I usually go to Trader Joe’s about once a month and stock up on stuff. Last night was a Trader Joe’s night. I found a new product: “Beef-Less’ and “Chicken-Less” strips (I assumed I’d be able to find a link for you but alas, no) in the produce department and decided to pick up a package of each for making quick dinners after late nights at work. And somehow the very next night became just such a night. I got home around 8 and wanted to make something fairly fast, so I broke out the “Beef-Less” strips and threw together an “orange beef” stir-fry. Ordinarily I’d have preferred to use a fresh orange so I could use the zest in the dish as well but I didn’t have any and it was already late, as well as rainy and dreary, so I just used orange juice from the fridge instead of running to Wegmans.
Chinese-Style Orange Beef
1 package vegan “beef” strips, such as Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp shaoxing wine (or sherry)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chili paste
1 Tbsp bean paste
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
Chop the broccoli and steam until crisp-tender, leaning towards crisp (it will cook another minute or two in the stir-fry, so under-cook slightly).
Chop the bell pepper, slice the hot pepper, mince or press the garlic, and if desired, snip the “beef” strips into bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears.
Whisk together the orange juice, agave nectar, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, chili paste, and bean paste.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat, add 1-2 Tbsp peanut oil, then add the garlic and hot pepper. Stir fry for 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the bell pepper; stir fry for a minute.
Add the “beef” strips and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the broccoli and fry for 30 seconds or so.
Pour in the sauce and stir, then add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens and becomes slightly shiny.
Serve with rice.
This was a pretty good, fast meal. The “Beef-Less” strips were okay. I’d probably buy them again as they were very convenient and tasted fine. I asked Mark what he thought of them and he said, “pretty good”. I asked him if he could be any more specific because I wanted to review them on the blog and he said, “they are better than I could do!” But then he added, “they aren’t as good as that secret seitan recipe you made a couple of times. That was sooooo good. You should make that again.” He was talking about Kittee’s Gluten Log; it was a test recipe when I first made it. So I guess that’s that. But Kittee’s recipe, though amazing, really needs to be made the day before for best results and the Beef-Less strips can be ready in 3 minutes, and on some days, convenience wins.