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Mar 11, 2012 04:48 PM

vegetarian substitute for beef in stir fry ... but not tofu?

Hi all,

I keep trying to go veg, but it never sticks. I have some favorite dishes, one of which is Szechuan dry fried beef with carrots and celery. It is fabulous.

I've tried making it with just the carrots and celery, but it felt like something was missing and didn't feel filling. I can't stand the consistency of tofu so that's out. I once bought trader joe's fake meat strips - don't know what they're made of, but the smell was something out of my nightmares. Had to toss it all.

I feel like there must be a vegetable out there that I can stir fry that seems...substantial, for lack of a better word. I've also toyed with the idea of stir frying nuts in this recipe.

Can you think of anything that is a good meat stir fry substitute? I wonder if I should try and make seitan and slice it in thin strips.


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      1. I use portobello mushrooms in place of beef if I'm not in a beefy mood. I don't care for faux meats and I eat limited soy but have found portobellos really do the trick for me.

        1. King oyster mushrooms
          Coral mushrooms

          You may want to take a look at some of the fried varieties of tofu available in many east or southeast Asian markets, they are nothing like the "standard" forms you usually see in mainstream groceries.

          1. I believe the classic Chinese meat alternatives, besides tofu, are:

            - bean curd skin
            - mushrooms, especially dried shitakes, though king trumpets are newer variety that is quite 'meaty'
            - gluten (derived from wheat), made into a variety of 'mock meat' products. I've only tried small cans of this, which include varieties like 'mock duck meat'.

            Chinese Buddhist monks have been quite inventive in this area. Look at recipes with 'Buddha' in the name, e.g. Buddha's Feast, or Delight.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Wheat gluten, in the form of mock duck meat etc., is available in Asian grocery stores. Sometimes in cans and sometimes in jars. It's basically "seitan" which is another name for wheat gluten - look in health food stores for that. This stuff has the most meatlike consistency of any meat sub I've ever tried and the flavour is good. The Asian types will often be formed to look like poultry skin, and is often marinated.