|Chinese "red stews" are named for the brick-colored braising broth resulting from Soy Sauce and sweet, darker spices such as cinnamon and star anise. Above, the seasonings are pre-mixed in a Bowl before being tossed with vegetables and, in this instance, a vegetable protein. Typically red stews would feature beef or pork.|
|Chunks of homemade Seitan, carrots, potatoes and daikon radishes simmer away in Cafe Drake HRV's vegetarian Chinese Red Stew.|
|above two photos: The stew is served with millet, an ancient grain popular still in northern Chinese provinces, and a romaine salad topped with crumbled "Sunflower Sausage." Leftover stew keeps well, tightly covered in the fridge, for 3 or 4 days.|
Begin by mixing in a large bowl 2 whole star anise (or the equivalent amount in broken, smaller pieces), 2 T. tamari or soy sauce, 2 T. ketchup, 1 T. water, 1 t. roughly crushed Sichuan peppercorns and 1 cinnamon stick. Add to the bowl 1 peeled and sliced daikon (medium size), 2 peeled and roughly cut carrots (large pieces), 2 peeled and quartered small-ish red new potatoes and 8 oz. seitan, cut into cubes. Toss to coat and set aside.
Heat 1 T. coconut or vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet or a medium-sized saucepan. When the oil is very hot add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 T. grated or minced ginger and 2-3 whole dried red chilies. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds and then tip in the bowl of seitan and veggies along with all of the sauce and spices. Add water to just cover the ingredients and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a simmer and add 1-2 T. brown sugar. Stir and continue cooking for around 30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and the liquid largely reduced. Taste for saltiness/sweetness and correct seasoning if desired.
Serve hot with rice, as is or topped with sliced scallions and/or sprigs of cilantro.