If you have been to Chinese vegetarian restaurants, especially those Buddhist-inspired, you have probably encountered a lot of ‘mock meat’ or ‘faux meat’ dishes. Their texture and shape are made to resemble the real meat, as closely as possible. Industry produced mock meat products are mostly a mixture of wheat gluten and isolated soy protein. Some people don’t like mock meat as they prefer the “real thing”. Some vegetarians despise it as they think it’s absurd that one should cling to meat when they decide to be vegetarian. However, there are open-minded people who love meat but are concerned about their personal health and also have a love for animals and would happily give mock meat a try. I embrace it as I think it is an easier introduction for people who are used to eating meat, before they learn to appreciate natural, whole plant-based food. So even though I don’t make it for myself, I love to make it for my family and friends from time to time, or take them to the restaurants where those dishes are served. ;-)
This dish is supposed to imitate Shredded Meat with Beijing Sauce (京酱肉丝). Usually made of pork and sweet flour paste (甜面酱), it is eaten with cucumber, wrapped together in a very thin pancake, dipped in sweet flour sauce.
Health Index: 2/5 (once a week)
Kitchen Gadgets: Frying Pan/Wok
1½ cup /50g dried soy protein shreds
enough water for soaking
1½ tsp olive oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp sweet flour paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp rice wine
½ to ¾ cup coconut oil (optional, for deep-frying method, see instruction)
1. Soak the dried soy protein shreds for 15 minutes.
2. Oven method: Squeeze excessive water out of soaked soy protein, then sprinkle ½ tsp of olive oil over it and bake at 200oC (392oF) for 15 minutes.
Deep-frying method: Squeeze excessive water out of soaked soy protein, add ½ or ¾ cup of coconut oil to the wok or saucepan and place on medium heat, fry for 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop out so the excessive oil is removed. I only recommend this method for people without an oven. Coconut oil is ideal for deep-frying as the heat doesn’t lead to trans fats. Don’t worry about the taste, it doesn’t leave any coconut flavour at all!
3. Mix the sweet flour paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine in a bowl.
4. Preheat a stainless steel pan then lower to a medium heat, add the remaining 1 tsp olive oil turning the pan to let oil coat it. Add the grated ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add sweet flour paste mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add the prepared soy protein shreds, mix and stir-fry for 2 minutes. When they’re all coated with sauce it’s done.