Monday, October 20, 2008
My friend Grace has many talents. On top of being a fantastic baker, cake decorator extraordinaire and photographer, she is also a terrific cook. Last July, I had the pleasure of partaking in a feast she whipped up for her birthday party. This vegetarian turkey was one of the dishes she served.
Grace's vegetarian turkey reminds me of my good friend K in Malaysia, who has been a vegetarian for more than 15 years. Whenever I am in town, I like her to bring me to her favorite chinese vegetarian restaurant and let her do the ordering. There will be a table full of mock chicken, mock ham, mock bacon, and mock roast pork, mock fish and vegetables. I find it fascinating that one can name any meat, and the restaurant will surely has a vegetarian version, make with the mock meat in which the ingredients are essentially soy bean and mushroom, flavored to mimic the real deal.
I have not seen this kind of chinese vegetarian restaurants in the US, so I was excited when Grace served the vegetarian turkey. I knew I need to learn this dish. K will be impressed if I bring this to the next potluck party when I go home this Nov!
Grace uses an assortment of vegetables as filling/meat, and the beancurd sheet, which can be found at the freezer section of Asian grocery store, as the "turkey skin". That's our friend T, hiding behind the beancurd sheet.
Here's the step by step photo instructions I have taken while Grace was demonstrating the process. If you can read Chinese,check out the recipe on Grace's blog and other mouth watering creations she make. That woman is insanely talented, I miss her food.
Here's Grace posing with the vegetarian turkey. She will be so proud to know that I finally made it last week on a rainy day. It is as good as my mentor's! ;)
Grace's Vegetarian Turkey
see the recipe in Chinese here
1 pack of beancurd sheet (see the picture above)
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
1 cup wood ear mushroom, rehydrated in water, for 1 hour, and finely shredded
6 dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated in water, for 1 hour, and finely shredded
vegetarian oyster sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
dark soy sauce
For the filling:
Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick pan, and stirfry the carrot and mushrooms. Season with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon of vegetarian oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Continue to stirfry until all the ingredients are soft and cook.
Remove from the pan and put the filling in a pan to cool slightly.
In a small or medium bowl,mix together 1/2 cup of vegetarian broth with 1.5 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce, 1 tespoon of sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce,1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
To assemble the vegetarian turkey:
Remove 2 pieces of the bean curd sheets from the package,fold the sheets in half and cut with a scissor. You will have 4 pieces of half circle now. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the sauce onto a piece of half circle, cover with another half circle, and brush with the sauce. Repeat for 2 more times. You will have 4 pieces of overlapping beancurd sheets.
Put some of the filling in the center of the beancurd sheets, and fold following the step by step instructions above. Secure with a toothpick.
Heat a nonstick pan with oil, add in the "turkeys", and sear until both sides are lightly golden. Pour in th remaining sauce, the turkeys are ready when the sauce is almost fully absorb. Remove from pan, and cool.
At this point, you can keep the vegetarian turkey in the fridge and keep for up to 2 days. Cut when ready to serve.