You know how occasionally you taste a dish that just blows your mind? Often it’s something really simple, like those Chinese beans with dried olives we had on Friday night at the pub downstairs. Sometimes, like the dinner Ash’s Mum made for us with shiitake mushrooms, beans and rice, have a fair few ingredients. This recipe is adapted from hers. Despite the list of ingredients, the recipe itself couldn’t be more straightforward. Just prep all your ingredients before you start and you’ll have dinner on the table in 10 minutes, if that.
In keeping with the Chinese theme this week, I present my version of san choy bow.
San choy bow falls into the (sort of extensive) category of dishes I’ve been wanting to try (or cook) for many years, but didn’t get around to, and then decided to become vegan, so the traditional version is no longer an option. When faced with that scenario, I like to look at what goes into the traditional recipe, and think about ways I can capture the essence of the recipe without sacrificing flavour or experience. Like the B.L.A.T, I’d really have to ask meat-eaters how it rates. Any meat-eaters out there to give me feedback?
When veganising a dish, I think it’s really important not to attempt to imitate the meat component. That only causes disappointment, because clearly a fake will taste like a fake, even if it’s yummy (and it’ll probably be more processed than a can of Coke). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. When you decide to make a vegetable the star, you usually end up with a higher quality, more impressive and more appealing dish. Especially if you are a meat-eater or feeding meat-eaters, why would a meat-eater want a fake when they could just have the real thing?
So in this recipe I’ve used mushrooms and lentils for their texture and flavour, and traditional Asian flavours to conjure up that san-choy-bow-ness. And I guarantee that non-vegans will appreciate this meal in its own right. I swear on Ash as my guinea pig.
Mushroom san choy bow (serves 2-3)
Ash’s Mum found a recipe from a newspaper clipping for shiitake mushrooms, beans and rice. It was incredibly tasty and satisfying, so I photocopied the clipping and filed it away. I’ve made it a number of times since, and never been disappointed. I used the flavour profile from that recipe because it’s deliciously savoury and very Asian. Perfect for san choy bow!
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mushroom oyster sauce
- 1/5 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp black vinegar
- half-sized pinch sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1″ (2.5cm) ginger, sliced into tiny matchsticks
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced finely
- 50g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 125g button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 400g tin of lentils, drained
- baby cos or iceberg lettuce to serve
- In small bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and vinegar with sugar and set aside.
- Heat a wok or skillet over high heat, heat oil and stir fry onion, ginger and garlic.
- Add mushrooms, carrots and sesame seeds and stir fry until mushrooms are cooked, a few minutes.
- Add shallots, soy sauce mix and lentils.
- Stir fry until heated through and place in serving dish garnished with some extra shallots.
- Serve with a bowl of baby cos lettuce leaves, extra soy sauce and minced chilli, so that everyone can assemble lettuce leaves with a spoonful of filling on their plates. Or you could just plate it all up and serve as a presentable entree.