We scored big time on our recent trip to Seattle: we returned home with a trunk load of vegan goodies. I gave due praise to the fresh tofu the other night and we are enjoying the hell out of the fresh rice noodles from Uwajimaya, but I reserved my favorite find for tonight’s dinner: frozen packages of “shrimp” from Sidecar For Pigs Peace in the University District.
I practically danced in the aisle when I first discovered that Sidecar carries mock seafood! I can’t say that I actually miss eating real seafood, but it is nice to have a break from tofu and seitan every now and then. Plus, it makes veganizing traditional seafood dishes all the more interesting. Seriously, look at these little guys: they look crazy real. Almost realistic enough to induce guilt!
Curried shrimp is one of our favorite quick Thai dishes. We usually serve it over hot steamed rice, but tonight we served it over fresh rice noodles because we have them (yes, we did get a “wee” bit carried away with the rice noodles at Uwajimaya!). Since the rice noodles absorb so much sauce when heated, I doubled the curry sauce ingredients for this dish.
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Curried Shrimp (Goong Oad Pong Garee)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons vegan fish sauce (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon palm sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red chili peppers
1 Tablespoon oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, slivered and halved
1/2 green bell pepper, slivered and halved
1/2 sweet or yellow onion, slivered and halved
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves (Thai basil if you have it)
8 ounce package “faux” shrimp
Steamed brown or jasmine rice (or fresh rice noodles*)
First, get the rice to cooking (if using).
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables; set aside. Whisk together the broth, vegan fish sauce, vegan oyster sauce, sugar, curry powder and crushed chili pepper flakes; set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the garlic, bell peppers and onion and sauté until crisp-tender (more crisp than tender).
Add the sauce, basil and the shrimp. Continue to cook until the shrimp is thoroughly heated.
Serve the curried shrimp and vegetables over the steamed rice.
*If using fresh rice noodles, bring them to room temperature (if refrigerated.) Place the fresh rice noodles in a large bowl of warm (not hot) water to soften them up and to remove the oily film added to keep the noodles from sticking together. Drain and rinse the noodles gently just before cooking. After cooking the vegetables and the shrimp in half of the curry sauce, remove the vegetables and the shrimp to a bowl and cover. Add the remaining curry sauce to the wok and heat. Add the noodles to the wok and toss gently to combine with the sauce until the noodles are heated throughout. Place the noodles on a large platter and top with the curried shrimp and vegetables.
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Vegan Fish Sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded dried seaweed (I use wakame)
4 cups + 2 cups water
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1-1/2 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
Place the seaweed and 4 cups of the water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low boil and cook 20 minutes.
Add the garlic, peppercorns, soy sauce and the remaining 2 cups of water and return to a boil. Boil for at least 30 minutes.
When the “fish” sauce is reduced by half (and way too salty!), it is done. Let cool and then strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a clean storage jar.
Store in the refrigerator.