Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sipz and Sweet & Sour "Chicken"

One of the few vegetarian restaurants that is extremely vegan friendly in San Diego is a place my boyfriend took me to shortly after I became vegan.  It is called Sipz and they serve Asian style bowls mostly but also make vegetarian sushi.  On our first trip there I was not so impressed as at that time I was really trying towards a more whole food, less fake "meat" way of eating and I didn't really want to go back.  Luckily for me my boyfriend liked the place so much that he talked me into giving them a second shot.  I think the first time I went I got a bowl with mushrooms instead of tofu or "chicken" and it was ok.  The second time we went I had a grilled vegetable salad that was delicious.  I also tried a bit of my boyfriend's sweet and sour "chicken".  At this point I had been a vegan for a number of months and had discovered what seitan was.  This was by far the best seitan I have ever tried.  The texture was unbelievable.  The next time we went we ordered an extra meal to take home with us to eat for leftovers.  I gave my mom a piece to try and she told me that the restaurant had tricked us and really served us chicken.  I explained that it was a vegetarian restaurant and no chicken to be found and she was blown away.  I am so infatuated with the texture of this chicken and am bound and determined to recreate it some day.  Here is my first attempt.

First I made seitan

I attempted two different recipes for seitan; one that was boiled and one that was baked.  They both turned out fabulous but this boiled version was so flavorful all on its own; I think because it was cooked with ginger.

Then I cut the seitan into bite sized pieces and coated them in ener g egg replacer and corn starch.

Then I fried up the pieces in a little oil.  Bonus love points if your boyfriend does the frying and endures the crackling hot oil for you.  <3

Then in my wok I stir fried some carrots, onions and bell peppers.

Meanwhile I made a sauce based on a recipe I don't recall now.  It was not the best sauce and I am now looking to find a better one.

This one consisted of rice vinegar, pineapple juice, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar and soy sauce.

Once the "chicken" was all fried, I added it to the wok along with the sauce and about half a can of pineapple chunks.

All in all it was very decent.  My boyfriend couldn't stop raving about it.  I definitely want to make some tweaks and try again but it's nice to know I have the process down pretty well.

This is the bowl from Sipz.  I don't know how they get such a red color.  Mmmm.  Did I mention that when my boyfriend and I went there on Thursday night we each got orders of this on top of our dinners to take home for leftovers?  Yeah, I really need to perfect this recipe or we might go broke.  Meanwhile, here is what I had for actual dinner when we went.

Caterpillar roll with yams and teriyaki mushrooms.  This thing was soo good and I am going to try to recreate it this week.  I am always surprised at how filling sushi is.  And how cute it can be.  This is one instance where it is perfectly ok to eat food with a face. 

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