If 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
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, finely minced
- 1 shallot bulb**
- 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed or avocado oil, as needed
- more Chinese five spice, and mushroom seasoning, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, to your taste!)
*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.
- Mix the garlic, 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!
- 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.
- Peel the shallot bulb and finely chop the shallot cloves.
- Heat up a medium saucepan, add the oil and sauté the shallots until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the marinated soy beef slices to the pan, and pour in the marinade too.
- 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!
- 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).
- 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.
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