Wow, I found this recipe all finished and ready to go that never ended up being shared. What a travesty! So since I haven’t posted in ages – and I’m still working on making big changes around here (mostly behind the scenes for now) – I figure why not share this recipe to tide you guys over for a while longer. Enjoy!
I’ve been on a bit of a ‘make your own takeout’ kick lately. And I must have really enjoyed Chinese food takeout back in the day because everything I’m making seems to be reminiscent of that. When I say Chinese food, I don’t mean authentic at all. I’m talking super-Canadianized Chinese food. Kind of embarrassing that I even crave it once in a while. Well, instead of completely living without, I’ve found a decent substitute for one of the Chinese food takeout staples – Asian Orange Chicken – that’s vegan, gluten-free, lower in fat and over-all much healthier.
Do I make it every week? Heck no. But it is one of those nice treats that you can make for when you’re craving some of the foods you used to eat back in the day. It might even help you win over some of those in your social circle who think you only eat cardboard as a gluten-free vegan.
In the photos you’ll see I’ve used soy curls. This is only the second recipe ever that I’ve posted using soy curls – the other being Kung Pao ‘Chicken’ & Vegetables – and both recipes ended up being Asian-inspired. They’re not easy to come by in my neck of the woods, and since I prefer to limit my meatless soy product intake to one or two servings a week, I don’t make recipes with this stuff often. You can try using the equivalent of tempeh, firm tofu, fried tofu or even fried cauliflower bites similar to what Cara from Fork and Beans has done. (Side note: I’ve tried the Fork & Beans recipe for Crispy Orange Cauliflower and the crunch on the cauliflower bites are quite amazing. I was surprised at Levi’s very positive reaction on the crunchy cauliflower too. The sauce was pretty decent too, though I tend to always make changes and add things like ginger to anything Asian-inspired.)
For the orange sauce in this particular recipe I was inspired by a recipe from Damn Delicious. I tweaked the marinade ingredients to make it gluten-free and vegan as well as add in my own preferred flavors.
Though not pictured, I usually serve this with a side of sautéed savoy cabbage or bok choy – or anything green and cabbage-y, along with some steamed rice. You might think that 2 cups of the rehydrated soy curls doesn’t seem like enough to make four servings. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine eating a whole cup worth of soy curls in this sticky tangy sweet sauce. I think it’d be a bit of an overload. So if you’re serving this with rice and a steamed or sautéed green cabbage or other veggie type side dish then you’ll easily feed four with this recipe – if not more.
- 2 cups rehydrated soy curls (or other protein of choice, see notes)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (or 1 cup hot water + 1 cube vegetable bouillon)
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- ½ cup organic cane sugar
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce (Bragg's Liquid Soy Seasoning, tamari, etc.)
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 - 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger)
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 bunch green onions, cut finely on a diagonal
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Steamed jasmine rice, for serving (optional)
- Combine vegetable broth, orange juice and zest, sugar, apple cider vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce, garlic, Sriracha, sesame oil, ginger and pepper in a bowl.
- Transfer ½ cup of the marinade to a large plastic zipper storage bag. Add the rehydrated soy curls. There should be enough marinade to coat the soy curls but they don't have to be swimming in liquid. Seal the bag and toss to coat the pieces. Let sit for at least an hour, tossing the bag back and forth a couple times.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated soy curls to the pan, cooking until nicely browned and crispy. Remove crispy pieces from the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add reserved marinade to the skillet. Whisk in the cornstarch-water mixture and continue to stir until the mixture thickens about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss in the crispy soy curls, green onions and sesame seeds. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.