Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 6: Vegan Peking "Duck"

Vegan Peking Duck

I'm breaking out a family recipe for you guys today. Mom was inspired by the Beijing Peking Duck dish and that's why she called it that but hubz assured me it tasted nothing like it. Looks pretty meaty though, doesn't it?

What you need:
Beancurd sheets

You can find this in the frozen section of Asian markets. It's packed folded in half but it's actually a huge circle. Take it out and let it thaw for an hour. Cut the bag on three sides so you can fold it out to use as a table spread. It'll lessen your cleaning time because things are about to get messy!

While you're waiting for it to thaw, mix together the sauce:
1/4 cup organic soy sauce
1/3 cup water (or more if you don't like it too salty)
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp mushroom seasoning (optional)
1 tbsp sugar

You'll also need this for frying later (do not mix with sauce):
3 whole pieces star anise
oil for shallow frying

After it's thawed, separate four bean curd sheets from the pack (keep the rest in a zip lock bag so it doesn't dry out and refreeze). Loosely fold each sheet into four (don't tear it!), so it's easier to handle. In a wide basin filled with lukewarm water, dip each sheet in one at a time and soak for about 30 secs until soft. Then very gently ball the sheet between your hands to squeeze the water out (like how you'd crumple a piece of paper). A few holes or small tears is okay but you want the piece largely in tact.

Carefully unfold the crumpled beancurd sheet onto the plastic bag spread and lay it out flat in its full circle splendor. Pour a few tablespoons of the sauce onto the sheet, and using your hands (or a brush if you don't like to get dirty!), gently pat and spread the sauce all over the sheet. Then fold the sheet using the instructions below. Each time you fold, spread more sauce on that section (which would technically be the bottom of the sheet that hasn't gotten lathered with sauce).

Once done, you're left with an index card sized piece of bean curd sheet. Do the same for the rest of the sheets.

Prepare your steamer and steam them for 10-15 minutes. If you have a small steamer like I do, then do it one by one. Do not stack them in the steamer. You'll know it's done when the skin looks opaque and thicker.

In a frying pan (preferably non-stick), add enough oil to coat the entire bottom and fry the 3 pieces of star anise for about a minute. Then add the folded bean curd sheet (watch out for splattering!) and fry each side for a few minutes until golden.

When done, cut into strips and serve with something bland like rice or quinoa because this thing is salty! Cucumbers complement the dish nicely.

Hope you guys are having a great start to the week!