Thursday, April 3, 2008

General Tso's Seitan

Most people I've talked to who have grown up eating meat but given it up wholly or partially, still crave something they enjoyed from their more carnivorous days. For me, bacon is near the top of the list, but General Tsao's Chicken is right up there, too. I've been known to break down and eat it once in awhile, because I just love the combination of flavors and textures.

I discovered a little vegan restaurant in Seattle called Vegetarian Bistro that makes the most delicious General Tsao's 'Chicken', which is totally vegan, light and amazing. When I have meetings at my old office building, I'll often sneak over and treat myself.

I never thought I'd be able to pull it off at home, though. But this week, we bravely added it to our meal plan, and found a recipe online for the chicken version. After our success with seitan in the Mojito Seitan recipe, we figured it would be a good substitute for chicken breast in this recipe. And boy were we right. It turned out delicious, if I do say so myself, and I'll definitely be making it again. Since it's deep fried, I'll have to save it for only occasional dining, but I don't think I can live without having it again.

As with every Chinese Restaurant I've been to, we paired it with steamed broccoli and rice.

General Tsao's Seitan
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup hot vegetable broth
3 pounds seitan, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped green onions
16 chile peppers, sun-dried

To Make Sauce: In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Mix together. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and white wine vinegar. Then add broth and stir all together until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until needed.

To Prepare Seitan: In a separate bowl, combine seitan, 1/2 cup soy sauce and white pepper. Stir in egg. Add 1 cup cornstarch and stir until seitan is evenly coated. Add oil to help separate seitan pieces. Divide seitan into small quantities and deep fry at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

To Make Mixture: Place a small amount of oil in wok and heat until wok is hot. Add scallions and dried chile peppers and stir-fry briefly. Remove sauce from refrigerator and stir. Add sauce to wok. Then add fried seitan and cook until sauce thickens (add cornstarch or water as needed until sauce is as thick as you like it).

(Recipe adapted from

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