Sunday, April 11, 2010

Popcorn okara seitan with sundried tomato cream sauce and pan-fried vermicelli

This was a tragi-comic meal. Comic, because both main dishes were utterly brilliant and totally delicious--tragic, because they both ended up being the same colour, so I am wringing my hands in shame as I type. How could I know? Well, okay, if I had been smarter I would have realized, or at least compensated with some colorful side dishes. Well, okay, I had a suspicion, but I so wanted to make them both, and I just couldn't wait. I couldn't even bear to make a salad more drop of oil and I think I would spontaneously combust!

My word, but were these unicoloured dishes worth it! If I were blind, or even colour blind, I would be declaring this meal the best of the month.

Let's take it dish by dish. First up, popcorn okara seitan with sun-dried tomato cream sauce, veganized from this recipe.

Popcorn okara seitan with sun-dried tomato cream sauce
Serves 3

1 lb "chicken-style" seitan pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), patted dry and coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy milk

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet and brown seitan. Transfer to a plate. (Okay, don't you want to just lose yourself in these fragrant pillows of seitanic awesomeness, right now?)

Add garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to skillet and sauté, stirring, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil, covered. Stir soy milk into the sauce and bring just to a simmer.

Transfer sauce to a deep heatproof bowl or 1-quart glass measure and purée with an immersion blender until almost smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce back into the skillet, add the seitan, and heat.

Now, the recipe for the vermicelli is based on one I found over here. You can use that recipe, or, if you have some tomato sauce already made up, as I did, you can do the following.

Cover the bottom of a small frying pan with olive oil, and heat. When hot, add as many vermicelli "nests" as you can fit into the pan, and fry until brown on the bottom. Turn over.

Add some tomato sauce to the skillet, along with some water, and cover. Keep an eye on the pasta; you may have to add extra water as it cooks.

When the pasta is al dente, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if required.

Oh, heaven, you see what I mean? This was so fun to make, such a good use for leftover tomato sauce, and so easy!


  1. Your food always looks and sounds fantastic...regardless of the need to wring hands in shame. This just sounds divine.
    I love the way you cooked the vermicelli.

  2. Is that pasta fresh? It's so beautiful in those nests. The whole meal sounds divine.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    Tami, good question. The noodles were dried, though I didn't say so. They are not regular vermicelli but yu-mein (Chinese wheat noodles). It's just what I had, but regular vermicelli would have worked just as well, though perhaps, I agree, not been so pretty.

  4. Quadruple YUM! I can't wait to try this soon!