Tuesday, October 18, 2011
VeganMoFo: "M" is for Moo Shu Vegetables with 5-Spice Pancakes
The "V" Word continues its celebration of VeganMoFo, the month of delicious Vegan food, with the other 25 letters of the alphabet. Today we hit the half-way mark with the 13th MoFo post. Our letter of the day is "M" which stands for Moo Shu Vegetables with 5-Spice Pancakes.
I have to confess to a quirk of mine. I love the idea of sandwiches, tacos and other foods that are wrapped or encased in some kind of bread or dough but then when I eat, I always end up taking the food out of said enclosure. I'm just not a big bread/dough eater, especially if it's soft and doughy. To me, bread should always be toasted and preferably garlicky.
Tom learned quickly that if we got heroes, he would end up with half of my bread. I would always cut the sandwich in half, combine all the filling into one half of the bread and leave the other half behind. Then I had a bigger, more packed sandwich but with half the bread. To me, that meant double the flavor and half the calories.
When I make Spanish food and serve tortillas, I make several for each of us but I usually eat only one - just one to try the food in a tortilla and then I decide I like it better without the wrap. To me, the wrap masks the flavors in the dish. I like the fillings of lasagna but not all the lasagna noodles. Maximum filling, minimum bread - just enough to hold the ingredients together. That's how I roll...or unroll, I guess :)
The same thing would happen whenever I would order Moo Shu dishes from Chinese restaurants. They would come with a bunch of pancakes to roll the shredded cabbage dish into and I would eat one before I continued to just eat the Moo Shu out of the container.
So when I decided to recreate Moo Shu Vegetables for myself, of course I had to also make my own pancakes so I could try at least one wrap. I could have used corn tortillas but that didn't sound right for the Chinese dish. I needed Vegan and gluten-free pancakes that would compliment the Moo Shu Vegetables. 5-Spice powder is a mixture of spices commonly used in Chinese cooking. The most common combination is star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan pepper or ginger.
Here is my recipe for Moo Shu Vegetables with 5-Spice Pancakes. Crunchy, shredded cabbage, peppers and carrots and sliced mushrooms in a delicious, thick, sweet and tangy brown sauce. Wrapped in chive-filled, aromatic 5-Spice pancakes...or not. It's up to you.
Moo Shu Vegetables with 5-Spice Pancakes
For the Moo Shu Vegetables:
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. ginger, grated
2 cups mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 head of savoy cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 small carrots, cut into thin strips
6 scallions, cut in half lengthwise and into 1 ½ inch pieces
3 Tbs. brown rice vinegar
2 Tbs. mirin
2 Tbs. gluten-free tamari
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
Heat a large skillet with the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and let cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and let cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and let cook until it starts to get tender but crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook about 2 minutes. Add the scallions last and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the brown rice vinegar, mirin, tamari and hoisin sauce to the skillet and cook for another minute or two. Let it thicken a bit. Serve while hot with 5-Spice Pancakes.
For the 5-Spice Pancakes:
1 ¼ cups chickpea flour
1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
1 Tbs. vegan butter, melted
1 Tbs. chickpea flour + 2 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. fresh chives or scallion greens
½ tsp. 5-Spice powder
In a small bowl, mix the Tbs. of chickpea flour and the 2 Tbs. of water until it is a loose paste. This acts as a binder. In a bowl, mix the milk, butter and chickpea flour/water mixture. Add the chickpea flour to the bowl and mix into a batter. Stir in the chives and the 5-Spice Powder. Refrigerate for up to an hour.
When you are ready to make the pancakes, remove the batter from the fridge. If it’s too thick, you may need to add a bit of water.
Heat a non-stick 8” skillet. Spray with cooking spray and pour about ¼ cup of the batter in the center of the skillet and swirl it around until it covers the pan. Cook until the edges brown and you can flip the pancake. Cook on the other side for just a minute.
Keep pancakes on a warmed plate or in the oven (200 degrees) until ready to eat.
"M" is for Moo Shu Vegetables with 5-Spice Pancakes. For other "M" words, check out my Moroccan Split Pea Soup, my Minestrone Soup with Turnip Greens and my Mediterranean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.
The "V" Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.