let’s try some chicken-free Taiwanese “gorditas”! miam!
As stated in my earlier post on making vegan gua bao, “gua bao” is a Taiwanese sandwich/hamburger style bun or in my best description, your fabulous Taiwanese “gorditas”, often stuffed with slowly braised pork belly, pickled cabbage, ground sweet peanuts, coriander and occasionally hoisin sauce (which I am not a huge fan of). The gua bao are a popular Taiwanese street food and are currently among the popular trends at food carts in the U.S. For these vegan gua bao, I used the Grilled “Beyond Meat” chicken-free strips dressed in my “almost-braised sauce” topped with a light slaw comprised of cucumber, carrot, radish and coriander and finished with ground roasted sweet-peanuts.
Ethan Brown founded Beyond Meat in 2009, a company that provides consumers with plant-based protein foods without sacrificing the taste, chew or satisfaction. All of the Beyond Meat chicken-free strips are 100% vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based “chicken” that has the protein and texture without antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, trans fats, or cholesterol. They contain 18-19 grams of complete and plant protein and between 100-120 calories per 3-ounce serving. The strips are made with a blend of pea and soy protein.
Three versions: Lightly Seasoned, Grilled, and Southwest chicken-free strips in 12-oz. packages. The suggested retail price is $5.29.
where to buy
They are available nationally throughout Whole Foods Markets in the U.S., and for food service customers through many major independent distributors. Check out their store location page for more information.
Grilled “Beyond Meat” chicken-free strips
Calories per Serving (3-oz., 85g, about 7 strips): 120 | Total Fat: 4.5g | Sodium: 280mg | Total Carb: 5g | Dietary Fiber: 3g | Sugars: 0g | Protein: 18g
Water, soy protein isolate*, pea protein isolate, amaranth, chicken flavor [vegan] (maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, natural flavoring, sunflower oil), expeller-pressed canola oil*, soy fiber*, carrot fiber, salt, contains 0.5% or less of: white vinegar, salt, molasses, garlic, hickory smoke powder, onion, lemon juice concentrate, black pepper, sugar, mustard powder, paprika, sodium alginate, dipotassium phosphate, titanium dioxide (color), calcium sulfate, red and bell pepper powder, parsley, and cayenne pepper
Contains: Soy • *non-GMO identity preserved.
Keep refrigerated and use within seven days of opening. Previously frozen. For best results, enjoy cold straight from the package or gently heat in a skillet for 2-3 minutes until desired temperature is reached.
Beyond Meat comes in a 12-ounce package with approximately 24 strips and is appropriate for around 4-6 servings. The strips are composed of many layers, that can be pulled apart by hand, and these layers provide a firm texture without being tough. Given that the strips are fairly chunky I recommend cubing, finely chopping or pulling them apart, layer by layer. Beyond Meat can be consumed cold straight from the package without cooking, in fact this is our favorite method of using the strips, but if you do intend on cooking them, make sure to keep them moist so as not to dry them out.
Straight out of the package, the combination of seasoning and texture convinced a few omnivores that they were actually eating chicken. The grilled one has a mild smoky taste to it, compared to the others. The Lightened seasoned was our favorite for our creamy vegan chicken-free salad with dill. The Southwestern has a very mild smoky taste with very mild spices and herbs, i.e., cayenne, which works well with tacos.
Now back to the recipe, the Almost Braised Chicken-Free Vegan Gua Bao
To make vegan gua bao, read further, it takes about 3 1/2 hours to make and prepare the dough excluding the steaming time (about 10 minutes per batch). You can find some frozen gua bao in your local Asian markets if you do not want to make them, however most of them contain dairy or animal fat. I would like to point out that some restaurants with vegetarian options such as “veggie gua bao or tofu/tempeh buns” may not be vegan due to the buns containing whey or dairy. Always ask your restaurant that serve them in advance.
To assemble the fillings, make the “salad” first since it requires an hour to chill in the fridge, the ground roasted sweet-peanuts, and finally the almost braised sauce for the Grilled “Beyond Meat” chicken-free strips. Of course you will need steamed gua bao to go. You can add these fillings in any order; I usually do mine this way: almost braised shredded Grilled “Beyond Meat” chicken-free strips, asian salad, and topped with ground roasted sweet-peanuts. Add loads of Sriracha for loads of heat like my partner Doni. For garnish, add loads of cilantro leaves or finely diced scallions.
- Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl, except for the dried chili flakes and finely sliced cilantro. Add the prepared vegetables in a medium bowl, slowly add the mixture, one ladle at a time, mixing lightly until all is incorporated. Add cilantro and dried chili flakes. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Garnish with black or toasted sesame seeds for a bit of texture if needed.
- Crush the peanuts with a mortar and pestle (or crush them under a rolling pin) until they appear coarsely ground and add the sugar. Mix it. Store the mixture in an airtight container. If not refrigerated, store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
- Pull apart the Grilled "Beyond Meat" chicken-free strips in half by hand (View our method here). Put them aside in a separate medium mixing bowl.
- In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm up the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant. Add all seasonings and water except for fresh minced cilantro. Cover with a lid. Lower the heat to low and let it braise for 15 minutes. Remove the lid. Add in the corn starch mixture to thicken the sauce.
- Add the "shredded" Beyond Meat Grilled "Beyond Meat" chicken-free strips and cover with a lid. Let the strips simmer for 5 minutes or less (until desired temperature is reached). Do not overcook. This must be served immediately with the vegan gua bao, asian salad and ground roasted sweet-peanuts.
If you do not have sweet dark soy sauce, you can make your own and store it later.
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This item(s) was kindly sent to me to review by Beyond Meat. All products that are mentioned and reviewed here on my vegan blog are of my own personal opinions and I am not being compensated to review them, only just to share my thoughts. If I receive a product complimentary of the company, it will be stated so in the post, otherwise, all products are purchased myself for my own personal use.