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Ethnic Cuisine Class: Chinese Favorites

Compassionate Cuisine Cooking Class: Chinese Favorites

One of the great joys of being a vegan chef and working at a teaching sanctuary is that not only do I get to create and cook wonderful, compassionate food…I get to teach other people how to do the same. Ethnic cuisine continues to be one of our most popular series of classes and last week I shared how to create easy vegan versions of some popular Chinese takeout favorites.

Not surprisingly, we had a mix of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores in our “judgement-free kitchen” at The Homestead which always supplies the right ingredients for interesting conversations and questions. We had a great class, made new friends and tried scrumptious new versions of familiar favorites.

As vegans or vegetarians, cooking Chinese food is easy, right? Whipping up a great stir fry with fresh vegetables, rice and maybe some tofu or tempeh can be a quick go-to dinner when you are craving Asian flavors. In this class, we took it one step further and recreated a favorite dish, General Tso’s Chicken using seitan. If you’re familiar with the dish, it’s deep-fried, loaded with sugar and salt and isn’t the healthiest choice, even for non-veg folks. Our version was also fried, but we cut down on the sugar and sodium and overall lightened up the dish. Crazy good!

We also had Hot & Sour Soup (which, on a scale of 1-10, was an 11 in my book!) Typically made with pork and eggs, this version used shitake mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots and a lot of zing!

Our Flaky Scallion Pancakes were maybe the second biggest hit of the night, next to the General Tso’s Seitan. Already a vegan dish, the point was simply to demonstrate how simple they are to make, even with the interesting rolling process that creates all the little flaky layers.

Our Cashew Fried Rice was a compassionate version of traditional fried rice that generally uses eggs. Instead, we scrambled up some tofu with black salt (contains sulfur which smells and tastes like eggs) and added a bunch of other fresh, healthy and delicious ingredients that created outrageous taste and texture.

With all the recipe testing and leftovers, I think I must have eaten a gallon of Hot & Sour Soup last week. I’d like to say I’ve moved on and my craving for Asian food is a distant memory for now…but the flavors, textures and colors were so excellent (and because everything was so darn easy), we might be having “Chinese Takeout” again real soon. Give these recipes a try and if you want to see some heads spin, don’t tell anyone you made them until they’ve finished.



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