Cooking Through the Candle 79 Cookbook

Nori and Sesame Crusted Seitan

For our one week anniversary, I made our first full meal from our Candle 79 cookbook: Nori- and Sesame-Crusted Seitan, Ginger-Seitan Dumplings, Jasmine Rice, Gingered Sugar Snap Peas, and Edamame-Mint Sauce. Well sorta…

Edamame-Mint Sauce

I made the edamame-mint sauce exactly as the recipe stated and to my surprise I loved it. I wasn’t sure how the mint was really going to fit in with an Asian meal, but it had a delicious kick, thanks to a jalapeno, and the mint was very noticeable, but not overwhelming. I made this sauce the night before when I started marinating the seitan. Both took about a half an hour.

Marinating seitan. Looks a bit like strips of pork or chicken. I didn’t use their recipe to make seitan because I’ve only had it once before, and I figured I should use the store-bought for the first time cooking with it. I bought 1.5lbs of Westsoy Seitan strips, and used 1lb here and 1/2 lb in the “dumplings”.

Ginger-Seitan Spring Rolls

I made a few modifications. The biggest being making the dumplings into spring rolls. I couldn’t find vegan wonton wrappers anywhere. I used to get these one empanada dough disks, but I couldn’t even find them this time, so I used the spring roll wrappers that I already had and lightly fried them, as I would’ve done the dumplings. I also really wanted to make the ginger sauce that is supposed to accompany them, but I was trying to do too many things at once and ended up just using some plain old soy sauce.

Nori Crusted Seitan

Pan frying the seitan. I was afraid it wasn’t going to come out as light and crispy as the picture on the cover, mainly because the picture is beautiful and there’s no way I could make something that perfect. Well, it didn’t come out looking exactly the same, but it did fry up very nicely.

Another modification…while I was at the grocery store, all the sugar snap peas looked funky. They were local, but they all looked bad, or near bad, so I went to another store, and couldn’t remember if I had said “ah the heck with it” and bought the funky looking ones or not. I thought I did…but alas, I did not. So I ended up using an Asian medley frozen bag of vegetables. I steamed them like I would’ve done the snap peas, and then cooked the way the recipe said. They weren’t *that* special, but I did really like the added ginger. It added a really mild flavor that made the veggies better than plain veggies. Not a huge secret, but I think I’ll be steaming them, and then pan frying them with ginger from now on.

I made this Saturday night, and I left the sauce on the side. I wasn’t sure if the mr. was going to like it or not since it was kind of weird (but good). He liked it, but I think putting it on the side instead of plating it in the directions was the safe way to go. Instead of making the soba noodles, there was also the option of jasmine rice. I went with the ginger jasmine rice and it was really, really good. The mr. doesn’t care for ginger very much, and he said he liked the rice (him saying he actually likes anything is very rare). It wasn’t complicated, it was actually incredibly easy, and I think it was the most delicious rice I’ve ever made.

Spring Rolls...not hagis

Ginger-seitan spring rolls. When I presented these questionable looking spring rolls, the dude asked if they were hagis. We looked up the ingredients and pictures, and while they might look the same, they are in no way related to hagis. The ground up seitan filling almost had a pork or sausage taste to them, and they were awesome.

We had the leftovers the following night, and I put the mint-edamame sauce down first and I immediately realized I should’ve done it in the first place. It made the rice that much tastier, and it was less awkward than pouring or dipping the seitan in it.

I spent about a half an hour on Friday night prepping the seitan and the sauce, and then an hour on Saturday actually cooking everything. I feel like it took me longer than it would a normal person with a normal amount of counter space. Overall, besides the marinating and the blending the sauce and spring roll filling, the recipe was really, really simple.

I spent about $30 at the grocery store buying things special for this recipe. Mind you, I already had the spring roll wrappers, veggies, rice, and even the nori sheets (since we like to make sushi). I bought 3 packs of seitan strips, fresh ginger, sesame seeds, edamame, a fresh mint plant, parsley (I’d normally have, but was out), chives, and tamari. Also, we got 5 large servings out of this…at least. I halved the wonton recipe, and made the others as directed.

I was really happy with how the setain came out. I only had it once from a Chinese restaurant and it had good flavor, but it was really chewy and weird. I really liked it ground up, and the crusted pieces weren’t at all chewy. Now that I’m more familiar with the texture, I’ll give making it from the cookbook’s recipe a try. Especially at $4.99 for 8 oz, it’s not the cheapest meat replacer.

Next weekend we’re probably having Avocado Salsa, Tortilla Soup, Stuffed Poblano Peppers, Sauteed Swiss Chard, and Mexican Chocolate Cake.

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