VB thinks Chinese food is sauteed garlic with some vegetables. Unfortunately, that's generally true, unless you go to a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. There you'll find lots of "mock meat" items. I like mock meat as long as it is flavorful and tastes somewhat like the real deal. To me, this stewed mock meat dish tastes very similar to the meaty version.
- 8 slices of vegetarian smoked ham
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 block of firm bean curd, cut into 8 equal slices
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 1 dried chili pepper
- 4 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of vegetarian shacha sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 slices of fresh ginger root
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1 cup of hot water
- 2 cups of water
In a large shallow skillet or a wok, pan fry bean curd slices, vegetarian smoked ham slices and mushroom caps until slightly golden. Remove. Stack ham, mushroom and bean curd and secure with cotton string.
In a medium pot, saute ginger root, chili pepper, star anise pods and mushroom stems until fragrant, about 2 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, vegetarian oyster sauce, vegetarian shacha sauce, soy sauce, five spice powder, pepper and sugar. Cook until the mixture boils. Add previously assembled stacks back into the pot. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
I really like the basic flavors of this dish. The combination of sauces and aromatics can be used on other ingredients like seitan. Next time, I may just use seitan and mushrooms instead of the vegetarian meat and bean curd.
We also had scallion pancakes and ma po tofu for dinner. I'm not very happy with how the scallion pancakes turned out. So no recipe for now. As for the ma po tofu, I can't take any credit for it. The sauce came from a pouch. Normally I'd make everything from scratch, but a little help from the store is nice every now and then.