Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lo Mein--Vegan Style

I love all manner of Asian food. I'm partial to Philippine dishes, though Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai all win my approval. Sometimes I just crave those flavors and when that happens, I break out my big wok and start stirring up just about every vegetable hanging out in my refrigerator. When those vegetables aren't sufficient for my cravings, I dig into my pantry till I uncover bamboo shoots or water chestnuts. With everything assembled, it all goes into the wok and in no time at all, the whole house is filled with a tantalizing Oriental perfume.

Growing up in 1940s rural Minnesota, Asian food was unheard of. We were mostly a land of Swedes, Norwegians, and a scattering of Germans. Our fare consisted of meat and potatoes and heavy desserts at supper, steak and eggs at breakfast, and being in farm country, the mid-day meal consisted of a table loaded with several meats, vegetables, and gravies and bread--spread thick with real butter.

I never heard of Asian food till I moved to California as a teenager. That's when I discovered Chinese food and ate it like it wouldn't be around tomorrow. But it wasn't until my husband's Parkinson's disease progressed to the point of having a live-in nurse, that I ventured into Asian cuisine, and then it was only because our Filipina nurse cooked up a storm, filling our home with scents so enticing both my husband and I couldn't wait until the next meal.

She loved to cook. And we loved to eat. And it wasn't only her own cuisine she fed us, it was that of nearly every country around her own island home. I was hooked. I still am. And while the recipe I'm sharing isn't new by any means, I hope you will try this vegan version and let me know what you think.


6-8 oz. soba or udon noodles, cooked according to package directions
5 green onions, both the white and light green parts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
1 big pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup sliced mushrooms, any variety
1 handful of snow peas
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
2 yellow crookneck squash, sliced into strips
3 carrots, sliced into strips
1/2 cup No Chicken broth (use vegetable broth if desired)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Once the wok is hot, add the No Chicken broth and stir fry the vegetables till they are crunchy tender. If more stock is needed to keep the vegetables from burning, add it a Tbs. at a time. 

Once the vegetables are to your liking, add the cooked soba noodles to the wok. Stir everything together and then pour the Lo Mein sauce over the top and fry a few minutes longer, stirring constantly so everything melds. Just  before serving, sprinkle the dish with the minced dark green parts of the onions.

Serves 4


In a small saucepan put:

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar (I used unseasoned)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. Asian hot sauce (I used sirracha)
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil (makes the sauce stick to the ingredients)

Cook over low heat for a few minutes, till everything is blended. Pour over the Lo Mein and stir everything together.

Vegans savor foods from every nation,
always tempting their palettes with
new flavors.