Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 6: This will change your life

Last night (last night from the time this gets published, anyway. I'm writing this about an hour after the glorious event) I had the extremely odd and a little bit uncharacteristic urge to try raw zucchini noodles. So armed with a peeler and a paring knife I soon had a plate full of zucchini linguine. I then spent roughly 1 hour trying to figure out what I was going to do with my unconventional noodles. Interestingly enough, I had also bought a metric fuckton of tomatoes today. I don't usually buy tomatoes when I'm at school due to ease of squashing on a bike, but I walked to the store this time. And from this, an idea was born. When I made it to the kitchen, I still wasn't quite sure what I was making. By the time I served it, I knew it was going to be fabulous.

Look at this perfect plate of zucchini. Isn't it beautiful? This is where it all started. This poor pile of zucchini had no idea it was about to become the most amazing thing that ever happened to my mouth. Look how innocent it is. How could you not love it? Then along came a box of tomatoes, which I have conveniently forgotten to photograph. That box of tomatoes got itself chopped up and thrown in a pot with some other ingredients like so:

And then there was mock duck:

What's that you say? "Get on with it"? Okay. Fine. I'll tell you how I did it. Whatever. So without further ado, the recipe that will change your life:

You Will Need: (To feed two hungry people)

2 medium zucchinis
a vegetable peeler or a mandoline

1/2 tabkespoon canola (or sesame) oil
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

10-12 whole cloves
1 tablespoon dried lemongrass
3 bay leaves

2 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon shichimi
1 small handful sugar
1 heaping tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 can mock duck
1 teaspoon canola oil
more shichimi

First take the vegetable peeler or mandoline and cut your zucchini into thin slices lengthwise. With a paring knife, cut these slices lengthwise until they are more the width of linguine than the width of a zucchini. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl.

In a 4 quart pot, sauté the garlic in the canola oil. When the garlic is lightly browned, add all the tomatoes and their juices at once. Put the cloves and lemongrass in a tea ball (dried lemongrass is like little pieces of wood. Not doing this will ruin your life changing experience) and stir into the tomatoes along with the three bay leaves. Cover the pot and let simmer.

When the tomato mixture is looking more like sauce and less like tomatoes (about 10 minutes) add the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, shichimi, sugar, and peanut butter. Stir to incorporate and return the pot to a simmer, again covered.

Meanwhile, slice the mock duck into thin strips and fry in the canola oil until it is crispy. Sprinkle with shichimi to taste throughout the process, remembering that a small amount goes a long way. That stuff is deceptively spicy.

By this time, the sauce should be done. Plate the zucchini noodles if you have not already done so, and ladle sauce over it. Top with mock duck. Let stand 5 minutes for the zucchini to steam a bit, then serve.


  1. That looks awesome, I love the idea of mock duck on zucchini noodles. Also, I remember making my first zucchini noodles with a peeler & a knife before eventually giving in & buying a spiraliser.

  2. That looks way too freaking good. You might have convinced me to finally try making zucchini noodles.

    I have the same problem with buying tomatoes-- I'm always either on foot or on my bike and either way, I'm terrified that my other produce will crush my sweet, delicate, obscenely expensive tomato babies.

  3. I'm terrified of mock duck, but this makes me want to buy it. Many cans.

  4. dude! so i finally tried this, i had to mess with it a bunch since i didn't have mock duck or shichimi or bay leaves or lemongrass, but it turned out GREAT. i used just normal westsoy seitan strips, and added lime juice at the lemongrass stage, and sesame seeds and ginger and vulcan fire salt. and i added about 1/4 cup of coconut milk to make the sauce saucier. SO GOOD.