Saturday, January 9, 2010

General Desdemona's Sesame Orange Soy Curls

A few weeks ago, my partner and his daughter cooked up a big batch of the famous VegWeb recipe for General Tao's Tofu - for some reason, we had never made this before, but it was so good that we immediately vowed to have it again soon, possibly adapted in an orange-sesame version. The other day I was craving Chinese food and thought "tonight's the night!" The only potential difficulty was that we were out of tofu, but it occurred to me that soy curls might make an interesting substitution, so I whipped up what seemed like a suitable marinade and left them to soak all afternoon - by the time I was ready to cook they had absorbed a lot of flavor, so my hopes were high. I mostly followed the recipe, the main changes being that I used the marinade for the liquid, and added some sesame seeds to the sauce. The soy curls fry up faster than tofu, and I'd recommend that you cook them in a few batches rather than all at once, so they all have a chance to get nice and crispy without crowding each other too much. It actually came together quite fast - if you put the rice on when you start cooking, and steam or stirfry some veggies towards the end, you should be able to have a delicious dinner that's all ready at the same time. I must admit that this dinner left me feeling pretty pleased with myself - I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I put this away with the appetite and stomach of a king!

General Desdemona's Sesame Orange Soy Curls
The Soy Curls
~ 2 cups soy curls
~ 2 cups orange juice
~ 2 cups vegetable broth
~ 1 tsp. each: garlic powder, toasted sesame oil
~ 1/2-1 tsp. hot chili oil (or 1 tbsp. hot sauce)
~ 1 tbsp. soy sauce

~ Mix the juice, broth and seasonings in a large beaker, bowl or pot. Add the soy curls, then cover and bring to a boil (about 4 minutes in the microwave, probably a minute or so more on the stovetop).
~ Leave covered and set aside for at least an hour; I left mine 3-4 hours, and highly recommend you do the same if possible.

The Other Stuff
~ Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Bob's Red Mill)
~ 3/4 cup cornstarch
~ Vegetable oil for frying
~ 6 chopped green onions
~ 2 tbsp. minced ginger
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
~ Reserved soy curl marinade and enough additional stock to make 2 cups, if necessary
~ 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
~ 2 tbsp. agave syrup
~ Red pepper flakes to taste
~ 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
~ 4 tbsp. cold water
~ 2 tbsp. corn starch

~ Drain the soy curls in a colander, reserving the extra marinade. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean tea towel and set aside.
~ Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add an additional 6 tablespoons water.
~ Dip the soy curls in the egg replacer/water mixture and coat completely. Place them in a large bowl (preferably one with a lid) and sprinkle some of the cornstarch on top. I did this in 3 batches, so after each addition of cooked soy curls I sprinkled on more corn starch, covered the bowl and shook it around to make sure they were completely coated.
~ Heat oil in a large skillet or wok and fry the soy curls until golden. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
~ Drain all but about 2 tbsps. of oil from the pan, and return to medium heat.
~ Add the green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes.
~ Add the sesame seeds and cook about a minute, stirring constantly so they don't burn. Pour in the marinade mixture, soy sauce, agave, red pepper flakes, and vinegar, then stir to combine thoroughly.
~ In a small bowl, mix the 4 tbsp. water with the 2 tbsp. cornstarch and pour into the sauce, stirring well until it thickens.
~ Add the soy curls and stir to coat; continue cooking another few minutes so that everything is just heated through.
~ Serve with steamed broccoli and/or stir-fried vegetables (we had garlicky broccoli and eggplant) over white or brown rice.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These are INCREDIBLE! So satisfying and rich, and I love how the soaking liquid is re-purposed into the luscious, sweet glaze, rather than discarded as with other recipes.

    Thank you for the ingenuity! ~VeganVamp