Updated: Mar 26
The aroma coming from this sizzling Vietnamese classic is bound to make your mouth water. I've veganized one of my favorite dishes growing up (made by my grandma of course), and I'm so excited to share it with you all. This was also the first time I've made seitan, and I was shocked at how realistic it was. At first glance, this dish could fool even the pickiest of meat-eaters.
Bo luc lac, which translates directly to "shaking beef" is a classic Vietnamese entree served on a bed of rice, accompanied by fresh lettuce and sliced tomatoes. The flavors are sweet, savory, and definitely rich. For this recipe, I created seitan cubes that are juicy and tender, mimicking the fatty steak cubes used in the non-vegan version of this dish.
Seitan is a meat-substitute made from wheat gluten. There are many variations of how to make seitan, but they all start off with either the washed flour method or using prepared vital wheat gluten. The washed flour method separates the starch and gluten from wheat flour, while vital wheat gluten has been prepared already and sold in stores.
The washed flour method has been getting traction online. It's a great option if you can't find vital wheat gluten in your area (or online). Since I don't have the time to go through the entire flour-washing process, I opted for vital wheat gluten (I prefer to simplify my recipes as much as possible).
We were amazed by how realistic the seitan cubes looked, since this was our first attempt at making seitan. The process of making vegan shaking beef consists of two phases:
Preparing the seitan
Cooking the seitan
I will break down the process in the steps below.
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Vegan Vietnamese Shaking "Beef" (Bo Luc Lac Chay)
1. Making Seitan Dough
1 tbsp mushroom seasoning (7g)
2 tbsp ketchup (40g)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (15g)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder (3g)
1/2 tbsp onion powder (3g)
3 tbsp soy sauce (30ml)
1 cup cooked brown lentils (170g)
1 cup vegetable broth (250ml)
1.5 cups vital wheat gluten (250g)
Simmer Broth Ingredients
3 cups vegetable broth (750ml)
2.5 cups water (625ml)
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Add all dough ingredients (except vital wheat gluten and vegetable broth) to food processor. Blend until smooth.
In large bowl, combine the blended ingredients with vital wheat gluten and vegetable broth. Stir until just until wheat gluten is combined, and you can pick dough up in one piece. Then pour dough onto a clean surface and begin kneading.
Lightly knead dough just until the ingredients come together. Make sure to not knead too much. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Then lightly press dough until you form a ~1 inch thick disk. Then cut into 4 pieces of equal size.
In medium-sized stock pot, fill with simmer broth ingredients: vegetable broth, water, and liquid smoke. Add seitan dough to pot. Bring pot to a simmer (medium-low heat), then continue simmering for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes check the texture. If it's too tough for your preference, keep simmering for another 15 minutes.
Strain seitan from pot, and set aside to cool.
2. Seitan Preparation and Cooking
~1lb seitan or 1/2 of amount made from above
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mushroom seasoning
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced