Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lolo's Crispy Sweet & Sour Seitan

When I was thinking about what I was gonna' fix for lunch today, I knew that I wanted to make something from the beef-style seitan that I made this past weekend. And it really wasn't hard to decide which recipe to use because there's one that's been going around the message boards and it seems like everybody and their brother has been making it and loved it. So, last night, I finally got around to making the Crispy Sweet & Sour Seitan from Lolo's VeganYumYum blog, which just so happens to be one of my favorite vegan blogs. If you don't already know about it (heck, you've probably already made it, I feel like I'm the only vegan on the planet who hasn't made it yet) it's supposedly a very accurate clone of a dish served at a certain restaurant which I know absolutely nothing about. All I knew was that the pictures that everyone had been posting looked awesome, and the recipe itself sounded like it would be delicious. It sounded a lot like General Tso's sauce (or however in the world you spell that), and I LOVE that stuff. So I made it last night.

The recipe was really easy to follow, and I didn't have any trouble making the dish. It turned out just as delicious as everyone said it would. And it does remind me a lot of a General Tso's dish, except maybe a little heavier on the Rice Wine Vinegar. After cooking it though, and eating the first bite, I realized that this was most definitely something that I should not be eating a lot of, or eating on a regular basis if I want to continue to lose weight. There's quite a bit of oil involved in this recipe, and I really didn't have much to drain off at the end of the frying like the recipe says to do because the corn starch on the seitan seemed to have soaked it all up. So yeah, this IS delicious, but it's also full of corn starch & oil. No wonder it tastes so good. I just ate a little bit of it last night, and this is really WAY too much in the lunchbox. I'm planning on probably just eating about half of what I brought. I probably really should have packed it into one of the smaller containers. Anyway, this is a super tasty dish but I definitely need to eat it in moderation. This is one of those things that I would classify as a vegan TREAT, that I should probably only eat from time to time. Of course, you could alter the recipe and make it a lot healthier, which is probably what I'll do the next time I make it. I think next time I'll probably just fry the seitan in a skillet sprayed with a little Canola Oil and leave out the corn starch all together. I know that's what made it so crispy, but I think it would still have a little crispiness to it just from the frying. I made a double batch when I made it last night so there was like 1/2 cup of peanut oil in it. I'll probably try this again in the future and try leaving all of that out. I know it won't be the same recipe then, but I just can't trust myself with something with that much fat & starch in it.

Eating this dish did get me stirred up to make some more General Tso's Tofu (or Tao's or WHATEVER!) though (the recipe from vegweb) and use seitan instead of tofu. If I were to fry it in cornstarch I think it would be just like chicken, but I really don't want to do that in this dish either, so I'll probably just fry the seitan in a quick spray of canola oil to try and make it healthier. I recommend making Lolo's Crispy Sweet & Sour Seitan recipe if you like intensely flavored Asian food, because it's VERY delicious. It's just definitely NOT diet food, but nobody ever claimed it was. Definitely a vegan TREAT.

To go along with the seitan I brought some Steamed Broccoli and some Raw Almonds. And then I've got some "Beefy" Rice that resulted from a little experiment I did and it turned out AWESOME! Remember yesterday when I was talking about seitan cooking broth and how much I hated to throw it out after I was finished making seitan? Well, this time I saved the broth, which was "beef" flavored broth from the recipe in La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer and used it as the liquid part when I made some Brown Rice. I just took 1 cup of Brown Rice and 2 cups of the broth and then heated it to boiling, then reduced the heat and let it simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes. The result is DELICIOUS. It really does taste "beefy". This would be so good too with some grilled onions added, or maybe peas & carrots, or mushrooms. I am NEVER throwing my seitan cooking broth away again.

So there you have it, two new recipes, one of which I knew was already delicious from everyone else's previous experience, and one that I just kinda' made up to see what it would taste like. Now I have an excuse to make more seitan, just so I can get the broth! Actually, I probably WILL be making a lot more seitan now because it's probably my favorite of the meat-replacement holy trinity, but I just always hated throwing all that broth out at the end, so it kinda' discouraged me from making it. NOT ANY MORE! Now I know that when I make seitan, I'll also be able to make delicious rice dishes, and you know, it would be good for making stuffing too, especially if it was chicken-style broth. I guess that'll be the next thing to try huh?

So thanks for reading my blog today. See everybody on Wednesday.


Veganluv said...

That stuff looks absolutely wonderful. I've had the General Tso's stuff dining out before and didn't think it could be duplicated in a home kitchen.
I will be interested to hear how the lower fat version turns out for you if you make it sometime in the future. Thanks.

SusanV said...

I keep seeing it on all the food blogs, and I swear I gain weight just looking at it. It looks heavenly, though, just like the General Tso's I used to get at a great, all-vegan Chinese restaurant. Yep, there I go--gained another pound just thinking of it!

SallyT said...

My seitan cooking broth always seems a bit salty. Do you cut back on the salt when you make your broth?

kennyboy said...

I'm definitely trying this again Susan without all of that oil. I swear I think this could be made semi-healthy.

I had to go look at the recipe sally because I didn't remember adding ANY salt. Turns out, the recipe in La Dolce Vegan for the faux beef broth doesn't have any extra salt added. Of course, it's got 1/4 cup of soy sauce in it, so there's quite a bit of salt. I can't imagine many things saltier than the veggie broth I normally buy to use for things like making rice. This leftover seitan broth had much more flavor than just plain veggie broth. I'll have to check and see which has more sodium, a can of veggie broth or 1/4 cup of soy sauce.

I've gotten in the habit here lately too of using NO-SALT or some other potassium chloride product whenever a recipe calls for salt. So that's always an option. I guess if you just think it tastes too salty though you could always cut back. Unfortunately, I'm a salt-a-holic.

Lady Di said...

I love making Mollie Katzen's Sweet & Sour Tofu with Cashews from her Enchanted Broccoli Forest. The only non-vegan thing is honey, and she says you can use sugar instead. It supposedly serve 4-5, but it makes a lot!


Emily said...

lol. You're not the only one who hasn't made it yet... I really want to, but I just don't have all of the ingredients yet.

Tracy said...

That looks gooood....I know I'll be making that soon.
BTW, congrats on being nominated for Best Food Blog!

Melanie said...

wow, a Best Food Blog nomination! that's pretty cool, as there are some tremendously good foodie blogs out there.

i bet the broth could also be used with just about any starch, such as potato-boiling water or for pasta. my girls are fond of pasta just cooked in broth with some minced parsley and a little lemon zest added at the end. plus i imagine the broth is full of protein from the seitan that was cooked in it first. i am going to go make some seitan this morning for my lunch. i have leftover lentil curry from a couple of nights ago and was thinking that with some seitan and some spinach wilted in a little enchilada sauce it would make good enchilada stuffing.