Sometimes the unthinkable happens and the best Chinese and first veggie-friendly restaurant you visited upon moving to Minneapolis closes (RIP Evergreen). The loss of this place was more than just good eats, but it was my spot for hanging out with my buddy Joe, starting when we lived just blocks from each other and the restaurant and lasting long after we both moved to opposite sides of town until it closed.
Well, long story short, one of Joe’s favorite dishes to order off the menu was the pepper mock beef. Basically, some mock duck, seared bell peppers, onions and a sweet and savory brown sauce is what made this dish A++.
Some strategic googling and veganizing helped me whip up a close approximation. I would be amiss to say I was not also inspired to find something to go along with the massive quantity of vegan spring rolls I purchased from Mike’s Discount Foods (often featuring unbelievable vegan deals! You’ve gotta check it out!!)
Without further ado:
- 1 lb homemade or store-bought* seitan, roughly cut into ½ in cubes.
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup sherry
- 2 Tbs corn starch
- 1/3 cup veggie broth
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 Tbs sugar or other sweetener (maple syrup, etc)
- 1 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
- 3 bell peppers (I like a combo of red and green) of your choice, cubed
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 Tsp minced fresh garlic
- 2 Tsp grated fresh ginger root
- Freshly chopped green onion, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sherry, corn starch, sesame oil, sugar and pepper until the cornstarch has dissolved. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- When you have finished marinating the seitan, drain thoroughly, catching the liquid. Whisk the liquid again to evenly distribute anything that may have separated and settled.
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat. Add in the marinated seitan. Continuously stir and/or toss the seitan until it is nicely browned/slightly blackened in spots. Remove from the wok and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil and add the peppers, stirring and tossing again until they are nicely blackened. Remove and add to the cooked seitan.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil heat the onions, repeating the same stirring and tossing process as used with the peppers.
- Finally, add the last tablespoon of oil and add the peppers and seitan back in to the pan, along with the garlic and ginger. Heat for about 30 seconds to one minute.
- Add the sauce to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens; about 1 minute.
- You’re now ready to eat! This goes great atop freshly cooked brown or white rice, maybe with a bargain spring roll on the side.
* If using canned seitan, be sure to drain it first. You can use the liquid in place of broth for this recipe if you’d like.