Delicious Sticky Sesame Chick'N Balls - High Protein + Vegan
Sometimes when I start these blog posts I have these childhood flash backs of writing to my grade 4 pen pal.
"Hi, how are you? I am fine..."
So how are you? I hope everything is going well. I'm doing wonderful. I have a belly full of yummy food that I can't wait to share with you :)
I enjoyed cooking this meal while listening to drakes latest song that I'm a little bit obsessed with. Do you like to listen to music while you're cooking? I love enjoying some nice upbeat fun music while I cook, it just puts me in a great mood and makes cooking a fun enjoyable experience.
So anyways enough about me, let me share a little about the recipe I was preparing while I was wondering if Kiki loves drake.
Oh Chinese food.. Sometimes it is so hard to get away from recipes we once loved. One thing I used to enjoy so much was sweet & sour chicken balls (Like who doesn't? I'm only human, I can admit that I once loved chicken balls, please don't try to take my vegan card).
But once I learned of the terrible conditions those poor chickens are in and what horrible lives they have I could no longer continue to eat my once loved balls of chicken. When I drive to work in the mornings I often seen a truck full of chickens heading towards a local chicken plant and the feathers blowing back on my car are actually so disturbing.
Ok so enough serious stuff, since going vegan I've been getting a little creative with a few recipes like goulash, spaghetti, etc and just making easy vegan versions of a lot of different recipes. When it comes to pastas and pizzas and things similar to that it's really not difficult to give it a vegan spin. All you need is some veggies and a little bit of creativity. However, when it came to the craving I had for Chinese food I figured this might be a little more challenging.
There is a local restaurant here in St. John's (Shout out the Peaceful Loft!) that makes the most amazing vegan food that is composed of a lot of Chinese type cuisine but with a mock meat spin. I've eaten there literally a ton of times, I mean A LOT. I love it I could eat there every day, but it's a little out of the way for where I live and eating out every day would not be great for my wallet. But one thing they make that's my fave is mock meat chicken balls.
So I decided I was going to attempt to make mock meat chicken balls for my self and little did I know that creating your own not chicken but still tastes like chicken balls at home was not as difficult as I thought it would be. There's this amazing thing call "Seitan" which is super high in protein & mimics meat texture a lot so I fiddled around with a few different spices and recipes and BOOM! Vegan Not really chicken chicken balls!
Not only did I make chicken balls I baked them in this super yummy sticky sesame sauce that just takes it to the next level. There are a few recipes kicking around now for sesame sauces but I decided to make my own based on my preferences so sweet/salty/sesamey (sesamie?).. and I think I nailed it.
I want to stress that this recipe is NOT difficult... However... It does take a while. I'm sorry! Not everything I post can be "Quick & Easy".. But it is fairly easy,.. Seitan just takes a while to boil unfortunately, and I can't do much about that (Although I am curious what would happen if I threw it in my instant pot, I might have to try that some day).
Ok so before we get started I want to throw in some tidbits of information about a few of the ingredients you may not be familiar with.
First we have "Vital What Gluten". Vital wheat gluten is basically a flour that is made from the protein of wheat. Therefore, it is VERY high in protein! Now, I'm sure you've already figured out that based on the name that this product obviously is not gluten free. I'm sorry I don't really care about gluten free stuff because it doesn't bother me, I know I'm selfish, I am what I am. Some one did ask me "Isn't Gluten bad for you?".. I'm not a doctor but I've looked into it and I don't believe that gluten is bad for you (within moderation, like everything). Gluten sensitivity is caused by an autoimmune disease (Celiacs) which causes the immune system to attack both gluten as well as your intestinal wall. So Yes if you have this condition it is bad for you, but for everyone else that's not sensitive to gluten it is a totally fine healthy & nutritional food. End of rant on gluten.
Another ingredient I'm going to elaborate on a little is vegetarian/vegan chicken broth. I buy mind at bulk barn but I'm sure you can buy it at local grocery stores or health food stores. You might have to adjust the recipe slightly if your broth base to water ratio is not the same as mine (The one I buy calls for 2 Tbsp of broth to 2 cups of water).If you can't find this you can use poultry seasoning for the seitan and substitute veggie broth for cooking the seitan. If you want to try a lower sodium chicken broth as well, that is totally up to you, the world is your oyster!
Every other ingredient you should be able to find at your local grocery store (or at a bulk barn where I get so much of my stuff). If you have any questions on any of the ingredients please let me know in the comments, I'm happy to elaborate!
So enough delays, lets get to the recipe :)
Sticky Sesame Chick'N Balls
High Protein + Vegan
- 1 1/4 cups Vital What Gluten/Gluten Flour
- 6 Tbsp Vegan Chicken Broth Base (I've included a link for this but I get mine at bulk barn)
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tsp each Onion & Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
- 2 Gloves of garlic - minced (If you don't have a garlic press you need one! It makes my life so much easier!)
- Green Onion & Sesame seeds for garnish
- Side dish of choice for serving (I recommend rice or quinoa)
1. First prepare your seitan. In a bowl combine 1 cup of the Vital what gluten, 1 Tbsp of Nutritional yeast, 2 Tbsp broth base, 1 Tsp each onion powder and garlic powder and mix to combine.
2. Add the cup of water. You can mix with a fork or spoon first but eventually you're going to have to get your hands dirty. Mix it together into a ball. It will probably feel a little wet so this is where I add the remainder 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten until it no longer feels wet. If you don't need the full 1/4 cup that's fine or if it still feels a little wet get more flour. Kneed it up into a little ball and let it set for a few minutes.
3. Prepare your broth mixture, this is to simmer your seitan in. In a large pot combine 8 cups of water with 4 tbsp of broth base (That's the ratio my broth had for this particular stock, 2 tbsp to 4 cups water, if yours is different adjust accordingly). Also add 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder.
4. Bring to a boil, once it's boiling reduce to a medium low simmer and start preparing your chick'n balls.
5. With a good knife start cutting your large ball of dough into small little chunks. The seitan pieces are going to expand while they are cooking so make sure you make them small because they are going to get a nice bit bigger. Once you've cut your dough into little chunks (it should make a nice few) add them one by one into the simmering broth mixture (Simmering! Not a rapid boil, this will put holes in the seitan).
6. Once you've added all you chunks to the broth mixture set a timer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is a great time to check Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Or maybe even clean up a little while you're waiting for these little suckers to cook.
7. Once I get about 30-40 minutes in a prepare my sauce and preheat my oven to 400. For the sauce combine 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce), 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sesame oil, & 2 gloves of garlic, minced and mix. For the Corn starch add the 2 tbsp in a separate little bowl with 2-3 tbsp of water and mix to dissolve. Once dissolved add the liquid to the sauce mixture and stir to combine.
8. Once the 50 minutes have passed drain the seitan and transfer to a dish. Add the sauce to the seitan and stir. The sauce will still be watery but don't worry it'll thicken up in the oven.
9. Add the dish to the oven for 30 mins, giving it a stir half way through. (During this cook time would be the ideal time to make your rice or quinoa, I did quinoa in my instant pot so it literally only took a second to throw in there and cook and not to mention the instant pot keeps is warm)
10. After 30 mins remove from the oven, serve on a bed of rice or quinoa and garnish with some sesame seeds, green onions and enjoy!!
First time I made recipe I couldn't believe how great it turned out. Even my picky boyfriend likes them. I asked him what was his thoughts on them and his words were "surprisingly meaty".
This is a great meal for someone who wants a nice hearty clean high protein meal. Or even if someone is struggling with staying on the vegan track and is dying for some meaty comfort food.
What's your thoughts on mock meats? Are you for or against? I've had people say to me before if you're going to be vegan you shouldn't eat mock meats, or say that I clearly like the taste of meat so I should just eat meat, or vegans have made their choice, blah blah blahhhh.
It's not just about the taste it's about being able to have the delicious meals that we are used to having but being able to put a healthier vegan spin on them. Not to mention we can enjoy our meal knowing that no animals where harmed in the making of this dish.
If you try this I'd love to know about it! Did you love it? or if you've ever made seitan or tried it at all what where your thoughts?
I hope you enjoyed my recipe, and if you did let me know in the comments. Or if you want to try it another day make sure you save it to your favorite Pinterest board. Did I mention this sauce works great for cauliflower too?
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Hope you have a great day!
All the best!