Last week I flew to Seattle to surprise my husband, who was there on a business trip. While in Seattle we stopped into a little vegan grocery store, Sidecar Pigs for Peace. It’s a really great store, and I can’t tell you how fun it is for me to walk into a shop and think, “I can buy anything I want! It’s all vegan!” I’m overwhelmed in a similar way whenever I get to go to a vegan restaurant. You mean I can order anything on the menu? Are you serious?
One of the things I brought back with me to Boston was a package of Soy Curls. I saw them for the first time in a Chicken-style salad on Julie Hasson’s Everyday Dish. I’d never seen them in Boston, so I jumped at the last bag sitting on the shelf at Sidecar. They sat in my purse all the way back to Boston, and I tried to explain to my husband what they were exactly. Looking at the dry, shriveled pieces in the package, I could tell he wasn’t convinced.
So I went ahead and made myself a dish with them. When I sat down on the couch (I’ve co-opted the dining room table to use in the kitchen), he asked for a bite. Then another. And then requested them for dinner the next night.
Soy Curls are great because all you have to do is soak them in hot water to rehydrate them, then flavor/cook them however you want. Here’s a great, easy and FAST dinner that’s perfect for spring asparagus. You can substitute tofu, setian or tempeh for the Soy Curls if you’re unable to find them, but you may need to adjust the favoring; soy curls seem to absorb the sauce in a special way.
Sesame Soy Curls with Asparagus and Quinoa
1 Cup Quinoa, rinsed three times
1 1/2 Cups Cool Water
1/2 tsp Salt, scant
1 tsp Oil
2 Cups Dry Soy curls
2 Tbs Oil
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced (optional, I left it out)
1 Dry Chili, crushed, optional
2 Small Carrots, thinly sliced or grated
1 lb Asparagus, trimmed to 1/2-1/3 of the stalks
1 Tbs Sugar
3 Tbs Soy Sauce/Tamari (reduced sodium)
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds for garnish.
Rinse the quinoa three times, rubbing the grains in your hands. While the majority of quinoa now available in stores already has the bitter coating of saponin removed, I find there is usually still some left. Your quinoa will tastes better if you give it good scrub.
Add rinsed quinoa, water, salt, and oil to a pot that has a lid. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat down to low to simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it steam for another 10. Don’t open the lid until the last 10 minutes are up. Fluff before serving.
Place soy curls in a bowl and cover with boiling/near boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to re-hydrate. Once hydrated, squeeze out any remaining liquid.
Heat a wok over high heat and add oil. Add soy curls and stir-fry until browned. Remove curls from the wok and add garlic, chili and veggies (using more oil if needed). When asparagus is bright green and tender-crisp, add soy curls back into the wok. Add soy sauce, sugar and vinegar and toss well. Drizzle sesame oil over the top. Taste a soy curl and adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve over quinoa and top with sesame seeds