Spicy Orange Soycurl “Beef” & Broccoli
Soy Curls is an exciting new product made of dried whole soybeans, its only ingredient. It really does have the chewy texture of meat, so if you are new to a plant-based lifestyle and are really missing animal protein, this may help you over the hump. It is fantastic in chili and many other dishes that could benefit from a little more texture. One of the foods I’ve missed since adopting a whole foods plant-based lifestyle over six years ago is a Chinese dish called Orange Beef.
One of the meals I’ve missed in the six-plus years since adopting a whole foods plant-based lifestyle is a Chinese dish called Spicy Orange Beef. It was not so much the meat I was missing but the chewy texture of strips smothered in a bold, sweet, zesty ginger-orange sauce with a backdrop of spicy heat. I have come spectacularly close to recreating it with this recipe featuring soy curls.
- 2 cups brown basmati rice or short grained brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups water if preparing in Instant Pot
- 3 cups water if preparing on stovetop
- 1 package soy curls
- 3 Tablespoons ginger freshly minced
- 3 large cloves garlic freshly minced
- 2 - 3 large oranges juiced (should be about a cup) may substitute 1/3 cup frozen orange juice
- 2 - 3 large orange zest
- 6 - 8 whole thai chili peppers stems on (or substitute crushed red pepper)
- 1 Tablespoon crushed red peppers
- 1/2 cup molasses organic, unsufured
- 1 - 2 tablespoons brown sugar loosely packed
- 1 Tablespoons sweet brown rice vinegar** or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce may substitute tamari
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 - 1 cup water divided
- 1 medium orange sliced, for garnish
- 4 - 5 cups broccoli florets and stems
- 6 cups water boiling
Make Brown Rice at least 30 minutes in advance;
IP Brown Rice: Rinse brown rice and drain. Transfer to Instant Pot. Add water. Cover and put vent in closed position. Set IP on Manual. If you are making basmati brown rice, set timer on 12 min. If making short-grained brown rice, set timer on 22 min. Either way, use natural release.
Stovetop Brown Rice: Rinse brown rice and drain. Transfer to medium saucepan with a lid. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat, fluff with fork and allow to rest covered for five minutes.
Cover Soy Curls in water in a medium-pan for 10 minutes. Place plate on top to hold curls underneath water. Drain and discard liquid. Set aside.
Mince ginger and garlic and set aside. Zest and juice oranges and set zest aside.
Transfer juice to a 2-cup measuring cup. This should make about one cup orange juice. If it doesn't make a full cup, add water to bring the liquid measure to one cup. You can choose to fill with more orange juice rather than water for a stronger flavor.
Bring a covered two-quart saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and keep on stove until needed.
Wash broccoli. Peel stems and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/4 by 1-inch). Cut florets into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a medium saucepan and set inside your sink. Have a strainer ready.
Transfer minced ginger and garlic, and soaked soy curls to a large non-stick sauté pan. Stir on medium heat for one minute.
Stir molasses and brown sugar into soy curl mixture. Continue stirring on medium heat until soy curls are dark and thickly coated with the molasses mixture, adding a little water as needed to prevent scorching.
Add the Thai chili peppers and orange zest. Continue to stir until mixture has thickened.
Stir cornstarch, soy sauce, and sweet brown rice vinegar into orange juice until smooth and lump-free. Stir into soy curl mixture. Allow to thicken, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Use some of the remaining water to thin sauce if necessary.
Carefully remove simmering water from stove and take over to sink. Pour over broccoli stems and florets in saucepan. Set water pan out of the way. In ten to fifteen seconds, drain broccoli in colander or strainer.
Transfer broccoli to soy curl mixture and stir in to combine or plate next to the soy curl beef.
Serve hot with a side of steaming brown basmati rice.
Substitutions: *You may use 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate as a substitute for fresh orange juice. **If you are hankering for some orange "beef" and don't have any oranges, Boyajian Orange Oil is a very useful pantry item to have on hand as a substitute for orange zest. For this dish, you may need up to 1/4 teaspoon to give it the orangy flavor we are seeking. However, when using this oil remember that a little goes a very long way. I sometimes use it in my Homemade Barbecue Sauce recipe when I don't feel like running to the store for just an orange. In that recipe ONE DROP is plenty. Two drops will overwhelm the dish. I kid you not; I bought glass eyedroppers to measure out my orange, lemon and lime oils. They are lovely to use but extremely powerful. Use with caution!! ***If you don't have sweet brown rice vinegar, you may substitute two teaspoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for one tablespoon sweet brown rice vinegar. Note: Using whole birds-eye chilis allows you to have a lot of spice in your dish or just a little, depending on whether you eat the chili or set it aside. The spice only minimally affects the dish until the chilis are broken. This is why if suggest leaving the stem on. I've observed that this is what the Chinese restaurants do when preparing this dish. The peppers' are also a gorgeous red and are an attractive color accent on the plate.
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