It's lightbox night, ya'll!
Remember that wad of Shiso leaves I bragged about last weekend? Well, the first thing I felt like doing was re-familiarizing myself with their taste, since it had been a while since last I noshed on shiso. So a pesto seemed in order, something with some sesame and garlic, lightly. Over those awesome beans!
Longbeans in Shiso Pesto
Quickest side ever.
1 pound longbeans, ends trimmed, washed thoroughly
12 fresh shiso leaves, torn to pieces
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds, white
1/4 cup olive and sesame oil, mixed to taste (I used about half of each, to keep the sesame taste a tad light)
Freshly ground Szechuan pepper, 3-4 grinds
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Put everything but the beans in a blender and pulverize it all, pushing down the sides with a scraper as needed, until a uniform texture is reached. Set aside in a bowl.
In a large wok, heat the veggie oil to medium high, almost smoking. Add your beans and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until they soften a bit. Add your pesto and toss, mixing well, and continue to cook 2-3 more minutes, until the herbs are very fragrant. Either serve as is or transfer to a cutting board and chop the beans into pieces, to facilitate easy face-stuffing.
While I do love me some vegetables, and beans in particular, the consensus was that we needed something more substantial. I'd bought some yuba a couple of weeks back from my uber-favorite asian grocery and I figured I'd do something with that. Yuba is the skin left from the soymilk making process - very chewy, tres cool. You've eaten it if you've ever had "vegetarian fish" at Buddah Bodai or other vegan (read: Buddhist) dim sum places - it's usually rolled and braised and has an awesome texture.
I wanted curry, however.
So we went with stewing it in a quick panang. Turned out rather like large, chewy noodles. Tying it together with some mock duck and mushrooms (and carrots! cabbage!) made it a pretty special dinner.
Curry Yuba with Mushrooms
Yup, that's the yuba, underneath all that veggie, scallion, shallot, hot sauce goodness.
1 pkg yuba (dried bean curd skin)
1 can mock duck or chicken (gluten, available from most asian groceries)
1 small piece red cabbage
2 portobello mushroom caps
1/2 green pepper
1 can coconut milk
Dash palm sugar
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons panang curry paste
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce (available at most asian groceries)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pointer-finger sized chunk of ginger, grated
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Fried shallots, Garlic Chili sauce, fresh scallions, to serve
Fill a large, rectangular container or baking sheet with warm water and soak your yuba until it softens, about 5 minutes. Cut it or tear it into long pieces and set aside in a bowl.
In a small pot, boil your coconut milk and add any flavoring agents you'd like to use (I keep lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves in my freezer, so I tossed some in) as well as your curry paste, sugar, and salt. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes. Remove leaves and stalk, if using, and add your yuba - simmer for another 10 minutes. Set aside to steep.
Julienne all of your veggies and heat your sesame oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Slice your mock duck thinly. Toss your garlic, ginger, veggies, and scallion into the wok and stir fry until the carrot shows signs of softening, about 5 minutes. Add your oyster sauce and soy sauce, plus Sriracha, and stir well. Cover with a lid or pizza pan (can you guess which I use? hehehe) and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cover and toss vegetables until they dry out a bit, another minute or two.
Spoon some yuba and curry into a bowl. Make a well in the center and tong some of the mushrooms and gluten into the middle. Garnish with hot sauce, scallions, and shallots (and hey, why not, some peanuts mebbe). Munch with chopsticks, then spoons. Yum!