Archive for February, 2011

I had to go back to Houston for a wedding in March 2009. Here’s a collection of veg-friendly photos I finally managed to get off of my phone. The frozen veggie items are from Golden Foods Supermarket on Bellaire Blvd. If only Houston were this veggie friendly back in the college days…

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Not sure how to transliterate these… tsong? zong? joong? And apparently in Mandarin it’s zongzi or bah tzang. My aunts used to make these and I miss them SO MUCH. Sticky, glutinous rice wrapped around salty protein–they’re awesome for Maine winters even though they are associated with the Dragon Boat Festival in June. I haven’t had these since I went vegetarian¬†EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, not counting the sweet dessert ones. This recipe makes 12 big dumplings.

What you’ll need:
2.5 lbs of (uncooked) sticky rice (I eyeballed half a 5 lb bag)
6-8 black mushrooms
15 dried chestnuts
15 raw peanuts
1.5 cups of veggie beef jerky
2 green onions
3 tbsp veggie oyster sauce (mushroom sauce)
2 cloves garlic
2 dashes star aniseed
2 tsp sesame oil for saute-ing
36 dried bamboo leaves

While I was at it I also made some dessert dumplings with red beans in the blue ramekin– just add about 1/2 cup of rice and 9 bamboo leaves for 3 additional dumplings.

Several ingredients require soaking, so… get that started. First, rinse the rice and let that soak for 3 hours. Next, rinse the peanuts and chestnuts, soak them in warm water together. Then wash the bamboo leaves thoroughly with a veggie brush. Set them to soak in warm water and trim the woody stems off. Rinse and soak the mushrooms on their own for about 30 minutes.

Once the mushrooms are soft, we can prepare the “meaty” filling while the other ingredients are soaking. Drain the mushrooms (retain the liquid!) and cut them up into large chunks, trimming the stems. Heat the sesame oil in a stir-fry pan, and add the mushrooms. Snip the onions into rings, mince the garlic, and add those to the frying pan. Once the mushrooms begin to brown, add the veggie oyster sauce. Then add the jerky and a few tablespoons of the liquid that the mushroom soaked in, just enough so that the jerky doesn’t get dry. Add the star aniseed, mix, and let that sit until everything else is finished soaking.

Once the rice is done soaking, drain it and return it to the bowl. Drain the chestnuts and peanuts, chop the chestnuts into quarters, and mix them back in with the peanuts. Okay, so you should have 4 separate stations: the bamboo leaves (still in water), the rice, the chestnuts/peanuts, and the mushroom/jerky mixture.

Wrapping: I watched like 1,000 youtube videos until I found one that was the correct shape and size. “Correct” being the shape that I recall from childhood. I used the method in the video below, but I only used 3 leaves per dumpling instead of 4 and it worked out well. The filling volumes I used are about the same too.

Once you have them all wrapped, boil them for 2 hours, unwrap, and eat! They also freeze very well, just wrap them tightly and individually, and steam them for about 45 mins to reheat.

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Rice noodles, broth, baby bok choy, and slices of faux beef… it’s like all the good food groups in one bowl. This makes about 4 servings.

7 cups water
1-1.5 tsps better than bouillon (to taste)
8 oz. rice noodles (1/2 of a package)
4-5 shitake mushrooms, rinsed
~2 cups dry veggie beef slices (see beef stew recipe)
12 baby bok choy
2 green onions, chopped
2 dashes white pepper
2 dashes star anise

You can also use frozen beef strips (like Morningstar Farms) or seitan slices, just add them at the end and decrease the water and bouillon amounts.

Start the water boiling and add the bouillon, spices, mushrooms, and green onion. Once it is boiling, add the noodles. About four minutes after adding the noodles, turn the heat off and add the beef slices. Let that rest another 4 minutes. Once the nooodles are done, add the baby bok choy and serve immediately. If you don’t eat this in one sitting, take the noodles out of the broth or else they will oversoak and turn to mush.

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