Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry

Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry | plantcrush.coIf you haven’t noticed already, I’m kind of obsessed with Chinese five spice. I’ve used it to spice up BBQ jackfruit buns, added it to creamy peanut sauce, and I’ve even made cookies with it! Here’s a classic dish my mom always makes with this iconic spice–a fragrant faux beef stir fry that can serve as the protein base for a variety of other dishes.

Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry |

Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry
makes 3-4 servings

Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Wait time:
20 minutes
Total time:
45 minutes


  • 4 oz vegan soy beef slices (the dried kind)–I used this brand*
  • 3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce, but note that soy sauce is saltier–adjust accordingly)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used some broth I previously made from leftover veggies)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot bulb*
  • more Chinese five spice, and mushroom seasoning, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, to your taste!)


  1. Mix the liquid aminos, maple syrup, Chinese five spice, and vegetable broth together to make a marinade. I like to blend it all in a high speed blender to really pulverize the garlic, but that’s optional!
  2. Soak the soy beef in the marinade for at least 20 minutes–I like to turn the container upside down halfway through, so that each piece gets soaked. This could also be soaked overnight.
  3. Peel the shallot bulb and finely chop the shallot cloves.
  4. Heat up a medium saucepan, add the oil and sauté the shallots until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the marinated soy beef slices to the pan, and pour in the marinade too.
  6. Add more seasonings to your taste, while tossing the beef around. I added 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese five spice, 1/2 teaspoon of mushroom powder, and a generous dash of cayenne for some heat. Depending on how flavorful the vegetable broth is, you may need more/less mushroom powder. The broth I made was pretty robust, so I just needed a little!
  7. Let it simmer on medium heat until the marinade has reduced and been soaked up, tossing occasionally (about 4-6 minutes). You want the slices to be juicy, but not soggy. As the sauce reduces and soaks into the slices, it should start to caramelize a bit. This is when you know you’re at the finish line! Let some of the pieces get a bit charred, if you like (see below).
  8. Take the pan off the heat and it’s ready to serve! This is a versatile protein dish–it can be enjoyed simply with rice and fresh cucumber slices, or in loaded vermicelli bowls, which I will be sharing a blog about very soon.

*This recipe is meant for the dried beef-like proteins typically found in Asian grocery stores.
**Confused about what a shallot bulb is, vs. a shallot clove? I was too! This article helps!
If you don’t have shallots, a medium onion also works just fine.

Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry |


Vietnamese Inspired Mock Tuna Salad

Vietnamese Inspired Mock Tuna Salad |

I’ve had this one on my mind for a while–a vegan “tuna” salad infused with Vietnamese flavors, like nước mắm! This is not traditional from my experience, and I tried to find some examples but couldn’t find that much online. However, I was particularly inspired by this account and recipe from Andrew Zimmern, influenced by his experience on a Vietnamese island. It sounded legit, so I decided to give it a try, with a plant-based twist! Can you guess what I used in place of tuna?

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Vegan Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce | Nước Mắm Chấm Chay

Cleaned Up Flatlays-5There’s no way around it–you can’t do Vietnamese food without nước mắm (fish sauce).
It’s the main base in nước chấm, a light dipping sauce that accompanies most Vietnamese dishes. You’d think this would be an issue for Vietnamese vegans and vegetarians, but it’s actually the easiest thing, especially for those of us who grew up around the spiritual traditions of vegetarianism.  Continue reading

Five Spice Peanut Sauce


Guys, I’m participating in VeganMoFo again! VeganMoFo is a month-long challenge to post as much vegan food as possible, kind of like NaNoWriMo. It’s been a few years since I took part, but I decided (to be crazy) and challenge myself this month. It’s the most insane time for me to do this, because I’m in the middle of my design thesis for graduate school (more on that as the month progresses). However, I owe you guys so many blog posts and recipes that I’ve been testing over and over (I need to get over perfectionism)…and I guess I’m all about the crazy! Check out my IG post below to learn more about me and my focus.

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After spending the afternoon recovering from my Portland trip with @plantphilosophy, I’m finally getting around to doing my intro post for this year’s #VeganMofo18, with a pic of ya girl in her natural environment, crushing hard on Vietnamese herbs #whatveganslooklike #VietAF 💃🏻@veganmofo is a month-long challenge to post as much vegan food as you can. With grad school and my thesis, this is going to be a challenge but I’m up for it! 📷: @2hawaiian • • A bit about my vegan journey—my parents raised me vegetarian and I went vegan about 11 years ago! I’m in it for the animals, the environment, and it’s a huge part of my spiritual practice. 🙏🏼🐥🌏 My passion for this lifestyle was the reason why I started this blog and taught myself food photography, as a way to channel my creativity into sharing the beauty of the vegan lifestyle with recipes, as well as vegan travel posts. My recipes are usually inspired by my Vietnamese family background, my travels, outdoor adventures, and, let’s be honest: whatever’s convenient and in the fridge/produce that’s on sale 😂🙌🏼 #gradschoollife 📚 • • Design is my life—my passion for the planet is what led me to pursue landscape architecture in grad school, which is my other great passion in life! In addition to vegan food, I also love sharing outdoor experiences that I find inspiring and uplifting. I hope you love food and the outdoors, because that’s what my feed is all about! 🌿 • • Throughout the month, I’ll be posting a mixture of the vegan mofo themes and prompts given, with flexibility for lots of back-to-school posts. 👩🏻‍🏫 #dfwvegan

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The theme for the first week of VeganMoFo is INSPIRATION. Due to my grad school schedule, I won’t be sticking to the themes and prompts strictly, but as mentioned on IG, I’ll be posting a mixture of the VeganMoFo themes, with flexibility for lots of travel and back-to-school content. I’ll be doing a lot of micro-blogging on Instagram, with as undertaking as many long-form recipe posts on the blog as I can, so be sure to check both for all my VeganMoFo posts!

Here’s to my first recipe post for #VeganMoFo18: a spicy, aromatic peanut sauce inspired by my family! We love peanut sauce, and we also looove Chinese five spice. The five spice adds a nice aroma of mystery (or nostalgia, if you’re in my family) to a beloved classic.


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