Saturday, February 2, 2013

Vegan Ya Ka Mein

Ya Ka Mein (aka "Old Sober") from the upcoming Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen.
Ya Ka Mein (aka "Old Sober")
Since I won't be traveling to New Orleans this Carnival, I am bringing Mardi Gras to me with a traditional Louisiana favorite known as Ya Ka Mein.  Kittee, I am looking for your approval on this one!

I was watching the Food Network the other night, and they had a Chopped episode that featured Louisiana chefs as all four contestants.  One of the contestants was known as the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady.  (Her real name is Ms. Linda Green.)  What is Ya Ka Mein?  It is basically a beef based broth and beef, spiced up with Cajun spices, poured over spaghetti noodles, topped with green onions and a hardboiled egg.  I was fascinated by this dish.  Asian inspired Louisiana soul food?  Well if that isn't fusion, I don't know what is!  Which is exactly why I needed a vegan version for my newest book, Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen.

There is controversy over how the dish ended up in Louisiana.  Some say it was the black soldiers fighting in Korea who brought it back to the states.  Yet, others say it was the Chinese workers brought over to work on the railroad between Houston to New Orleans who eventually settled in the now defunct New Orleans Chinatown who popularized the dish.  Regardless of how it got there, the locals revel in its ability to "cure" hangovers, hence the moniker "Old Sober."

I am going to give you two ways to make this.  One super easy, and semi-homemade, and one that is completely from scratch.  Both are yummy, and both make use of a funky fun tofu "deviled egg."  Both ways taste great!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

1 pound dry spaghetti noodles
6 1/2 cups vegan beef broth, store bought or homemade (recipe below)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (only if using store bought broth!)
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
+/- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste (1/4 teaspoon makes it pretty darn spicy!)
1 pound prepared seitan cut into bit sized chunks, store bought or homemade (recipe below)
8 tofu deviled eggs (recipe below), optional
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
As pasta is boiling, add broth to a separate pot along with the Old Bay, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper.  If using store bought broth, add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to the broth as well.
Bring the broth to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Add in seitan chunks,cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Divide pasta into four big bowls.
Spoon one fourth of the seitan and broth over the noodles.
Place two tofu deviled eggs on top of each bowl.
Sprinkle with green onions.

Yield: 4 big hearty bowls

Homemade Ya Ka Mein Broth
6 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
+/- 1 teaspoon black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a pot, stir and proceed with recipe instructions above.

Homemade Ya Ka Mein Seitan Chunks
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of your pan

Add all dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
Add water and soy sauce and knead until a very elastic and wet dough is formed.
Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Tear dough into bite sized chunks.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
Add chunks to hot oil taking care not to over crowd the pan.
Fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until dark golden brown and crispy.
Transfer fried chunks into simmering broth and continue with above recipe instructions.

Tofu Deviled Eggs
1 (1 pound) block extra or super firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tablespoons (15 g) prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mellow white or yellow miso
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and Pepper to taste (black salt will give it an extra eggy flavor)

Cut your block of tofu in half.
Cut one half into 8 rectangular blocks about 2″ long by 1 1/2″ wide by 3/4″ tall.
Using a spoon, scoop out a little “bowl” in each block, set aside.
Add remaining tofu and all remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until very smooth.
Roll mixture into little balls and place inside the bowls you made in the tofu blocks. (use any left over mixture as a yummy sandwich spread, or just eat it all up with a spoon!)
Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of paprika before placing on top of the Ya Ka Mein.

Monthly Snack Box from Vegan Cuts

My Snack Box from Vegan Cuts!

For a mere $19.95 per month you can receive a box of your own each and every month trhat includes the newest, latest and greatest vegan products available!  This month included some really yummy stuff (Hello Peanut butter Crunch Caramel Earth Bar, and Nacho Bean Chips!) but my favorite item in this box, was the Cuppow sippy top for mason jars!  (I am definitely packing that to bring with me to Vida Vegan Con in may, so I don't spill my Bye and Bye at the Bye and Bye...ha!)

But seriously, this snack box is a pretty convenient way to keep up to date on all the new stuff out there, as it seems new stuff is coming out all the time!  Go to the Vegan Cuts website and subscribe to get your own snack box delivered to your doorstep monthly.  From the looks of it, had I bought all of these items individually, I probably would have spent close to $75 and at only $19.95, not only was this box full of yummy stuff, but it was a bargain as well.  Not to mention, now I am going to try new products, that I may have never tried otherwise, ie, Freekeh Roasted Green Wheat.

Another awesome feature over on Vegan Cuts is that you can set up your own account, and earn rewards points when you refer others to the site.  So not only are you able to shop for and support vegan companies, with great deals, but you can also earn cool VIV (Very Important Vegan) rewards!  Yay for vegan companies, and Yay for Vegan Cuts!

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni