Szechuan Style Sunday Supper
post by Betsy Carson
As a young child, when my parents took us out for dinner we would drive the 13 miles from Rockland County south into NYC to a place called Tein Sein on 125th street. The meal was always Dumplings and Hot and Sour Soup. On Chinese New Year and other special occasions, we’d ride all the way down into Chinatown. My parents were artists with five kids who had relocated from San Francisco, a city with Its own vibrant, Chinese community, so they knew where to go for tasty, affordable food, and they were willing to travel for it. These outings were always great fun.
Flash forward to 2015 and my love of spicy, sweet and salty foods remains and I’ve been lucky enough to learn from some of the best vegan chefs in the country whenever I work on the Vegan Mashup television series. These chefs have inspired me over and over again to get up from editing the show, bop into the kitchen, and try their recipes on the spot. And most recently, while my other half (and head cook in our family) has been working a full-time job, I have taken over the cutting board in order to keep us both nourished.
After a particularly great meal at a new local Cantonese joint in Portland, Maine, I became inspired to see if I could replicate a couple of their delicious vegan dishes. Since I was hankering for some spicy Szechuan flavor in my diet, I picked up a package of Gardein Szechuan’beefless tips‘, you can easily use Tofu if you prefer, and so, here is my vegan take on a very popular dish that everyone will like, even the kids! And just in case you think this is going to be complicated and have you fussing over a hot stove, this gem of a recipe is great for weeknights because it’s so darn easy to put together. Savory sweet with a little spice … vegan yum!
(And stay tuned … I’ll share my version of scrumptious Kale Noodles next time.)
1 package of firm tofu, 1” cubes or
1 package Gardein Szechuan ‘beef tips’
3 tablespoon high heat veg oil
1 lb. asparagus, chopped into 2” pieces (or snow peas or broccoli florets)
4 stalks celery, julienne or sliced
2 carrots, julienne or sliced
2 scallions, julienne or sliced
1” fresh ginger, chopped
4 tablespoons Tamari
1 tablespoon vegan sugar
½ teaspoon cracked white pepper
3 tablespoons non-GMO corn starch
3 tablespoons jarred Hoisin Sauce
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) of cayenne pepper
Cook your rice first. I use Haiga white rice which Miyoko Schinner introduced me to. It’s a little healthier than regular white rice, cooks fast and makes a great sticky rice. Or you can use jasmine or brown if you prefer.
Next, mix up marinade in a big enough bowl for the tofu and marinate for 10 minutes or longer.
If you’re using the Gardein Beefless Tips it comes with a sauce. But I like to add some of my own.
Heat a wok or cast iron pan on medium-high for 15 to 20 minutes before your rice is cooked.
When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the Tofu or Gardein ‘beef tips’ for 3 minutes on each side. And place in a bowl.
To the hot pan add asparagus pieces and stir, then add up to a ¼ cup of water and cover to steam for 4 minutes.
Add carrots and celery mix and cover to steam-cook the vegetables for an additional 3 minutes.
Stir and scrape off the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add a tablespoon of additional water, if needed, to loosen.
Now add back in the marinated tofu or Gardein Beefless tips and stir gently to combine. When the vegetables are crisp-tender, add the sauce from the packet that comes with the ‘beefless tips.’
Mix everything very well — and you’re now ready to serve over your hot, sticky rice.
Betsy Carson is the producer of Delicious TV.
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