Friday, 3 April 2009

Mixed vegetable stir fry with vegetarian (mock) duck

A dish of mixed vegetable stir fry is a good way to get a variety of vegetables into your diet, and a great way to use up bits and pieces of vegetables languishing in the crisper drawer of your fridge. A red pepper here, a too-small head of broccoli there, add half a carrot, a few mushrooms and a handful of mange tout/snow peas, and you have a great side dish to go with dinner.

Vegetarian stir fry in oyster sauce

If you are serving this as a main or vegetarian dish, you may wish to up the protein content by adding tofu. In that case, be sure to use firm tofu to avoid having a scrambled mess in your stir fry. Other popular ingredients in this dish are dried lily buds and dried wood ear fungus. Like dried shitake mushrooms, they are first soaked in water to reconstitute them, drained and then added to the wok. Feel free to skip any ingredients that I list below or add or replace anything as you see fit, depending on what you have on hand.

Dried lily buds and woodear fungus

One ingredient that I do like to use, but not easy to find outside of Asia, is vegetarian duck or mock duck. My mother uses it for her mixed vegetarian dishes so it reminds me of home in some ways. Mock duck (or chicken or other 'meats') is made out of gluten or tofu but somehow has the texture of the meat, in that it would tear into 'shreds' and the top layer of 'skin' has little bumps too. Very cleverly done. This canned version is stewed in a soy sauce based marinade and adds a lot of flavour to the stir fry. My mum tends to buy the Companion (良友) brand. I managed to locate it when I was living in Nottingham but have not seen it at my grocers here in Vancouver. Admittedly I have not looked that hard in Chinatown and elsewhere. I also like the Companion brand mock abalone (斋鲍鱼) which for some reason doesn't taste anything like abalone but since I don't actually like abalone that is not a problem! And that I have managed to find at my nearby grocers.

Mock vegetarian duck

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

Oil for cooking
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
5-6 dried shitake mushrooms (or use button mushrooms)
1 small handful of dried wood ear fungus (木耳)
1 can vegetarian duck, drained
Half a block of firm/extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp corn flour mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms and wood ear fungus, if using, in hot water for 15 minutes. Gently squeeze out excess water, slice the mushrooms thinly and tear the wood ear fungus into bite sized pieces. Reserve the mushroom soaking water.

2. If using tofu, it helps to pan fry them first to prevent them from crumbling in the stir fry. The crisp coating also add good flavour. Heat some oil in a pan or wok . Lightly coat the cubes with corn flour and pan fry for a few minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

3. Clean and wipe the pan or wok (normally I just wipe it out with paper towels). Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the wok on medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the peppers and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add sliced carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the broccoli, wood ear fungus, vegetarian duck and mix well. Add oyster sauce and light sauce sauce and stir to mix.

5. Add the mushroom soaking water or just plain water (about 100ml) to the wok. Then drizzle over the corn flour mixture and mix well. Continue to heat and stir the dish until the sauce thickens. Finally, add the tofu and sesame oil, stir gently and serve.

As mentioned in a previous post regarding tips on wok cooking, pre-cook dense vegetables first (e.g. broccoli) by cutting them into small florets and blanching them in hot water for a few minutes. Whatever vegetables you choose to use, ingredients that take the longest to cook should also go into the wok first, while the most delicate item (e.g. tofu) should go in last.


VeggieGirl said...

Vegetable stir-fry = pure bliss.

Beachlover said...

love mock duck especially the cold appetizer!! lovely vegetarian dish!

noobcook said...

love this vegetarian dish ... and the mix of colours are wonderful :)

Maya said...

I adore dishes like these. And the leftovers make lovely lunch!

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Jane Kaylor said...

Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it. Fresh or frozen local abalone is cheaper but will never give the same taste, flavor and texture as canned abalone ( I love the flavor and taste of canned abalone and one day I want to eat abalone like 'abalone kings' do: braised in sauce and served whole, like a steak, washed down with a good white wine. Cut with a knife and fork of course. Meantime, it's still cheaper to slice abalone thinly and share with the family. I love this dish. It's such a special treat

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