Saturday, January 12, 2013

Traditional Thai Curry (With Seitan)

In my old neighborhood, I had a neighbor who made delicious Thai curry and was kind enough to share her recipe with me.  It tastes exactly like the kind we order in the best Thai restaurants.  It can be made with chicken, but I am sharing a "Mock Duck" version for those of you who do not eat meat.  Mock Duck is another name for the ingredient of the week - Seitan.  If you enjoy Thai curry, you will love this recipe:

Mock Duck in Red (or Green) Curry with Bamboo Shoots

1 lb. cubed Seitan
1 T. red or green curry paste
1 can coconut milk, divided (I use Lite Coconut Milk)
1/2 cup sweet basil leaves
5 kaffir lime leaves, halved (these can be found in Oriental markets, usually in the freezer section)
1 sweet red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced zucchini or baby eggplant (I use a half cup of each)
2 T. fish sauce (found in the Oriental section of grocery stores)
1/4 t. salt
1/3 cup water or milk (I use skim or almond milk)
8-oz can bamboo shoots
1 1/2 t. sugar

In a pot, bring half the coconut milk to a slow boil, stirring constantly.  Put in red or green curry paste and seitan, stir well, and cook about 5 minutes.
Add remaining coconut milk, water (or milk), bamboo shoots, veggies, red pepper, kaffir leaves, sugar, and fish sauce and slowly bring to a boil.  Cook until vegetables are desired consistency.  Garnish with basil (I actually add some to the sauce when I add the other ingredients).
Serves 4 to 5.

If you can not find kaffir lime leaves, I have seen recipes that substitute a bit of lime juice.  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  I have been making it (with chicken, then tofu, and now Seitan) for years.

Until next time, happy and healthy eating!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Seitan - Nutrition Facts and Recipes

I mentioned in a previous Blog post that Seitan is my favorite non-meat source of protein.  It is a wheat protein that has only 120 calories per 1/3 cup serving and only 2 grams of fat.  This same serving also contains 21 generous grams of protein!  The brand I buy is Westsoy and it can be found in the refrigerated portion of the Organic section of your local supermarket. 

Seitan has a wonderful texture that absorbs flavors beautifully.  I am finding that I can substitute it in any recipe where meat is stewed or served in a sauce.  Examples include beef or lamb stews, Beef Stroganoff, chili, Thai or Indian curries, and even Coq au Vin or Beef Bourguignon.  It does not need to cook as long as stewing meat does.  Usually the flavors soak in perfectly in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the recipe and the other ingredients you are adding.

A good friend sent me the following recipe for "Better-N-Beef Bourguignon":

4 - 6 Seitan medallions (I used a box and a half of the cubed Westsoy Seitan)
6 medium carrots, sliced
1 big onion, sliced
1 bottle of dry red wine (I used an inexpensive Merlot)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 garlic clove
1-2 bay leaves (I used 2)
1 T. flour or cornstarch (to thicken broth)
salt & pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish

Saute Seitan in a small amount of oil for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan.  Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes.
Add wine and broth, carrots, onion, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Then let simmer for 30 minutes, half covered so broth and wine can evaporate a bit.
Add Seitan to vegetables and simmer with lid on for another 30 minutes.
Mix flour (or cornstarch) with 1 T. water and add to mixture, stirring well over medium heat to thicken broth.
Serve over potatoes, rice, or noodles and sprinkle with parsley.  (I serve it over potatoes mashed with fat free milk and a little Lite Butter, but egg noodles are an excellent choice too). 

This week I plan to make Beef Stroganoff for my carnivores and I will make a small separate batch for myself using Seitan instead of the beef.  Last week I made a Thai curry (using curry mix from the Asian section of the grocery store and substituting the meat it asked for with Seitan) and it was wonderful.   Just pull out your favorite stew or curry recipe and replace the meat with Seitan.  It's that easy.  I have not made a chili with it yet, but I plan to next week. 

I hope that those of you who have been curious about this tasty ingredient will try it soon, transforming an old favorite into something healthy, Vegan, Lenten, and good!

Until next time, happy and healthy eating! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

It takes me a few days to come up with changes I want to make in any new year.  This year, there are several, only some of them dietary.  In that area, I plan to eat less meat.  I just went to Wegmans and bought two packages of Seitan, which is delicious and can be cooked into any stew, curry, or stir-fry with ease.  My plan is to make myself Seitan versions of some of the dishes my carnivores will eat.  I wish I could say that The China Study was the catalyst for this proposed change in my diet.  But it wasn't.  It was the recent Advent fast that spanned 40 days and ended on Christmas day.  Some health issues that had disappeared for a while re-emerged as soon as I put meat back into my diet.  Any way I spin it, I can not find any other reason for the negative change in certain parts of my digestive tract.   Oh well....

Other resolutions?   To begin to piece together the fragments of the book I started last year.  And to spend more time in prolonged prayer/meditation.  The peace I felt after doing my part of the Psaltery each night during this Advent season was palpable.  Otherwise, I hope to see my baby go to the college of his dreams and my oldest son to find complete contentment with the choices I am so proud that he has made.

What about you?  What does 2013 hold in store for you?   Please share.  In the meantime, happy New Year to you all!!