I have had a bag of Butler Soy Curls in the back of my kitchen cabinet for about a million years, because I wasn't exactly sure how to use this bizarre yet healthy ingredient. However, I got an intense craving this past weekend for this lovely dish, so I pulled out the bag of soy curls and got to work on whipping up something similar that would satisfy my craving. This this faux-meaty dish not only looked exactly like Chinese takeout, but also tasted just like the real thing.
After my husband shot these photos, I asked if he wanted a bite. He tried a forkful, turned his head slightly to the side for a few moments, then pulled up a chair and proceeded to chow down until it was almost all gone. My vegan heart instantly swelled a few sizes seeing him relish the dish like this, making me an instant fan of this simple yet versatile whole food ingredient.
for the mock chicken
1 cup Butler Soy Curls
1 1/2 cup Imagine Brand No-Chicken broth
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
for the sauce
reserved broth (about 3/4 cup)
1 TB sesame oil
2 TB soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 TB sriracha
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 TB raw agave
1 TB cornstarch, dissolved in 2 TB cold water
for the stir fry
1/2 onion, halved and sliced
5 large curly kale leaves, with ribs removed and ripped into pieces
handful of cashews
1/2 cup mushrooms (I used hon-shimeji here, but any type will do)
2 scallions, sliced
to fry the mock chicken
1 cup cornstarch, placed into a large and shallow bowl
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB cold water, placed into a large and shallow bowl
plenty of vegetable oil, for frying
rice or noodles
sesame seeds, for serving
Place the soy curls, broth and smashed garlic into a small saucepan. Bring to a small boil over medium heat, then turn the heat off. Allow the soy curls to sit in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes.
Drain the soy curls using a fine mesh strainer, but reserve the leftover liquid to make your sauce. Place the soy curls into a towel and cover it with another towel. Put a heavy pan or pot on top to get some of the moisture out while you prepare your sauce and vegetables.
Place the reserved broth and the rest of the sauce ingredients (except for the cornstarch/water mixture) back into the saucepan over low heat.
Place plenty of vegetable oil (at least 5 inches high) into another small saucepan over medium-high heat. While it is heating (it will take about 7 minutes), prepare the vegetables by combining them into a in a large saucepan with a little oil over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Now you should be ready to fry the soy curls. Place a wooden spoon into the oil, touching the bottom of the pan. If bubbles form immediately around it, you are ready to fry. Place the soy curls into the water/Ener-G mixture, then toss them into the cornstarch, coating well and tapping off any excess. Working in small batches, gently drop them into the oil, piece by piece, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Allow to fry for 3-4 minutes, then remove them from the oil using a skimmer. Place them onto paper towels to drain. Repeat the process until all of the soy curls are fried.
Return to your sauce. Increase the heat to medium high. Once it starts to bubble, add in the cornstarch/water mixture and stir constantly until slightly thickened. You'll want the mixture to have the consistency of maple syrup. If it doesn't thicken up after a minute or so, mix a little more cornstarch with water and repeat.
Now throw the fried mock chicken into the sauce and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. To serve, place the vegetables into a bowl, then spoon the fried mock chicken over the top. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.