When my husband and I first went Vegan we did so for health reasons, with that said, not everything we eat is necessarily healthy. We believe it’s important to eat healthy, but also to love what you eat. I think of times before I was vegan and thought about vegans as these weirdos that eat rice cakes with broccoli on top. Of course now my eyes have been opened to a broader menu, and eating vegetables in ways I never knew existed.
When my husband looked at me one day and said “I think we should be Vegan” I jumped on it. I had been trying to get him to eat more than just burgers and chips, and I found my Sister-in-law’s vegan influence to be very helpful. So before he could change his mind, I said yes. However, I knew he would miss some of his favorite foods, sausage rolls, meat pies, burgers, and Sweet and Sour Pork. So my focus the first few weeks was attempting to recreate his favorite foods, some of the things were hits, others were disasters–he does not like Lentil burgers, but loved the “sausage” rolls.
Recently we had been craving Sweet and Sour pork, I had mixed a recipe from Vegan Dad and The PPK, and then deep fried it. It was pretty good, especially for a first attempt but it tasted more like vegan nuggets and less like pork. Then a couple weeks ago we visited a local asian restaurant called “The Vegie Mum” and my dear husband declared it was the best sweet and sour “pork” he had ever had not only as a vegan but in his whole life. So when he requested it this weekend I knew I had to try harder to at least get into the top 5.
This was last night’s dinner.
1 ~400g Can Beans (borlotti or pinto)
2 TBS of Olive Oil
2 tsp Vegemite or other Yeast extract
2 TBS Ketchup
2 TBS soy sauce
1/4 Cup Veggie Stock
1 Cup of Gluten
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/4 Cup of Flour
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 2/3 Cup of Non-Dairy Milk or water
2 TBS oil
1. Mash beans together with oil, Vegemite, Ketchup, Soy Sauce until good and mushy
2. Stir in Veggie stock until well combined.
3. In a seperate bowl mix together all other ingredients.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, I find it helpful to get my hands into it, it should be a nice workable dough and you should see the gluten strings forming, knead until all the dry ingredients have been combined, if the dough is too crumbly you need more moisture and you can add in a bit of water, if its too wet and sticky, give it a couple minutes for the bread crumbs to absorb some of the moisture and continue to knead.
5. If you have a deep fryer, now would be the time to turn it on, we used a pot on the stove, you don’t need a big pot unless you want to use a lot of oil and cook them all at once, we used a small but deep sauce pan. Put in an oil for deep frying, we used sunflower oil because of it’s high smoking point, to check if the oil is ready, just drop a small peice of dough in it, it should bubble crazily as soon as you add it, be careful when doing so, as not to burn yourself with hot oil.
6. Make up batter by adding all ingredients together and mixing til combined. yes I know this recipe has a lot of parts but it really is good.
7. Pull off Bits of the Gluten/Bean dough into balls about the size of an American Quarter or an Australian 20 cent peice, and mush them flat, they dont have to be perfect, but just so they arent too thick and gooey in the middle after you cook them, you can make them larger but we find they are easier to maneuver with chop sticks when they are bite sized.
8. Drop the dough bits into the batter and coat completely, and then carefully place them in the hot oil, deep fry to a golden brown.
9. After all this work, I used a store bought sweet and sour sauce, you could make one from scratch if you felt like dirtying every dish in your house, but I chose the store bought sauce–call me a cheater if you want. Combine with rice and veggies, whatever you want.