Seitan “Peppersteak” with Bean-Thread Noodles

Seitan is a traditional Asian food made from high-protein wheat gluten. in Chinese cookery, it is often used as a very convincing meat analog. Peppersteak is a perfect menu for this “beefy” food.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 4 ounces bean-thread (cellophane) noodles
  • 1 pound fresh seitan, liquid reserved (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons natural soy sauce, divided
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut to match green pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, optional
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • Extra soy sauce, optional

Combine the noodles with enough hot water to cover in a heatproof container. Let them soak, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until done but still firm. Drain the noodles, then place them on a cutting board and chop  in several directions to shorten.

Meanwhile, drain the liquid from the seitan into a measuring cup. If need be, add enough water to equal one cup and set aside until needed.

Cut the seitan into chunky, bite-sized strips. Slowly heat half the oil and half the soy sauce slowly in a wok or stir-fry pan. Add the seitan, stir quickly to coat, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir-fry until most of the sides are lightly browned. Transfer the seitan to a plate until needed.

Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Add the garlic and bell peppers, turn the heat up, and stir-fry until the peppers are tender-crisp. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry until they wilt.

Combine the reserved liquid from the seitan in a small bowl with the remaining soy sauce, along with the sherry and optional ginger. Stir the cornstarch in until it dissolves. Pour into the wok and cook, stirring, until everything is well heated through.

Stir in the noodles and heat briefly. Serve at once, passing around extra soy sauce if desired.

Note: Seitan is available ready-made in natural foods stores. Or, if you’d like to make a larger quantity more economically, try making it from Seitan Quick Mix (Arrowhead Mills).

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