I gotta be honest: when you grow up in Apulia, or generally in the South of Italy, you do not usually eat stir fry dishes. Imagine then to know what a vegan beef stir-fry is. When growing up, you start going abroad, getting to know more cultures and eating dishes from different cultures and countries.
Speaking of this, we can say without any doubts that Asia has a huge variety of different cuisines and you can find dishes, that are simply delicious and good for any occasion. In the last months, we have started cooking more and more dishes that we haven’t made before. One of our favorites has been making Chinese and Chinese-style dishes. Making Chinese dishes involves getting to know traditional ingredients, dishes, recipes and cooking methods. This is a fun challenge that gives a huge reward when you see the final result and eat what you made.
Among the various Chinese dishes we have made, vegan beef stir-fry is one among those that made us very proud. We have been able to replicate it and without the use of meat. And while the dish incorporates small amounts of animal-based products, you can easily make this dish is completely vegan too.
The stir-frying technique
Stir-frying is a widespread cooking technique originating from China, where, using a wok, you fry small amounts of ingredients. History has it that only with the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) this technique became very popular and known for its current use. Before that, it was used to dry grain. The term “stir-fry” was used for the first time in the half of the 20th century.
There are several techniques to stir fry, based on the food you make. Even though the amount of oil might be excessive, stir-fry has been considered generally healthy. So, one more reason to make vegan beef stir-fry.
The key to successfully stir-fry is the heat of your wok (or other pan). The advantage of a wok pan is the ability to regulate the heat easily. Prepare all the ingredients before you heat up the pan, heat the pan, add the oil, and start cooking!
Ingredients for vegan beef stir-fry
First of all, the original dish is made with beef, which we have replaced with soy. We use textured soy protein, or soy chunks because they fit the purpose very well. The best option is to use slightly larger pieces that resemble strips of sliced meat. The texture resembles beef very much and the rich taste of the sauce makes the soy chunks taste great.
This dish is based on a classical Chinese black pepper beef stir-fry (黑椒牛柳). It is a great example of a Chinese stir-fry recipe and as such is ready in a matter of minutes. It has a lot of taste and the black pepper gives it its characteristic taste. For vegetables, we used broccoli and onions but feel free to use other crunchy vegetables. Whichever you prefer are the best choices for the dish. Serve your vegan beef stir-fry dish with white rice for the best taste.
Additionally, this dish originally contains oyster sauce which contains small amounts of oysters. If you want to make your dish vegan, don’t worry! Luckily, you can also find vegetarian/vegan oyster sauce quite easily, and this will turn your dish into a completely vegan beef stir-fry. The vegan oyster sauce uses mushrooms (shiitake, mostly) to bring lots of flavors to the sauce.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty simple and mostly spices to give your dish the right taste. You till find the entire list below.
Chinese recipes often require Shaoxing wine for cooking but here in Finland, it isn’t that easy to buy for cooking purposes. We have just replaced it with Mirin (a Japanese sweet cooking wine). It’s not a complete match but it is so much more affordable. If you have Shaoxing wine, definitely use that.
Vegan beef stir-fry
Marinade for the soy chunks
For the sauce
Cook the dry soy chunks according to the package instructions. Usually, this means boiling them until they turn soft and then draining them of excess water. You can add a vegetable stock cube to the water to have more taste. If using ready-made soy strips, skip the step.
In the meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the marinade and then ingredients for the sauce in separate bowls.
When the soy is ready, mix with the marinade. Heat up the wok pan over high heat and add half of the oil. When the pan is hot, add the vegetables and cook for a minute or two. Then add the rest of the oil and the soy. Cook for another minute or two.
Add the sauce, and stir until the sauce is thick. Serve with white rice.Add more black pepper in the end if you want an even more intense flavor.