Friday, January 21, 2011

National Hug Day Stir Fry

Apparently it's National Hug Day here in the US, and I haven't received a hug yet. On top of that, this meal was overambitious and overly salty. It was my first attempt at making seitan, and for the first time ever Isa let me down. Or rather, I let Isa down, seeing as she's made the recipe "foolproof." I must be the fool to beat them all.

Too much soy sauce, that was my problem. I don't know why I thought this dish needed a mushroom soy gravy. Here's the recipe if you want to improve it.

makes approx. 3 servings

1 lb. seitan (using Isa's above-linked recipe)
1/3 pack of rice bran Pad Thai fettuccine
1 large stalk broccoli, diced, and florets
2 handfuls shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 serrano chilies, chopped
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 c. shoyu soy sauce
2 c. water
2 Tbsp. oat flour
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. cumin
red pepper flakes

1. Prepare seitan. I don't know what I did wrong, but mine didn't hold together too well, and even after 45 minutes of simmering and 10-15 in the pan, it was soft. Not too different from the baked stale bread I used in a curry a while ago.
2. Cook 1/3 of the diced onion in a small pot over medium heat for several minutes. Add 2 cloves pressed garlic for a minute, then add water and oat flour. Once the oat flour is dissolved, add the soy sauce and one serrano pepper, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the rest of the meal is prepared.
3. Cook the remaining onion in a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 cloves pressed garlic, then the broccoli and serrano pepper. After several minutes, add in 2/3 lb. seitan. Raise heat enough to char the bottom of the broccoli and seitan, scraping the pan with a spatula occasionally. Add in the cumin and red pepper flakes along with a little bit of water to coat.
4. Boil the noodles in the seitan broth or water. (I did the former, which was frugal but probably contributed to the overpowering soy flavor).
5. Serve stir fry over noodles with gravy.

I watched the final episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, this afternoon before making dinner. I feel no embarrassment at an aching compulsion to watch all three seasons again, because it's escapism born of living a representation of political empowerment. It's a kids' show, it's full of hope and goodness and justice. Happiness is the hardest thing in this world for someone who abhors injustice, which in so many places goes by the name "necessity" and is reproduced by so many people whose dearest vices are cynicism and complacency. How many centuries ago did we sacrifice balance in this world.

In other words, where's my hug?

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