Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gardein, or... The Cooking Channel Veganized

If you're going to try Gardein for the first time, you're going to need a recipe that actually uses MEAT. I, however, fall quite short in that department.

I thought "beef stew" was kinda obvious, and shish kabab (which these look like) are rather difficult without a grill, BUT I had a package of the Gardein Beefless Tips in my freezer that I, at least, wanted to TRY.

One day, I had the Cooking channel on in the background, and this adorable Asian chef came on the screen, with a lovely Brittish accent.  Her show was called Chinese Food Made Easy, and her cullinary point of view was to debunk the myth that Chinese food was the greasy, fried, take-away we all see here in American, (and apparently in England too, which is where this show is from). She wanted to teach her viewers that authentic Chinese cuisine is fresh, quick, delicately balanced in flavor, and totally accesible to cooks at home.

So, I looked to tried this:  Spicy Beef Stir-Fry Topped With Scallion and Coriander

Adapted and veganized from Cooking Channel's Chinese Food Made Easy.  I used Gardein frozen beefless tips for this, but I imagine pieces of seitan would work wonderfully here as well. Serve this with wasabi mayo (recipe below) over some warm flatbread or tortillas...DELICIOUS and spicy!!

Cumin is not a spice one might expect to find in a Chinese dish. There is a large population of Muslim Chinese in Beijing. They came from western China and brought with them a unique cuisine that calls for the use of spices such as cumin and fennel, which found their way to China along the Silk route. The spices in the dish are distinct and extremely flavourful, and pair amazingly with the fresh scallion and coriander. Please, if you can, take the time to freshly grind your cumin from the whole seeds. I used a mortar and pestle, and it made ALL the difference!


For the Wasabi Mayo

1/2 tablespoon wasabi powder
4 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I use Veganaise) 
1 pinch powdered sugar

For the Spicy Coating

2 tablespoons cumin, freshly ground
2 tablespoons dried chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Beefless Stir-fry

8 ounces seitan (I used 8oz package Gardein Beefless Tips)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon rice wine or 1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced

  1. To make the mayo: In a small bowl, mix the wasabi powder with 1 teaspoon water to make a paste.
  2. Mix the wasabi paste, remaining water and vegan mayonnaise together. Season with some sugar, and set aside.
  3. To make the spicy coating: Grind your cumin seeds in a mortal and pestle.
  4. Once ground into a powder, add dried chile flakes, black pepper, and salt.
  5. Heat a wok or pan over high heat and add the peanut oil.
  6. Add the beefless tips or seitan and stir-fry for less than 1 minute.
  7. Add spicy mixture and stir to coat pieces in spice and oil.
  8. When spices become fragrant, pour in the rice wine or sherry, and season with the soy sauce.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro, and spring onions. Serve immediately on warmed bread of choice with wasabi mayo.

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Spicy Beefless Stir-Fry with Scallion and Coriander


  1. I just made this and YUM! It was an easy and quick dinner. I only had ground cumin on hand but it was still very flavorful.