WHAT I ATE VEGAN IN A DAY #95  // GRASS JELLY + WALNUT ‘CHICKEN’ | Mary’s Test Kitchen

WHAT I ATE VEGAN IN A DAY #95 // GRASS JELLY + WALNUT ‘CHICKEN’ | Mary’s Test Kitchen

September 13, 2019 100 By Ewald Bahringer


Hello friends and not-yet-friends. It’s been a while since the last what I ate
Wednesday video here on Mary’s test kitchen, so I thought I’d better make it a good one. On today’s episode, I’m trying a viewer request
for Walnut Chicken (veganized), attempting to re-create one of my food court favorites,
and sharing one of my favorite Chinese drinks. But first, breakfast. Fluffy pancakes, recipe by the Viet vegan. Check the description box for the link to the complete recipe, plus the details on everything else I’m sharing today The trick to making fluffy pancakes is folding
the wet and dry ingredients together and taking care not to over mix. Over mixing will develop the gluten in the
flour and you’ll get heavy, gummy pancakes instead of light fluffy stacks. Another key to making fluffy pancakes is letting
them cook long enough before flipping. You want them to be dry looking around the
edges and there should be a few bubbles in the middle Normally I don’t add whipped cream. But I wanted to impress you. Sadly this can was at its end so it doesn’t
look that impressive. But it’s the taste that counts. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere. Later on I was organizing my cupboards and
realized I needed to use this can of grass jelly. Or maybe I just wanted a distraction because
those cupboards didn’t get very organized after all. It’s sort of like a very firm Jell-O, but
very bland with a hint of herbal Chinese medicine-Ness. Slightly bitter like tea. Which, I know, it doesn’t sound amazing but
I love it. In Chinese cuisine, food is often also medicine. Grass jelly, aka Leung Fun, is supposed to
have a cooling effect on the body, counteracting excess heat. It’s made from boiling a type of herb related
to mint. You cube it up, and have it with a simple
syrup or sweetened condensed milk. Make it more fun with fruit and sweet starchy
veg like taro or pumpkin but today I’m just having it in milk tea. Two teabags of Red Rose Tea. Not sponsored, it’s just the one I grew up
with. My mom drank this. I swear all the Hong Kong style cafes I used
to frequent in Vancouver use it too. After steeping for five minutes, in goes the
grass jelly. You can make this drink hot or cold, it’s
up to you. Both ways are good. Then nondairy creamer. The original uses evaporated milk. I’m just using Silk soy creamer in the original
flavor. And that’s about it. The Silk soy creamer is slightly sweet so
it doesn’t need more. Of course at home, it’ll be your grass jelly
milk tea and you can have as much sweetener as you like. This is so nice. It’s kind of like having bubble tea, where
you have something delicious to drink and a little bit to chew. But with a different texture and, unlike tapioca
pearls, grass jelly has next to no calories. The grass jelly is smooth and has an interesting
bite…it’s about texture rather than flavour. Don’t be scared away by the bitterness. It’s balanced really nicely with the creaminess
and sweetness of milk tea. I drink slowly. By the time I got half way, it wasn’t hot
anymore. Which was perfect because the weather here
has gotten pretty warm, pretty quick. I added some ice and now it’s iced grass jelly
milk tea. If you like bubble tea AKA boba, and you haven’t
tried this, you’ve got to try. I think you’ll really like it. For lunch, I wanted to try recreating a vegan
eggplant dish that I used to get all the time from a food court stall called Taste of Sri
Lanka. They just called it eggplant curry but it
wasn’t like anything I’d ever had. So I googled and came up with a recipe that
looked like it might have the right flavours. And it starts with eggplant. Why is it in plastic? I don’t know. I soaked the pieces in water mixed with a
dash of salt and a splash of vinegar. I read somewhere that this prevents the eggplant
from browning and taste better after cooking. Now it’s become my habit. While that soaked, I prepped the rest of the
ingredients. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly; I didn’t
have regular onions, only limpy green onions that were half slimy already. I just saved the saveable parts. I’ll put the actual ingredients and amounts
I used in the description as well as the recipe link because I subbed quite a few things. Like bay leaves instead of curry leaves. It won’t be the same but it’ll have to do. And lemon juice instead of tamarind. Plus some mango powder which is made from
unripe mangos and will add more tartness. And brown sugar. After draining the eggplant, it gets some
turmeric. The recipe fries the eggplant but I’m going
to steam it. Keeping it on the healthier side. While that goes for 10 minutes, some oil goes
in the wok over medium heat In goes the scallions. After a minute, so does the garlic, ginger, fenugreek seeds and bay leaves. I love this smell. Then tomatoes. They’ll cook for a minute. Coconut milk, the canned creamy kind, not
the watery coconut beverage sold next to soy milk. Salt. And our tamarind alternative. And curry powder. And that’ll reduce over medium high for 6
to 8 minutes. This is smelling incredible, by the way. Finally, the eggplant. And some kidney beans for funsies. A few more minutes and it’s ready! Ready to go with leftover rice that I heated
in the microwave. All that simmering really made this curry
thick and creamy. I added some red chilies because there’s no
spicy heat yet in this mild curry. And this was delicious! Very tangy but it’s balanced with sweetness
from brown sugar and the tomato. I love the texture of this eggplant. It all goes together nicely. It doesn’t really taste like the dish I was
trying to recreate but I’m getting a better sense of what it should contain, if that makes
sense. I’ll keep trying…and if it works out, there’ll
be another life lesson in there for ya. A while ago, one of you requested walnut chicken. I had never heard of it so I googled. There are two ways, a creamy way and a not
creamy way so I sure hope I picked the right one. Maybe we’ll try the other next time. To start my dinner, first, I gotta soak these
rice noodles. You can boil rice noodles quickly to cook
them but I’m going to stir-fry these and soaking in lukewarm or cold water helps to soften
them just enough so they can be stir-fried easily without breaking and turning to mush. While goes on, I prepped the rest of the ingredients. Including my twice frozen tofu which I’ll
try to panfry instead of oven-frying or deep-frying. I haven’t tried it in this type of dish so
I don’t know if it’ll be any good, but we’ll see. The vegan chicken broth I made today is mushroom
bouillon with a bit of nutritional yeast added. And then we’ll add Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and some onion powder. That’ll get soaked up by the tofu “chicken.” When the liquid is pretty well soaked up,
I’ll add cornstarch. This will hopefully help the juices stay inside
and the outside can get browned. Now we’re ready for the wok. First step: toast the walnuts. After a few minutes over medium low heat,
they start to smell fragrant. That’s when I turn off the gas and get those
outta there before they burn. Next, sugar. Good ol white sugar. Before I get those vegan sugar comments, let
me direct you to the Note About Sugar in the description box. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll be old news. Maybe you don’t care. Which is fine. Low and slow is the best way to melt sugar
without burning. But I live dangerously. Melting sugar is super freaking hot so even
though I normally advocate tasting as you go, don’t do it in this case. Just let that sugar melt slowly, turn liquid
and amber. Once it’s there, or in my impatient case,
nearly there, turn off the heat and stir in the walnuts. Then quickly, transfer on to a lined baking
sheet and try to spread out the candied walnuts. Afterwards, I rinsed out the wok real quick
with just water and a scrubby brush, and it’s back on the heat. Add oil once it’s dry, it’s time to stir-fry
some noodles. Aromatics first: ginger and garlic. Then kale for a little greenness. And then the softened rice noodles. Add water to steam the noodles and make them
soft. But not too much or they’ll go mushy. Fold a few times to combine everything. And in a couple minutes, that’s done. Pull out the noodles, give that wok another
quick rinse and scrub, and we’re ready to attempt the pan-fried vegan chicken. As soon as it goes in, I can tell…this is
going to get messy. A few minutes later, I gave up on trying to
keep large pieces together. The colour is good enough, I’m getting hungry,
so I push everything aside to cook the rest. And let’s eat! I’m really not sure how I feel about eating
candy in my dinner. It’s a little weird. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still tasty. The noodles and kale are super scrumptious. I think my oven-fried vegan chicken would
make this dish a whole lot better though. Like in that Vegan General Tso’s Chicken from
a couple weeks ago. And candied walnuts as dessert? Pretty nice. And that was my more sugary than usual food
day. I don’t like sugary dishes everyday…but
more sugar is coming soon. I’m working on doughnuts and ginger beef not-beef…
they are going to be incredible so make sure you’re subscribed and check that you have
notifications on so you don’t miss them! As always, thanks so much for watching, my
friends. Please give this video a thumbs up if you
liked it and leave any questions in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer. But maybe check the description first because
often, you’ll find your answers there. Bye for now!