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Japanese food is one of my favorite foods, ethnically speaking.  No, I’m not Japanese but I have lived in Japan twice and would be there today if it weren’t for my husband’s work (and him not speaking any Japanese LOL).  Thankfully I learned a lot throughout the years of learning Japanese and living there – one being making authentic Japanese meals.  It’s a bit hard to keep up with Japanese living and current culture while in the states but thankfully there is the internet.  My favorite recipe website I search daily is Cookpad (only in Japanese) and get a lot of ideas from this site.  For the most part, Japanese people are not vegan.  Yes there are vegans (especially monks) but statistically speaking one might be surprised how few people over there are 100% vegan.  Vegetarianism is common but is again practiced by monks but the general public does not understand why anyone would want to skip the meat.

Thankfully I found a recipe that I have wanted to make for some time in a book of all places.  I’ve had this recipe before and have even tested it out but the seasoning was just not accurate when I did it previously.  Thanks to Naomi Moriyama from Japanese Women Don’t get Old or Fat (Loved the book but by the way, they do.), the recipe I have been seeking did turn out and worked perfectly with my alterations to make it vegan.  If you can find mock unseasoned beef strips (mine was from Trader Joe’s) this recipe will be close to authentic.  If not, try using seitan or even tempeh – I’m sure it will work.  Although it does have a slight salty tasty, you will definitely love the smell and taste of this recipe.  The beef-less strips melt in your mouth and the rice is slightly seasoned with the liquid from the mixture.  Mmm I’m dreaming of this again…

Serves 4 hungry people
2 c vegetable broth (note: dashi is not vegan)
¼ c sake
1 med yellow onion, peeled, halved, and cut into thin crescents
3 Scallions (or 1 small leek), with roots and rough portion of the top cut off, cleaned, rinsed and cut diagonally into thin slices
½ c soy sauce (a lot, I know but that’s Japanese cooking for you)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp mirin
1 pkg unseasoned Beef-less Strips (I used Trader Joe’s)
4 cups hot cooked brown or white rice
1 scallion, roots and top portion cut off, and thinly sliced (for top)

1.  Place the broth and sake in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add the onion and scallions and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the soy, sugar, salt, and mirin.  Add the beef-less strip and simmer for about 5 minutes to get the beef seasoned.

2.  Divide the rice among four bowls and top with a serving of beef-less mixture.  Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of scallion.