For everyone that's been using the Thai chilli broth I wrote up a few years ago, consider this the 2.0 version. It's a little pricier and a little fussier, but it's also a bit more satisfying. I think for anyone that's on the tail end of Veganuary, or looking for some meat free Monday recipes, this one could be ideal.
I'm only just coming round to using fake meats, or meat replacers, in my meals as a regular thing- seeing people like Yes It's All Vegan, Club Mexicana and Cook Daily use seitan, tempeh and tofu with such wild abandon has made me re-consider my initial reaction to fake meat, which was, well, eurgh. And while I'm still a firm lover of the beans, legumes and nuts-for-protein camp, seitan, tempeh and tofu take on flavours in such a great way that I think for a treat- or to brighten up a grim Monday night- why not try some ridiculously- mis-spelt meat analogue 'chyken'.
I can't afford to add seitan to every meal, but I often cook this broth on a Monday night (as the past three Mondays have shown...).
You can swap about with chicken pieces, breaded chicken strips, tofu- I think any of those would taste great seared- and it's that extra effort that makes this all the more tempting to pack up into a lunch box and take to work the next day. Hey, I also managed to find a box of frozen spring rolls in my local supermarket as well- bake a few to add to your meal if you're the kind of person that gets tempted by Chinese takeaways after a hard day and you'll be saving a loada cash.
Some tips if you like making this on the regs:
- Swap out the vegetables for whatever you have in- broccoli and courgette are my current favourites, but kale, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas, mange tout, bean sprouts- they'll all work well too.
- Stock up on a few tins of coconut milk, some limes, chillies, and coriander, have a few packs of seitan in the freezer, and you can pretty much make this whenever you feel like it.
- My final tip is a bit of a confession: This recipe is made all the more easier by using microwaveable rice right at the end- especially if you're cooking this for friends coming over or you want to take this to work. But I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy (I'm not actually sure I've ever read a blog advising on microwaveable rice but I just can't get enough of the stuff) … however it's January and if microwaveable rice stops you from ordering a takeaway then GODDAMIT it's an attempt.
Coconut broth with sesame, soy and agave seared-seitan
Makes four portions (i.e. two for dinner and two lunches)
For the marinade
4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp agave
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 pack of chicken- style seitan, Fry's chicken strips or similar
For the broth
1 white onion, chopped small
4 carrots, peeled and chopped as preferred
4 cloves of garlic, chopped small
1 or 2 chillies, chopped small (depending on how hot you'd like it)
1 thumb of ginger, grated
1 broccoli, cut into stalks
1 courgette, halved, then sliced into bite-size pieces
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tin full fat coconut milk
Rice- either basmati or microwaveable rice
Juice of one lime
Handful of coriander leaves
Spring onions, chopped small, for serving
Start with the super-easy marinade. Just whisk the sesame oil, agave and soy sauce in a bowl, then add in the seitan pieces. Allow it to sit on the side while you get on with the main broth, but do toss/ coat it with the marinade if it all sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
Grab a large pan or wok and gently heat the sunflower oil, adding in the onion and carrot. Cook until the onion has started to soften, then stir in the garlic, chillies and ginger. You don't really need to season this broth because of the stock and soy sauce in the marinade- so just make sure you test as you go that it's not too coconutty or spicey. Allow all the flavours to cook through for three minutes, then add in the broccoli and courgette. Let them fry for a few minutes as well, then pour in the stock and coconut milk.
Leave the broth to simmer for 15 minutes or so, at which time you can start on your rice and seared seitan. Get the rice on the boil if making from scratch (oh, I'm not helping myself here am I!) and then simply pour the entire marinade bowl's contents into a frying pan and leave on a high heat. Spread out the seitan across the pan so it gets the chance to sear- you want the edges of the fake meat to just get that charred look, which is helped along by the sugar in the agave.
Give the broth a stir through and add in half the lime juice and half the coriander leaves. Once the rice is ready, drain, then cover the lid of the pan with a clean tea towel and place over the pan. This will keep the rice fluffy and soft- the perfect texture when you're adding it to a broth.
Once the seitan has started to darken at the edges and crisp up, and the broccoli and courgette are cooked through, you're ready to serve. Spoon the rice into bowls, followed by the broth, and then add the seitan and make sure to get plenty of the marinade sauce that's left in the frying pan- it's the best part! Sprinkle over the remaining coriander leaves, lime juice, and some spring onions, and you're done.