Tuesday, August 17, 2010

INSANE Chow Mein!

Well, it's been AWHILE since my last post, & for that, I apologize. But BEST NEWS EVER, Rowan & Lily are here! These two gals light up my life & I have missed them dearly - so now the house feels complete - at last! It was a long summer without them!
Now I also think you may agree that this recipe was worth the wait! That's my insanely gorgeous hubby digging into what he calls "my favorite meal EVER!" He got halfway through the plate then looked at me, panicked, & said, "Wait. There's more, right?!" Haha I was stoked! Even better still, Kingston gobbled his bowl down faster than I've ever seen him eat green beans & cabbage! He has always liked veggies but not like this! Great night for my ego! :) (By the way, this is the 4th time in 2 weeks my family has asked for this meal!!)

Not that you ever wanted to see me this close up but here I am shoving chow mein, hot from the pan into my extremely happy mouth! I have to say, being vegan is RAD. I have always enjoyed food & cooking but I LOVE & ADORE it - there are so many amazing things I was missing out on before! & to be able to enjoy a meal that is peaceful, non-violent & cruelty-free - wow, it's such a blessing! Not to mention, miracles in my mouth!

Would you like some noodles with your veggies today?

serves 4 (maybe. you may it half of it before it gets served!)

1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh green beans, cut in half (or not, your choice)
2 -3 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 small head Napa cabbage, chopped finely
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 small package frozen peas, thawed
3 -4 pieces pickled ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup veggie broth
1 - 2 tsp agave nectar
1  tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 - 1/2 cup tamari
1 package udon noodles
1 - 3 tbsp peanut or sesame oil (I think  more is better to enhance the flavor of this dish but it can always be made low-fat by just decreasing the oil amount)
Sea salt, to taste (you won't need much, if any)
Pepper, to taste
Cayenne (I use about 1 tsp, but add it after I serve the kids)

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add green beans & carrots for about 1 minute, then remove & submerge immediately into an ice bath. Note: you do not have to do this step, if you want a bit more bite from your veggies just skip this step - in fact, I did not blanch them tonight & I now prefer the chow mein this way Bring the water to a boil again & cook the udon noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles once cooked & immediately rinse with cold water. Keep them set aside in the sink to allow them to drain completely. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 - 2 tbsp oil, turn heat to medium. Add garlic & ginger until pungent, 30 sec to 1 minute. Add noodles & cook until lightly browned, about 5 - 7 minutes (could be quicker depending on your stove top). 

Add green beans, carrots, peas & water chestnuts & cook until warmed through, 2 - 4 minutes. At this point, you can add another tbsp of oil if you like. Add hoisin, agave & 1/4 cup broth (add more if needed once it cooks down a bit). Let the mixture cook down - it will get thicker. Add seasonings to taste & cabbage. Cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to an oven-safe dish & place in a warm oven, around 175 or turn heat under pan to lowest setting so it is warm but doesn't continue cooking, while you make.....

makes approximately 30 to 40 dumplings

My husband & son watch the movie "Kung Fu Panda" at least 3 times a week - it's kinda' ridiculous. But it's their Papa/Son time & it's super cute to see them cuddled up together, chomping on grapes or salt'n'vinegar chips, watching Kingston's favorite movie. It is because of their love for Kung Fu &, of course, "Kung Fu Panda", I call these "Dragon Warrior Dumplings" & I hope the Dragon Warrior in you enjoys them - they get devoured faster than I can make them!! & it may seem like a hefty amount to make, but these freeze great & are wonderful to have around! (Oh ya, this is of note, these are a GREAT appetizer for non-vegans - they will be blown away by their absolute deliciousness!!) 

3 - 4 tbsp Earth Balance (again, your choice, but I say, amp up the fat on this one! haha at least it's not gross hydrogenated, cholesterol-laden , animal fat - it's yummy vegan fat! it won't kill you every once in awhile - but it is your choice - it's so easy to just use 1 tbsp versus 4)

1 package Gardein Chik'n Filets (4 filets), thawed & pat dry with paper towel(s), then chopped into very small cubes/chunks

1 - 2 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage, depending on your preference, I freaking LOVE cabbage (if you can't get Napa go for green cabbage not purple but the Napa is really so perfect for these)

1 cup shredded carrot

1/4 - 1/2 cup tamari (or reduced sodium soy sauce)

1 - 2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 tbsp fresh, minced)

1 - 2 tsp ginger powder (or 1 tbsp fresh,minced)

1 package wonton wrappers (vegan, of course! & they are out there!)

small bowl of water, for sealing dumplings

Heat large skillet over medium high heat, add Earth Balance & turn down heat to medium, letting margarine melt but not smoke. Then add chopped Gardein filets & cook until they brown as evenly as possible, about 5 - 7 minutes.  

Toss in tamari, garlic & ginger. It will sizzle & the chik'n will soak it up fairly quickly, so stir, stir, stir, letting the chik'n get evenly coated. Add veggies & cook a few minutes more. Taste this. Adjust seasonings as needed - always start with less & add more if needed. But also taste because it's freaking awesome. Now set pan aside. 

Take out the wonton wrappers & separate several wrappers & keep them under a damp towel to keep them from drying out, which tends to happen once they are not being refrigerated. Taking one wrapper in your hand, put a hefty spoonful in the center of the wrapper then using your pointer finger (or whatever finger, duh haha) dampen all sides of wrapper & squeeze the sides together to create a dumpling - you can have them be like pot stickers or open at the top like siu mai, whatever shape you like or whatever shape happens to come out! Mine all look different, I swear! 

Fill a large pot with a steamer basket about 1/3 of the way with water (just no water touching the steamer basket) & bring to a boil. Spray the steamer basket with cooking spray (a neutral oil spray) so the dumplings don't stick! Place 4 - 4 dumplings (or as many as will fit without touching) in your steamer & steam about 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with.....


1/2 cup tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tbsp minced garlic

Place all ingredients in small bowl & mix to combine. The heat can easily be adjusted by reducing the amount of Sriracha. This sauce is RIDICULOUS!!

All in all, this is an incredible meal. Incredible. 



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