So I think I'm just going to have to give in and post about them, because one post in two weeks is just not acceptable, especially when I've been cooking and experimenting the whole time. But I'll do my best to make them all different, introduce new recipes and techniques and so on so it won't be too boring and samey.
Plus, because it's relevant here, I'll take this opportunity to announce my VeganMoFo 2010 theme, which is to try something new (to me) every day during the month of October. Not new recipes, since I do that all the time, but new ingredients. They may be things that some of you eat almost daily, like grits, or something perhaps not many of you have even heard of, like natto or bat nuts, but they'll all be new to me.
|A bat nut: tell me you've ever seen anything this creepy at the grocery store...|
So with the almond okara, I made meatballs. These are based on the ones from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine, which I have made several times in the past, always with good success. Lion's head meatballs are traditionally made with pork and if you look up recipes for them you'll see that everybody has a theory about where the name came from, and every recipe is different, but the unifying feature is that these meatballs are big. So is the head of a male lion, so, er...anyway, this is another good use for okara:
Lion's head "meatballs"
adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine
1 cup TVP
3/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp soy sauce (or 2 tbsp regular soy sauce and 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce)
2 tbsp dry sherry or sake
3/4 cup well-squeezed okara, almond milk "okara", or mashed tofu
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, mashed
1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup gluten powder
oil for pan frying
In a medium bowl, stir together the TVP, the warm water, 2 tbsp of the soy sauce, and 2 tbsp sherry or sake. As you prepare the other ingredients, except the gluten flour, just place them on top of this mixture, then when everything is in the bowl, mix it up well. Wait to add the gluten powder until the mixture is cool, or it will congeal into unappetizing strings.
After you've added the gluten, form the mixture into 16 golfball-sized balls. My mixture seemed a little wet, but it kept its shape well, which seems to be the test.
Now, ahem, build your hot pot. Traditionally, this dish is cooked only on chopped cabbage, but where's the fun in that? Keep in mind that you will be steaming the meatballs with the vegetables but that the meatballs will fall apart if they're boiled right in a broth, so you'll need to raise them up on top of the vegetables. For this reason, a smaller, higher pot is better. I cooked four of the meatballs in a small saucepan and froze the rest.
Pile up chopped cabbage and, on top of that, anything else you're using, and lay the meatballs carefully on top. Make a fragrant little broth. This one is based on Bryanna's, and is for the whole recipe, not just four meatballs in a little pot, so if you're making less you'll want to adjust accordingly:
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp light soy cauce
1/2 tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Mix all this together well and pour it into the pot. Looking down into the pot, you shouldn't be able to see any liquid.
Cover, bring to a quick boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. If you're adding quick-cooking ingredients like snow peas, add them after the 15 minutes are up and cook another minute or so.
Serve hot, over rice, or in this case over a multi-grain mix (Kingo brand, which I bought at the oriental market, containing short grain brown rice, hulless barley, French red rice, rye berries, purple barley, black China/Japonica rice, and no, I couldn't resist taking a super-macro shot). This looks a bit gross in the bowl, but the taste is lovely, very chewy and flavourful; I was experimenting and added a bit too much water.
End result: thumbs up; I love these meatballs. Okay, I love all meatballs...