Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hmong-inspired Chik'n & Tomato Stir Fry

Here's the latest reason why I love having a seemingly endless supply of cherry tomatoes this summer. It's adapted from a cookbook I picked up over the weekend, about Hmong cooking in America.

There is a big Hmong population in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they have wonderful farmer's markets in the cities. It's one of many food traditions where I'm really curious but not very experienced, so I was happy to find this book - Cooking From The Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America - over the weekend. The book is equal parts recipes and cultural history, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Lots of the recipes are heavy on fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, and Asian greens - sounds good, right? The first thing I made was based on a chicken and tomato stir fry, which the authors say is more Hmong-American than traditional Hmong food from Laos.

Here's the ingredients:
1 tbsp. canola oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled, lightly crushed, and coarsely chopped
6 scallions - I used everything, saving some of the green ends for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a package of Morningstar chik'n strips (chicken-style seitan, or any seitan for that matter, would be good too)
20 or so cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. tamari
1 tsp. agave nectar (sugar would work fine too)
lime juice
black pepper

1. Stir fry the garlic and scallions for 2 or 3 minutes in the oil, just until they begin to soften and become fragrant. Add the mock chicken or seitan, reduce heat, and cover for five minutes - just to steam the mock chicken or seitan until it's nice and hot.

2. Add the tomatoes and cilantro, and stir fry over medium heat just until the tomatoes are warm and the cilantro wilts a little bit. There's no need to overcook either, to keep the flavors nice and bright.

3. The original recipe calls for oyster sauce, but I finished this with tamari and agave nectar, mixed with just a couple tablespoons of water. Mix it in at the end, again just until everything is hot - a minute is enough.

4. I added lime juice to complement the fresh flavors of the green scallion ends and cilantro, but it's just fine without. Season to taste with black pepper, and eat immediately - I made some good white rice, which soaked up the flavors beautifully :)

This was worth snapping a photo too - chickpea croquettes from this month's Vegetarian Times, with a Greek-seasoned tomato and cucumber salad. The croquettes include roughly equal parts canned chickpeas and chickpea flour. I'm learning that chickpea flour is good in all kinds of places, and here it takes a star turn instead of a supporting role.


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

What vibrant colors! Thanks for including the tip on your subs for oyster sauce. (and I agree shelter dogs are the best!)

Anonymous said...

I am interested to learn about other cuisines. This dish is pretty and I like the fake chicken strips but I find I have to season them very heavy to get it to taste like something. I am going to make this at home this week to change up things

Bianca said...

Yum! I have about a fourth bag of Morningstar Farms chick'n strips left from a recipe last week. I may try this with less chicken than the recipe calls for so I can use my stuff up. I've actually never heard of Hmong? Is that what they call the cuisine of Laos?

Sal said...

it looks awesome, so do the croquettes!

Anonymous said...

Okay the chickpea croquettes has my name written all over it!!!

Mikey you always introduce really interesting eats! Thank you for that!

As for the Banksy link...I knew one person would appreciate it and I had you in mind.

And yes, bears belong in the jungle and not walled up.
Animals have suffered way too much because of humans.