Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seitan and herb dumplings (plus another okara experiment)


This was a wonderful meal. It's the Seitan and herb dumplings from American Vegan Kitchen, and probably my favorite recipe of the few from that cookbook I've tried so far.

I'm fascinated by the recipes in this book...many of them are like dishes I've tried before, but there is often some spin on them that I could never have invented such as, in this one, the addition of soy creamer (or in my case, very rich soy milk) to the stew broth. But it was delicious! I'm also trying to be fair to the recipes by following herb/spice recommendations exactly, something I usually don't do, so I'm experiencing new (to me) flavours as well.

So why stew, when everybody else is grilling burgers and making sandwiches and salads? This is why. We had the mother of all spring storms last night and this morning, and this is the aftermath. The actual math was zero visibility, wet snow whacking everything sideways in 60km winds and generally just swirling around at high speeds and sticking to things:

Here's the stew in the pot, with the dumplings on top. I adore dumplings, and these were adorable.

The only substitutions I made were a combination of kale and green peppers for the green beans, which I didn't have, and my own seitan for Tami's. The seitan I used was a new batch of my Zoa's "chicken-style" okara seitan, only I was out of almonds, so I used walnuts instead. This part of the experiment was successful; the walnuts changed the colour of the finished seitan from a light brown to a rich, dark brown, and gave the taste a pleasing complexity.

I also decreased the amount of gluten flour to 1 1/2 cups, so that the gluten flour and okara were in equal volume (and decreased the amount of water accordingly). Well, I had to try! I mean, what if you could make great seitan with 1/4 part gluten flour to 3/4 parts okara--wouldn't that be outstanding? Maybe you can...in some alternate universe, but in this one 2 cups gluten flour to 1 1/2 cups well-squeezed okara is about as far as you can take it. The result wasn't a disaster, but though I steamed the seitan for almost two hours it remained quite soft--firm enough, however, to hold its shape during frying and cooking in the stew. The taste was fine, but the texture was a little strange. I cooked it separately in case it fell apart, and added it to the stew with the peas:

3 comments:

  1. Mmm! You have no idea how often I CRAVE dumplings! Those truly are adorable- I must get my hands on that cookbook.

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  2. If there's one comfort food I love, it's dumplings. There's actually a dumpling recipe from my junior high school home-ec cookbook that works beautifully, but it's in Wisconsin. Damn. I need some dumplings just like the ones you made.

    Sorry about your weather. I could use some spring about now, too, before I go crazy. grrrrr. Or is it brrrrr.

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  3. Thanks for your comments, Trinity and Andrea!

    I have a dumpling recipe of my own posted at http://airyway.blogspot.com/2009/11/vegetable-soup-with-dumplings.html which is quite similar to the one Tami has in her book, though without the same herbs and spices. Add your own spices and go to Dumpling Town! The day I found a vegan dumpling recipe was a happy one, for sure.

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