Saturday, June 8, 2013

Filipino Seitan Menudo

Unlike Mexican menudo, Filipino menudo is more like a stew than a soup.  Or at least that's the way I had it while growing up.  Traditionally, Filipino menudo is a tomato-based stew made with small pieces of beef or pork, potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, and flavored with soy sauce.  It also differs from Mexican menudo in that it doesn't call for spicy chilies.  But it's still full of flavor and is a wonderfully comforting meal.  It was actually very easy to veganize, since the only non-vegan ingredient is the meat.  For this dish, I enlisted the help of Upton's Naturals ground seitan, which worked fabulously.  If you're not a fan of meat substitutes, you can use chickpeas or tofu instead.  It'll still turn out delicious, I'm sure!

Makes about 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 8-oz package of ground seitan (or other meat alternative)
1 large potato, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 small bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 cup vegetable broth 
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup green peas (I used frozen)
Black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium to high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft and fragrant. 
  3. Add the seitan, potato, carrots, and bell pepper and saute for a few minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and bay leaves and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add more soy sauce if the sauce is not salty enough or add water if it's too salty.  (since the flavor across vegetable broth brands varies)
  6. Add the green peas.
  7. Season with black pepper.
This dish (and most Filipino dishes) are typically served with a huge pile of white rice.  I opted for some quick-cooking farro (pictured) just to switch it up.  I've seen some variations of Filipino menudo that include raisins and a few teaspoons of sugar.  As I said in my previous empanada post, I can't handle raisins in savory food, but feel free to add some in if you'd like. The beauty of savory cooking is that anything goes, as long as it tastes good to you.  :)