Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shanghai Stirfry Gluten (KaoFu)

This is officially my last full day in California. My last day!! I'm pretty excited about flying out tomorrow, but to be honest, I'm also a little sad to be leaving the place I called home for the past 20 or so years of my life. Although I've been gone for most of 4 years and have really spent only the past 3 months here in NorCal, it really had started to feel like a stationary home once again. Plus, it's been nice being with my parents after so long away in college.

Yesterday, I visited Hunter's Point during my run for the last time (at least for a while). There is this really steep hill about a mile or two from my house that I've gotten to running or walking up every day after dinner. It's quite a workout, but when you get to the top, view makes it all worthwhile. The place holds a lot of memories for me: from the ridiculous 5am sunrise runs to the exciting explorations of unknown paths to the occasional solo time of contemplation on a lazy afternoon. It encompasses everything I love about my hometown - peaceful, innocent, and beautifully naturesque in a very down-to-Earth sort of way. I don't think I'll ever find that again in the East Coast.

Speaking of down-to-Earth, Mom made a very home-style comfort food dish for me a while back (I've been putting off posting it because I wasn't sure if the picture was alright). It's a classic Shanghai-style dish called KaoFu, or gluten stirfried with an assortment of dried vegetables and whatnot. It's completely vegan, but the flavor is so satisfying that you don't even miss the meat. Better yet, it lasts quite a while (it even tastes better the next day) and is traditionally eaten cold, so the dish itself is fairly low-maintenance.

Shanghai Fried Gluten (KaoFu)


-1 pack dried gluten
-3-4 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and juice reserved
-5 pieces dried woodear mushrooms, rehydrated and cut in half
-1/2 bamboo shoot, sliced thin
-Peanuts (optional - I personally don't like these in my dish)
-Handful of tiger lily buds, rehydrated and ends cut off
-1 bunch green onions, chopped
-4-5 tbsp dark soy sauce
-1 star anise
-Sugar to taste
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-Cilantro for serving

1. Cut the gluten into fairly large cubes (slightly larger than bite-size), then soak them in room-temperature water for about 2 hours.
2. Drain and leave in a colander overnight to dry completely. Mom likes to put it next to the windowsill.
3. In a bowl, mix the gluten pieces with the soy sauce and allow them to soak it up.
4. Pour a couple tablespoons of oil in a large wok and stirfry the gluten over high heat for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the woodear, mushrooms, bamboo, and peanuts. Stirfry another 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the star anise and chicken broth and allow to come to a boil.
7. Reduce to medium heat and allow to cook until the liquid is mostly gone.
8. Add sugar and taste until you are satisfied.
9. Turn off the heat and sprinkle over the green onions.
10. Garnish with cilantro and serve either hot or cold (I prefer hot personally).

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