Fakeaways

Vegan Big Mac! 

I honestly don’t only cook homemade versions of takeaways…But this one is just too tasty to pass up. One thing I struggled with after moving to vegan is was how to satisfy that urge for naughty comfort food, most things are naturally low in saturated fats and as much of a fan I am of bean burgers I found they lacked the bite to replicate a burger.

I was really excited by the new Linda McCartney 1/4lb  burgers, but found the soy base had a tang to it which didn’t feel quite right. Now I know mock meats aren’t for everyone, and maybe replicating something from a company like McDonalds isn’t massively ethical, but the recipe is entirely vegan, and I can’t think of a word good enough to describe how this recipe tastes!

Vegan Big Mac’s – Makes 6 patties 

Vegan Big Mac Sauce 

  • 3/4 cup soya milk (non-sweetened) 
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle paste, garlic puree, salt
  • 1 sliced gherkin 
  • Small dash of liquid smoke

Blend together the soy milk and sunflower oil, pulsing from the bottom to the top of the container

Once combined add all other ingredient and blend until smooth. If the sauce lacks bite add a dash of white wine vinegar. Leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours. 

Big Mac Patties 

  • 225g Seitan (1.5 cups of flour) 
  • Half a red onion 
  • 80g mushrooms (5-6)
  • 120g mix of red kidney and black eyed beans 
  • 1 tsp paprika, cumin, garlic, mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, pepper, salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke 
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce (I like chipa for a good vegan version) 
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground chia seed mixed with 2 tbsp water

Roughly chop the Seitan, mushrooms and onion. Blitz in a food processor or hand chopper until is ground, but remains some texture, as below:


Set aside in a large mixing bowl. Pulse the beans in a similar manner. Add in all the spices, flour, liquid smoke, Worcester sauce and chia seed mix and combine with a wooden spoon. Take out a small handful and mould into a pattie, thinner patties tend to cook better and you can double up without it being too filling! There should be enough mixture to make 6 patties, if you have time leave in the fridge for an hour to firm:


Shallow fry the burgers in a tbsp of oil until crispy both sides, near the end of cooking add sliced cheese to the top of the burgers, if you have a lid to your frying pan then putting it on will help your cheese to melt. Serve in a seeded bun with iceberg Lettuce, diced onion, gherkins and big mac sauce, and let me know what you think!

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Side Dishes

Garlic Soy Pak Choi

This is far too simple, but makes an amazingly tasty side dish for Chinese main dishes like 5 spice ribs and crispy chilli beef. It’s one of those where you find you’re fighting each other for the last veggie rather than the last chip!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Pak choi
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (preferably dark)
  • 1.5 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method

  • Take the individual leafs from the Pak choi
  • Heat the seaseme oil in a frying pan
  • Add the garlic, stir fry for a minute or until fragrant
  • Add the Pak choi and pour over the soy sauce
  • Stir fry for 5 minutes
  • Toss in sesame seeds and serve
Chinese · Fakeaways

Crispy Chilli ‘Beef’

The one dish I always used to order from the chinese was crispy chilli beef, because lets face it, where can you go wrong with deep fried food smothered in a sweet chilli sauce?!

I’ve found it pretty hard to get a clear answer from any of my local Chinese’s whether their vegetarian dishes are egg and dairy free, so I decided to try and make my own. Before going Vegan I never considered the possibility of actually cooking a homemade Chinese, and now I realise I’ve been seriously missing out. Swap egg noodles for rice noodles and the possibilities are endless, since I’ve made vegetable chow mein’s, raw and fried vegetable spring rolls, peanut satay soy skewers and five-spice seitan ribs. However my firm favourite is still crispy chilli seitan beef. This recipe has gone down well with both my vegetarian  and meat-eater friends (there’s nothing more satifying than someone trying your food and genuinely not being able to tell the difference from the meat version), and best of all it’s so simple. If you cook a bach of ‘Beef’ seitan and keep it in the fridge this meal can be put together in 20 minutes, and goes fantastically with some garlic soy Pak Choi!

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Crispy Chilli Beef – Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 with rice and extras

Ingredients

  •  Beef seitan – double batch (2 cups of flour) (Recipe here)
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Red onion
  • 2 Spring onions
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp ginger puree
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Oil (I use garlic infused oil)

Method

  • Thinly slice the seitan
  • Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan
  • Coat the seitan in the cornflour and five-spice, ensuring all slices are evenly coated
  • Fry for 5 minutes until crispy, if it burns rather than crisps add extra oil
  • Set aside the crispy seitan
  • Add a tbsp of oil to the pan, allow to heat and then add the pepper and red onion, stir fry for a couple of minutes until soft

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  • Whilst the pepper and onion are cooking mix the tomato puree, white wine vinegar, sugar, sweet chilli, onion powder together in a jug
  • Add the garlic and ginger, stir frying for 1 minute until it becomes fragrant
  • Pour the sauce mixture in, cooking for 2 minutes, until it starts to bubble
  • Add the seitan back into the pan, toss to coat thoroughly
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Ensure the beef is thoroughly coated
  • I like to sprinkle some spring onions and seaseme seeds on to serve, and then scoff the lot!
Vegan Essentials

Seitan

Discovering Seitan was a massive step forward in my Vegan cooking. Before I had tried soy and quorn (where they had made it vegan friendly), but I’ve never been someone to cook out of a packet and it didn’t feel right to start now. Tofu is fantastic, but it’s never going to make a mock meat to satisfy someone whose been eating it for years. After some googling, putting all those years at uni to *good* use, I came across Seitan. It was slightly mindboggling to me to start, and I’ll admit I was highly sceptical that it would make a decent substitute, but I was intrigued none the less.

Turns out, it’s pretty hard to get hold of such a mysterious product in the depths of the southwest. Luckily my local healthfood store stocks the flour, and it just so seems that it is most definitely the best way to play with Seitan. Cooking it from scratch allows complete control over the flavours, instead of buying multiple types you have one bag of flour and indefinite possibilities!

This little bag of flour (or 6 when the healthfood store runs out of stock and you panic buy on Amazon…) is mixed with nutritional yeast, stock and whatever herbs and spices you wish and then baked or simmered. So for a chicken type flavour I add more sage and thyme, for ribs I mix in 5 spice, for chorizo I chuck in some hot pepper sauce, for kebabs I integrate cumin, and for beef I use Worcester sauce and beef gravy – it still amazes me beef bisto is vegan!

Anyway, I use Seitan in so many of my dishes it seems like the most logical place to start. Here’s a simple, but tasty way to make beef flavoured Seitan:

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Beef Seitan – Serves 2

* Dry Ingredients 

  •  1 cup wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup gram flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, mixed herbs, thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, ground  pepper

*  Wet Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (can just use half a stock cube in boiled water)
  • 1/2 cup beef gravy
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup and 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic puree

*  Stock 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Half chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard

* Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

*Mix the wet ingredients in a jug

* Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the bowl, stiring it into a dough. Be careful as you may not need all of the stock. Once the dough is formed, kneed for 5 minutes until you can stretch the dough and see the strands of gluten.

* Mix together all the stock ingredients and pour into a deep oven dish. Break the dough into 2-3 balls and place in the stock.

* Bake for 30-45 minutes, a longer bake and longer kneeding will result in a tougher, denser end product. Turn the Seitan during cooking to ensure even coating of the stock

* Can be kept in the fridge for a week, or frozen for later use