While skipping down the aisles of the local Asian supermarket, I came across veggie shrimp. I’ve found them before over in the frozen food section but they weren’t vegan, having some sort of whey protein or some other such thing.
But these were different, they are vegan. It says so right on the package. I found this brand in the refrigerated section along with a bunch of other veggie meat and tofu products.
Some labeled “vegan”, some “vege”, I’m assuming this meant vegetarian. It seems like manufacturers are getting better with the labeling.
Convinced it’s the same as the ones used in Chinese vegetarian restaurants, I was inspired to make a vegan version of cashew shrimp. The taste is only vaguely shrimp-like, the firm texture is similar though. But veggie shrimp does make for a nice contrast to the sweet and crunchy snow peas.
Cashew Veggie Shrimp
5 ounces veggie shrimp
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced diagonally
4 ounces napa cabbage, sliced
3 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
3/4″ piece fresh ginger, minced
Salt to taste
1/4 cup water
Cornstarch dissolved in water
Handful of raw cashew nuts
Heat a little of the oil in a wok and stir-fry the cashew nuts until they’re a light brown color. Place the nuts in a bowl and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil, when hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about ten seconds. Add the carrots and mushrooms and stir. Toss in the snow peas and napa cabbage, stir-fry for a minute or so.
Add the veggie shrimp, water (if you like a lot of sauce, use all of the water. I prefer less sauce so I only use a little water) and season to taste. Continue to stir-fry for a few more minutes until the vegetables are crispy-tender and the shrimp heated through.
To thicken the sauce, slowly add the corn starch mixture and stir to desired thickness. Top with the toasted cashews and serve immediately with rice.
Variation: Substitute baked tofu for the veggie shrimp if you can’t find it or don’t care for faux things. Or just go with vegetables only. Of course, it wouldn’t be cashew veggie shrimp anymore but it’s still good. You can’t go wrong with toasted nuts and stir-fry.