Think back to the last dish you ate that made you tip your head back, fist pump or maybe blurt out an expletive or two after the first bite? This is one of those dishes that will make you do at least one of those, or maybe all three.
Crispy soy curls are tossed in a clingy, salty, gingery sweet glaze that keeps you going back for just one more bite until you realize you’re uncomfortably stuffed, but in a way that you’re kind of okay with because it was totally worth it. Originally made with beef, this dish was super easy to veganize. Although I used soy curls here to provide an awesome, faux-meaty texture, this could also be made with cauliflower florets, chickpeas, tofu or even sweet potato chunks. Serve with plain noodles or rice and greens, which pairs perfectly with the intense flavors of the sauce.
Mongolian Soy Curls
FOR THE "BEEF"
- 2 cups Butler Soy Curls
- 1 TB hoisin sauce
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 TB vegetable or canola oil
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons grated garlic
- dried or fresh chilis, to taste
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (use 1/4 cup to make less salty)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (if using 1/4 cup soy sauce, increase to 3/4 cup broth)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 TB cornstarch, blended with 4 TB cold water
- steamed rice or noodles
- broccoli or other steamed greens
- chopped scallions
- fresh Thai chilis, sliced or red pepper flakes
- First, reconstitute the soy curls by placing them in a medium-sized saucepan. Add enough water to cover them. Cover and bring to a small boil, then turn off he heat, allowing them to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the soy curls well, then press out as much water as possible. I did this by squeezing them through two stacked fine-mesh sieves, then pressed again by mashing them in the sieve with a strong spoon. It's important to get out as much moisture as possible. You could also place them in between towels and apply weight to remove the moisture.
- Once fully pressed, place the soy curls into a large bowl and toss with the hoisin sauce. Once evenly coated, sprinkle with only 1/4 cup of the cornstarch. Set aside.
- To make the sauce, warm the oil over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then add in the ginger and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until softened but not browned, stirring frequently. Add in the chilis if desired and saute for a minute more. Add in the soy sauce and broth, stir, then add in the brown sugar. Bring to a small simmer over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To fry the soy curls, place the oil into the bottom of a heavy pan (I used a cast-iron pan) so that there is about a 1-inch layer of oil. Heat over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the oil reaches 350-375 degrees OR sizzles immediately when you throw a pinch of cornstarch into it.
- Divide the soy curls into 4 portions. Sprinkle only one of the portions with 1/8 cup of cornstarch and toss to coat. Tap off any excess, then transfer to the hot oil and fry until golden all over, flipping once (about a minute on each side). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain while you repeat the process with the remaining soy curls.
- Return to your sauce. Warm over medium heat until it reaches a small simmer, then pour in the cornstarch/water mixture whisking until thickened. Remove from the heat and toss with the fried soy curls until well-coated.
- Serve over rice or noodles with chopped scallions and greens on the side.