Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Quick 'n' Easy Soy Bulgogi

As I type, I am currently at Gimpo Airport, waiting at my gate for my flight to Haneda, Japan, where I will then get on the plane to Paris, France! I have about 1.5 hours to kill before I board, so I'm being productive and writing a post. I also plan on blogging from time to time while traveling, so my readers can come along with me on this trip! Haha, aren't I quite the dedicated blogger? :)

Earlier this week, I went to Cheonan to drop Bunny off with my folks. I was going to leave her at a friend's house in Seoul, but then decided against it because Bunny is going through a major shedding phase and I wouldn't want my friend to freak out about the fur balls. Plus, my parents have experience taking care of her, so I'll feel more at peace with her being there. :)

Anyway, while in Cheonan, my mom and I tried cooking with soya meat for the first time! We used the package that I got from Loving Hut to make bulgogi- one of my favorite dishes during my omni days.

사진 079

Perhaps you've already noticed, but lately I've been pushing myself to cook new vegan dishes and overcome certain cooking fears, such as using wheat or soy meats. I rarely crave meat dishes and I usually just stick to foods in their natural, whole form, so I'm not familiar with cooking seitan or soy TVP (texturized vegetable protein). Well, since I had a successful seitan attempt with the vegan sausages last week, I figured I would also give soya meat a go.

IMG_2045.jpg

I got this package from one of the Achasan Loving Hut, but you can get it at any Loving Hut location, or online. The package has instructions on how to prepare the TVP, but here's a basic recipe for what to do:

Quick 'n' Easy Soy Bulgogi
(serves 2-3)

1 1/2 cup soaked and drained soya meat
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 knob of carrot
1 small-medium onion
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil (divided)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sugar
black pepper, to taste
1 tsp cornstarch (optional)
1/2 cup water (optional)

사진 007

First, soak the TVP slices in water, as per package instructions, and let drain in a colander. Next, slice up your veggies and sautee them in a non-stick pan with 1 tsp of sesame seed oil, until the onions are barely translucent and the carrots are slightly cooked. The veggies should still have some crunch. Remove from the pan and set aside.

사진 014

In the same pan over medium heat, toss in the soy meat pieces and cook for a minute until they are heated through. Then add the soy sauce, another tsp of sesame oil, minced garlic, sugar, and some crushed sesame seeds. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

사진 036

Add the sauteed veggies and cook again for a minute or two more.

사진 051

Near the end of cooking, add several shakes of black pepper and some more whole sesame seeds. Taste-test to see if it needs more soy sauce or salt. If you want more of a 'saucy' bulgogi, dissolve about 1-2 tsp of cornstarch into 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan, which will then mix with the other seasonings and thicken up into a yummy sauce (we skipped this part).

사진 072

Plate up and serve!

사진 069
사진 094

Wow, looks like real beef. Tastes pretty similar too. The texture is chewy and the basic flavors of 'bulgogi' are there. It's always a weird feeling eating something so similar to real meat, but it is a good way to satisfy any nostalgic meat cravings one might have, especially when first transitioning to a plant-based diet.

사진 093

Ofcourse, when you're eating bulgogi, you gotta wrap it up in some lettuce with rice and ssamjang (Korean red soybean paste)! Open wide!

사진 084

Here's the entire spread that we enjoyed, with the bulgogi taking center stage. The sides included two different pickle banchans, steamed broccoli, white watery kimchi, vegan kkakdugi kimchi, ssamjang, home-grown lettuce, spinach soup (guk), and a plate of rice. What a feast!!!!

Ok... . that's all for now. It's almost time to board, and I gotta go hit the bathroom first. See u on the other side!!