Friday, July 31, 2009

Curried Udon Noodles

This meal included two firsts: My first attempt at making a meat substitute (seitan) and my first time trying out udon noodles.

This dish can be quite spicy. If you're not much into heat, use a mild curry powder and omit the hot pepper.

Overall, this was really yummy. I'm not really into fake meat, though... I quit eating meat; why would I want to eat fake meat? :) I do like to try new things, though, so I gave the seitan a shot. It definitely tasted OK (I never really was a red meat fan, though) but it had this odd chewy texture. I think I'll stick to beans in the future. :) I am pleased to say that hubby did try a piece and thought the flavour was almost spot-on.
So, to wrap all that up, if you're looking for a half-decent meat substitute, this might just be it!

Plan ahead:
There's quite a bit of prep that goes into this but once you have all the ingredients together, the final product goes together very quickly.
Prep and bake the seitan early in the day (or the night before). Let it cool and then store it in the refrigerator (in the liquid you baked it in) until you're ready to use it.

Makes 6 cutlets


6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Prepare the broth by bringing the 6 cups of veggie broth and 3 tbsp. soy sauce to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off the heat and keep it covered until your ready to use it.

2. Place the vital wheat gluten in a mixing bowl. Mix the 1/2 cup cold veggie broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, oil, garlic, and lemon zest together in a large measuring jug. Pour the wet mixture into the flour and combine using a wooden spoon.

3. Use your hands to knead the mixture for about 3 minutes or until the dough is elastic. Divide the dough into six equal pieces (you can do this by rolling it into a log and then slicing it into circles).

4. Take each of the six pieces of dough and stretch them into oblong cutlet shapes (about 1/2-inch thick). You'll need to put some elbow grease into it. :)

5. Pour the heated veggie broth-soy sauce mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish/casserole. Place the cutlets into the broth and bake them for 30 minutes, uncovered. Turn them over and bake an additional 20 minutes.

These are now ready to be used in any recipe calling for seitan.

Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry
4 servings

*I used dry udon noodles for this since all the fresh ones I could find were junk. Seriously... the ingredients were really scary! Not to mention non-vegetarian. :(
I live in a part of San Diego where you can find TONS of great Asian ingredients so I never thought I'd have so much trouble finding decent fresh noodles... sigh. Maybe I need to try one of the Asian markets next time.

I found the dry ones in the Asian section of the grocery store, near the rice and panko (they were hiding on the bottom shelf - if you can't find them, look down!)

1/2 pound fresh or dried udon noodles

Curry Roux Sauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp. sugar

Udon Stir-Fry
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2-1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 hot pepper (I used a jalapeno), seeded and sliced very thin
2 seitan cutlets (see above), sliced into thin strips
1/2 pound broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2-3 tbsp. soy sauce

1. Cook the udon according to the package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water.

2. While the udon cooks, make the curry roux. Combine the flour and 2 tbsp. oil in a small saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat (stir it constantly) until it's a nice caramel colour and it smells toasty. This can take up to 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and garam masala then cook another minute while continuing to stir constantly.

3. Use a wire whisk to stir the vegetable broth into the curry-flour mixture. Add the sugar and cook the roux, whisking constantly, until a thick sauce forms. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large skillet or wok. Cook the onion in the hot oil for 5-6 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the ginger, bell pepper, carrot slices, hot pepper, and seitan. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and peas and stir-fry 4-5 more minutes until the broccoli turns bright green.

5. Add the udon noodles to the veggies and sprinkle the mixture with soy sauce. Stir-fry an additional 2-3 minutes (2 chopsticks or spatulas will make your life much easier).

6. Whisk 1/4 cup of the veggie broth into the curry roux. Pour the sauce over the udon-vegetable mixture and stir so everything is coated. Stir and cook 2-3 minutes until the sauce is simmering and the noodles are warm.

Serve immediately.

Seitan Cutlets from Veganomicon. No changes.
Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry from Veganomicon.

Changes I made to the stir-fry:
*Jalapeno in place of hot red chile.
*Added peas.
*Added sliced carrots.


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