Recipe for Vietnamese soy chunks?
January 8, 2013 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I really like the Vietnamese flavors of the soy chunks they use in vegetarian banh mi (at places like Baoguette in NYC). Anyone have a good recipe for them?
posted by shivohum to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Looking at the pictures on Baoguette's website, it looks like it's probably seitan. You may be able to find it at the grocery store near the tofu, but it may be obscenely expensive. It's not that hard to make, though. I don't really like seitan, so I don't have much in the way of recipe suggestions. There's a recipe in Veganomicon.
posted by hoyland at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2013

Lemongrass marinated tofu! There are a bunch of recipes online like this one so try some versions. It is so good. The tofu becomes creamy and flavourful. We used it first for banh mi, and now just make it when we want chunks of tofu in a dish. The lemongrass is critical.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:30 PM on January 8, 2013

I've been vegan for a decade so I feel like I should somehow know this by now, but I can't tell what type of faux meat Baoguette uses for the life of me. Maybe something from May Wah?

When I make bahn mi at home, I use pieces of canned mock duck (looks so gross, tastes so good) or Soy Curls (like TVP but so much better) marinated with chopped lemongrass, lime juice, soy sauce, a clove or two of minced garlic, and a splash of toasted sesame oil, then broiled or grilled until they're nice and charred.
posted by divined by radio at 5:45 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's a recipe in Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero for grilled marinated Vietnamese seitan, but I haven't actually tried it out.

In a nutshell:

Make seitan with a little bit of Chinese 5-spice powder and white pepper (you can find lots of seitan recipes on the web); bake in foil.

Marinate seitan in:

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large shallots, peeled and finely minced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
2 scallions, root ends trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil.

Grill seitan on a grill / cast iron pan with a little bit of peanut oil.
posted by Jeanne at 5:51 PM on January 8, 2013

The Baoguette web site calls it "Vegetarian Kung Pao Soy Protein", which doesn't sound Vietnamese at all. Is this the specific soy protein you're looking to replicate, or are there other examples?

Lemongrass, lime, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, and chiles are typical Vietnamese flavors. Fish sauce too, but that's out if you want to stay vegetarian. If you want to replicate a kung pao marinade, there are plenty on the web, usually with soy, sugar, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sometimes sesame oil.

I assume you're just looking for a marinade recipe, and you already have a source for soy protein chunks; but any marinade that works well with soy protein chunks will also work on tofu and seitan, with some modifications to process.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:56 PM on January 8, 2013

I marinate slices of tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime or lemon juice, garlic and ginger run through the garlic press, perhaps a little rooster sauce. I don't have a "recipe" per se - I just toss it all together, going light on the soy sauce. I marinate overnight or for a few hours in the fridge and then dump the whole thing in a pot, add water to cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for a half hour or so. Then I fish out the tofu, and saute the slices in a pan with a dollop of canola/peanut/soybean oil and a few drops of toasted sesame oil. When they brown up, they're done. yum.
posted by gyusan at 6:31 PM on January 8, 2013

Anyone have a good recipe for them?


But while you're at it, pick up the ingredients for this too: Sri Lankan Kering Tempeh

Now I'm off to make Vietnamese soy chunks for the first time ever, possibly using chunks of textured vegetable protein.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:26 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far!

Is this the specific soy protein you're looking to replicate, or are there other examples?

Hrm. Good question. Interestingly, this website says of the Baoguette soy protein: I don’t think Kung Pao is a very good descriptor of the flavor of the main ingredient here. It’s sort of like a meaty hoisin flavor and the texture is like seitan. In fact, it may be seitan.

The hoisin comment rings pretty true; it does taste more like that than Kung Pao per se. Though as far as seitan goes, to me the "seasoned soy tofu" at Saigon Shack tastes very similar flavor and texture-wise. Chewy and hearty.
posted by shivohum at 10:36 PM on January 9, 2013

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