Sunday, May 25, 2014

A culinary adventure: Mock chicken

We're having a few friends over for dinner tomorrow (well, actually later today, now that it's past midnight), and I decided to get a head start by preparing mock chicken as an appetizer.  I actually think these Buddhist imitation meat dishes are kind of silly--if you're going to renounce worldly things and embrace vegetarianism, just do it.  But I happen to love the taste of this particular tofu dish.  I had made it once before years ago from Ellen Leong Blonder's recipe in Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch, and enough time had passed that I forgot why I only eat it in restaurants and never make it at home.  The wet bean curd sheets tore and broke at every chance, and it looked like the dish was going to be a total disaster. 

Somehow, I managed to get a few pieces large enough to put together a decent roll and get it into the steamer.  With scraps, I made a second, smaller, more sushi-like roll.  To my surprise, the final result turned out beautifully and looks worthy of fine dining:

In addition, thanks to the dark soy sauce that I happened to use, I was amazed in the end to find that the pieces on the left really do look quite a lot like soy sauce roast chicken!

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