Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chinese is a Breeze: Easy Vegan "Beef" Broccoli

Alright, this is a cut the crap, straight to the point kind of post. I've got a recipe I've been meaning to share for awhile..........here we go!
Inspiration: The inspiration for this recipe is two-fold. First, I have just really been craving chinese food lately, but haven't had the motivation to make it or order it. Second, we had a giant bag of broccoli sitting in the fridge that needed to be used. I was trying to think of simple, delicious chinese dishes I could use the broccoli in when Beef Broccoli came to mind. It's a pretty standard chinese stir fry of beef, broccoli, and onions in a savory and slightly sweet soy stir fry sauce. Most recipes are pretty involved and call for lots of specialty ingredients, but I've tasted my fair share of chinese food, and was pretty confident I could come up with a simplified recipe that's much less involved and much more wallet friendly.
Nutrition Note: This stir fry recipe definitely packs more of a punch in terms of nutrition and flavor if it is served alongside a grain. I tend to prefer steamed brown rice or quinoa, and my brother prefers steamed white rice. Although I do use a "faux" meat product which is not the most natural of all vegan foods, I think it's perfectly fine to use these products on occasion, and I have to say that it really is necessary for this recipe to work. The broccoli provides a great dose of fiber and antioxidants, and the faux meat when paired with with the grain provide a complete protein. 
This is my faux meat of choice for this recipe.

Recipe: Chinese "Beef"Broccoli
Ingredients:
- 1 pack Trader Joe's Beef-less Strips, chopped into 1-1.5 inch long pieces (or any similar faux Beef product, seitan might even work)
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into long, thin slivers
- 4-5 cups broccoli heads
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp sugar (I used maple sugar, but any kind should be fine)
- 1 tbsp sesame seed oil or 2 tbsp sesame seeds **optional**

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl mix together the soy sauce, water, cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Set aside.
All done!
2. In a large saute pan or wok cook the onions and broccoli over medium-low heat with the lid on for 5-7 minutes. 
3. Add in the beef strips and the sauce (give it one more stir before pouring it in) and stir around everything in the pan for a couple of minutes, making sure everything is evenly coated.
4. Cover the pan and continue to cook on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
5. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes covered.
6. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or the sesame oil over the stir fry, mix everything up, and serve alongside some steamed rice. 

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