir in half the amount of scallions and remove the saucepan from heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and serve at once.

Baked Taiwanese-Style Five-Spice Tofu and Vegetable Spring Rolls

A healthful blend of ready-made five-spice tofu, vegetables, and spices, these baked spring rolls are delicious and crunchy without the standard deep-frying. Well-drained regular extra-firm tofu can replace the baked flavored variety, if necessary; in this instance, add
1

4
teaspoon of five-spice powder after the sugar. Sauerkraut, which is pickled cabbage, can replace the pickled turnips,
if desired. Peanut powder is available in Asian markets and health food stores—in a pinch, make your own by grinding skinned unsalted roasted peanuts in a food processor or spice grinder, or pounding in an old-fashioned mortar and pestle, as I do.

MAKES 12 SPRING ROLLS

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 ounces packaged baked flavored five-spice tofu or Baked Five-Spice Seasoned Tofu (
page 113
), finely diced

1 cup coleslaw mix

1 cup mung bean sprouts

2 tablespoons chopped pickled turnips or other pickled vegetables, rinsed and drained

2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon peanut powder

1

2
tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste, or to taste (optional)

3 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 (5-inch-square) soft wheat flour spring roll wrappers, thawed if frozen

1

2
tablespoon cornstarch mixed with
1

2
tablespoon water

Duck sauce, plum sauce, sweet chili sauce, or other dipping sauce, to serve

Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Lightly oil a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add the tofu, coleslaw mix, sprouts, and pickled vegetables; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are largely reduced in volume, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the scallions, cilantro, peanut powder, oyster sauce, chili paste (if using), 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

Lay a spring roll wrapper in front of you so that it forms a diamond shape. Using your finger, wet all the edges with the cornstarch mixture. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling near the bottom. Fold the lower corner edge up to cover the filling. Fold in the sides, and roll up tightly, burrito-style. Seal the top with the cornstarch mixture. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Arrange spring rolls in a single layer, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops evenly with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Bake in the center of the oven until tops are lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Turn over and brush with remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Bake an additional 4 to 6 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Serve at once, with the dipping sauce passed separately. Alternatively, spring rolls may be kept warm in a preheated 200F (95C) oven for up to 1 hour. (Completely cooled spring rolls can be placed in resealable plastic freezer bags and frozen up to 3 months before reheating in a moderate oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

{PER SERVING} (per roll, without sauce) Calories 67 • Protein 2g • Total Fat 3g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 8g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 79mg

Fried Cantonese-Style Tofu and Vegetable Spring Rolls

I like to serve these dark, meaty, Cantonese-style spring rolls with leftover packets of hot mustard and duck sauce from Chinese take-out. Feel free to use this recipe as a model for your favorite fillings—coleslaw mix, broccoli slaw, cilantro, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, pickled vegetables, and canned straw mushrooms are some suggestions. You’ll need about 1 cup of cooked filling per 1 dozen spring rolls.

MAKES 24 SPRING ROLLS

2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine, dry sherry, sake, or dry white wine

1

2
tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus additional for deep-frying

1

2
pound extra-firm tofu, drained well, patted dry, and finely diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water to cover 20 minutes, or until softened, rinsed, drained, squeezed dry, stemmed, chopped

1

2
medium red bell pepper (about 3 ounces), chopped

1 cup shredded Napa or green cabbage

1 cup mung bean sprouts

4 Chinese garlic chives or 2 scallion greens, chopped

1

4
cup shredded carrots

24 (5-inch) soft wheat flour spring roll wrappers, thawed if frozen

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Duck sauce, hot mustard, sweet chili sauce, or other dipping sauce, to serve

In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and cornstarch until well blended; set aside. Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towel; set aside.

In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cabbage, bean sprouts, garlic chives, and carrots; cook, stirring constantly, until largely reduced in volume, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the oyster sauce mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until heated through and thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes, tossing a few times.

Lay a spring roll wrapper in front of you so that it forms a diamond shape. Using your finger, wet all the edges with the cornstarch mixture. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling near the bottom, leaving any accumulated liquid behind in the wok. Fold the lower corner edge up to cover the filling. Fold in the sides, and roll up tightly, burrito-style. Seal the top with the cornstarch mixture. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

In a small, heavy-bottomed, deep-sided skillet, heat about
1

2
inch of oil over medium heat. When a small bit of filling can sizzle (after about 5 minutes of preheating), reduce the heat to medium-low and add about 6 rolls. Cook until light golden and
crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining rolls. Serve at once, with the dipping sauce passed separately. Alternatively, spring rolls may be kept warm in a preheated 200F (95C) oven for up to 1 hour. (Completely cooled spring rolls can be placed in resealable plastic freezer bags and frozen up to 3 months before reheating in a moderate oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

{PER SERVING} (per roll, without sauce, based on
1

4
cup peanut oil absorbed during frying) Calories 68 • Protein 2g • Total Fat 4g • Sat Fat 1g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 7g • Dietary Fiber 1g • Sodium 149mg

Stir-Fried Water Chestnuts in Sichuan Sauce

Water chestnuts are aquatic vegetables that grow in marshes. Sweet and crunchy, they make a delightful contrast to the spicy and smooth Sichuan sauce in the following recipe, perfect as a party appetizer or first course. If possible, purchase the fresh variety for a special taste sensation.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

2 cups sliced fresh water chestnuts (see Cook’s Tip, below) or rinsed and drained canned sliced water chestnuts

2 teaspoons peanut oil

2 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced

3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Sichuan sauce

2 tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups torn or shredded Napa cabbage leaves or shredded green cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

In a medium stockpot filled with boiling salted water, add the water chestnuts (fresh or canned) and cook 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the scallions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute, or until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium and add the water chestnuts, Sichuan sauce, broth, sugar, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage and carrots until well combined. To serve, line a serving platter or 4 individual serving plates with the cabbage mixture and top with equal amounts of the water chestnut mixture. Garnish with the reserved scallion greens and serve at once.

{PER SERVING} Calories 124 • Protein 3g • Total Fat 3g • Sat Fat 0g • Cholesterol 0mg • Carbohydrate 23g • Dietary Fiber 4g • Sodium 48mg

{COOK’S TIP}

If using fresh water chestnuts, they should be firm, with a smooth skin and no soft spots. To remove the skin or soft outer shell, cut off the top and bottom of each water chestnut with a sharp knife, and then cut around the sides until all the skin is removed. Peeled water chestnuts can be immersed in fresh water and refrigerated, covered, up to one week; however, the water must be changed daily.

Chinese Summer Vegetable Rolls

These no-cook delights are popular in southern China, where the summer heat often reaches tropical levels. Use the following recipe as a model for your favorite vegetable combinations. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free tamari sauce in lieu of standard soy sauce, which contains wheat. Dry round rice paper wrappers, also known as spring roll skins, are available in Asian markets and some well-stocked supermarkets; they need to be rehydrated in water before using.

MAKES 16 TO 18 ROLLS

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

BOOK: The Chinese Vegan Kitchen
13.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Return to Hendre Ddu by Siân James
La tercera mentira by Agota Kristof
Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan
Hide and Seek by Jeff Struecker
Destination Unknown by Katherine Applegate
El pozo de la muerte by Lincoln Child Douglas Preston
Casca 9: The Sentinel by Barry Sadler