Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Vegetarian kung pao stir-fry

Tonight I wanted something a little special for dinner, so I decided to make kung pao chicken. Of course, I had no chicken thawed, so I decided to use Quorn nuggets instead. Then, since I got home later than anticipated, I decided to omit the step of velveting the meat (or protein, in this case) and just make it a simple stir-fry. I used a recipe from Ken Hom's Easy Family Recipes from a Chinese-American Childhood. Instead of using chicken stock, I substituted vegetarian boullion. I also left out the dried chiles, instead making do with a few shakes of Tabasco sauce. I used grated palm sugar, though crushed rock sugar probably would have been more authentic.

The stir-fry went well, though ideally the vegetarian kung pao should have been served with rice. The stir-fry in its dark sauce would have benefitted from the contrast with the bland rice. Since the Quorn nuggets were not precooked by velveting, I had to cook them longer than normal; when the pan and sauce began to smoke, I deglazed the pan with some Shao Xing rice wine (the salted cooking variety, since this sauce called for salt). This probably diluted the punch of the Tabasco sauce.

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