Vegan MoFo Challenge #3: volcano “chicken” soy knots with carrots, broccoli, & jasmine rice!

Vegan MoFo 2010!

As previously mentioned, I’m going to challenge myself to cook and eat as many new foods as possible, during MoFo and beyond. For each challenge, I’ll have a Q&A for people who are equally unfamiliar with the ingredient used.

Today’s ingredient was…

soy knots!
SOY KNOTS!

soy knots, out of the bag

To put it lightly, there is not a lot of information online about soy knots. The only recipes I found that used them were The Vegan Ronin’s General Tso’s Tofu and Homestyle Vegan Chicken Fingers, Chow Vegan’s Baked Vegan Cajun Chicken Fingers, and Cupcake Punk’s ‘Chicken’ and Broccoli in Black Bean Sauce. Upon further research, I found out that these are usually called “bean curd knots” and “bean curd stick,” but I first heard of them as “soy knots,” so my Google search was initially limited to the aforementioned links. The soy/bean curd knots I found at our local Asian market were fresh, not dried, but I soaked them in stock anyway, hoping to get a bit of extra flavor.
Since there was so little information available to work with, I didn’t really put together a proper Q&A, so this will just be more of a casual tale of cooking experimentation than an educational venture exploring the fundamental merits and flaws of soy knots.

“CHICKEN” SOY KNOTS
» 1 package fresh soy knots
» mushroom stock, for soaking
» cornstarch, for breading
» peanut or canola oil, for frying

Soy knots are just made of tofu. Ingredients: soy bean, water, salt!
To start, we soaked an entire package of fresh soy knots in mushroom stock. After about half an hour, we drained the knots in a colander and tossed them in cornstarch. When all of the knots were coated with cornstarch, we heated up a pot of oil and deep-fried them in small batches, draining them all on paper towel until the next step.

soy knots & mushroom stock

soy knots, soaking

fried soy knots

VEGAN VOLCANO SAUCE
h/t Simple Comfort Food
» 4 cloves garlic, minced
» 1 c water
» 1/2 c Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Stock
» 1 tbsp palm sugar
» 2 tbsp brown sugar
» 1 tbsp maple syrup
» 3 tbsp soy sauce
» 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
» 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
» 1 Thai chili, chopped
» 2 Thai chilis, whole

Most of the volcano sauce recipes I found used whiskey, which we’ve literally never had in the house (our standard cooking alcohols: brandy, vodka, red wine, white wine). So rather than hit it up with a different kind of booze, we veganized this volcano sauce recipe, boiling all of the ingredients until it was thick and syrupy. It took about half an hour for the sauce to reduce.
Coincidentally, the sauce recipe we used was inspired by the volcano sauce of a local Thai restaurant, the King & I. In no way should this be considered a King & I endorsement! Indeed, the only time I went there, I was told by the waitstaff that not a single dish could be prepared vegan or vegetarian, as they all contained fish sauce or shrimp paste. All. I ended up paying $2 for a side of plain rice, which I doused in Kikkoman. Oh, what a dinner it was! Dear everyone who doesn’t eat dead animals: Sorry, no substitutions here. I’ll never know if the waiter was telling the truth or just blowing me off because he didn’t want to deal with another annoying vegan, because after that, I’ll never go back. Everyone wins!

To bring it all together, we brought out our indispensable 3-cup Walgreens rice cooker and made jasmine rice. We fried carrot coins and chopped broccoli in canola oil until they were a bit charred to get an extra-special smoky, seared flavor. Finally, we added the pre-fried and drained “chicken” soy knots, stir-fried for a couple of minutes to reheat, and poured the sauce over everything. (Yes, we have an electric stove. No, we do not want to have an electric stove. It was here when we moved in, and we’re going to have to pay someone to run a gas line to the kitchen from the basement in addition to buying a new stove, and this fact is the bane of our respective existences.)

soy knot stir-fry

This was… pretty good. To be honest, I really didn’t care for the soy knots at all. I don’t know if we just prepared them wrong or what, but they were so ridiculously chewy that they were difficult to eat. My jaw started to hurt after the first 4 or 5 knots! The sauce was missing a little something, too — some kind of savory smokiness that neither of us could imagine how to recreate. I won’t be buying soy knots again.

soy knot stir-fry

So, like, soy knots? Not so much.

In happier news, here are my favorite MoFos from today, Day 6:
» Nether Ending Story: Vegan Chicken and Dumplings
» Unhealthy Vegan: Vegan Nachos
» The Airy Way: baby pattypan squash and vegetable pancake
» Miso for Breakfast: stuffed baked artichokes
» Ste Martaen: Chicago vegan food truck, week one
» Your Mom’s A Vegan: Brussels sprout love
» OMGVeg!: Crispy Fried Tofu & Ramen Noodles
» Go Vegan Meow: Chow Mein and Fried Rice
» Vegan Good Things: Korean Take-Out
» Home Sweet Vegan Home: Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles
» Brittany’s Veg Kitchen: Peruvian Quinoa Soup
» Vegan Brew: Hoppy Habanero Inferno Sauce & Tofu Rice Bowl
» Scrap. Eat. World.: Japanese food: Edamame, Avocado & Cucumber Maki, Onigiri, Ochazuke, Yakitori, Gyoza, and Tofu Udon Stir-Fry!

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2 Responses to Vegan MoFo Challenge #3: volcano “chicken” soy knots with carrots, broccoli, & jasmine rice!

  1. Aw man, I’m disappointed to hear that the soy knots aren’t good to eat… they LOOK so tasty!

  2. celyn says:

    Thank you for including my post on your day’s MoFos, yay! I was already reading yours and coming here to post because it was such a useful post. I guess it’s sort of like yuba? I have some yuba sticks that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with, but they don’t look like the soy knots. Now I know not to deep fry them!

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