This is another recipe from my cousin that I spent time adapting to be vegetarian instead of making my sister’s wedding gift. What can I say? It looked intriguing.
I’ve tried this with a few different types of seitan, and my favorite is Companion Cha’i-Pow-Yu, or braised seitan tidbits. It kind of looks like dog food when it comes out of the can, but please trust me when I say it’s chewy yet tender, and intensely flavorful. The tidbits are packed in oil, so for almost all applications I choose to rinse them before use. The soybean oil that they’re packed in is probably not as tasty as whatever I might marinate or cook them in, so it’s an important step.
I bought the Cha’i-Pow-Yu at one of the Asian markets in my neck of the woods, H-Mart, but you can also buy it online. If you can’t find it, or want to use something you already have, you could use 16 – 20 ounces of any vegetarian chicken substitute, from fried tofu cubes to Quorn or Morningstar Farms.
Adapted from a recipe from my cousin Katie
2 cans seitan tidbits (I use the 10 ounce Companion Cha’i-Pow-Yu)
1 large lime
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chik’n seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (brown is better but white is fine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Squeeze the juice of your lime into a large bowl. Toss drained and rinsed seitan chunks in lime juice until covered, then drain most but not all of the excess juice. Add chik’n seasoning, red onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, oregano, thyme, cilantro, and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes. (This is a good time to start cooking the gandules con coco.)
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until oil shimmers and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Stir in sugar and cook one to two minutes.
Dump your marinated seitan and veggies into the pot, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften.
Reduce heat to low. Add tomato paste, then measure 1/2 cup of water and add a little bit to the pot, stirring to combine. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are completely softened, stirring in more water from the 1/2 cup as needed to extend the sauce and prevent it from thickening too much. If you finish this before the gandules, keep it warm over super low heat until they are ready — it’ll be fine!
Serve with gandules con coco over rice.