Steamed Seitan with Mushrooms & Dried Lily Flowers is a vegan version of our original childhood favorite made with chicken (it’s lasted through three generations now!). See our Steamed Chicken with Mushrooms & Lily Flowers for the original recipe we are referencing.
This plant-based version is made with the same delicious wood ear mushrooms, dried lily flowers, dried shiitake mushrooms, and scallions, but with seitan instead of the original “slippery steamed chicken.” The result is just as good as the original!
Vegan Traditional Chinese Cooking
In my journey to veganize some of my favorite Chinese dishes (equal parts health mission and earth-protecting quest), there are some that are more daunting than others.
For example, a tasty plant-based Shanghai-style Hong Shao “Rou” that lives up to my mom’s pork belly is probably a bit far out. This Steamed Seitan with Mushrooms and Dried Lily Flowers, however, doesn’t fall into that category! The vegan version of this dish tastes just as delicious as the chicken version.
The wonderful fact is that most of the original dish consists of rich and flavorful veggie ingredients like wood ear mushrooms, dried lily flowers, dried shiitake mushrooms, and scallions.
One important substitution is vegetarian oyster sauce for those stricter among us, but if you’re someone who is just trying to do as much plant-based eating as you can whenever you can (or you’re pescatarian), 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce isn’t too bad.
What plant-based protein should I use?
This is really up to you! Something with a little chew to it is best, to mimic the texture of the chicken. Any of the following—or a combination, will work!
- Wheat gluten-based seitan: it comes in “chicken” textured preparations, or as seitan puffs.
- Soy-based protein: tofu puffs, spiced tofu, bean threads.
We prefer tofu puffs and/or the regular seitan. You can find these proteins at well-stocked grocery stores and Asian supermarkets. Use whatever you can get or have on hand!
Steamed Seitan Recipe Instructions
Take the wood ear mushrooms, dried lily flowers, and dried shiitake mushrooms, and rinse them all separately under running water to make sure any dirt or dust particles are rinsed away.
Transfer the wood ears, lily flowers, and mushrooms to three separate bowls, and cover with warm water. Soak for one to two hours. Use a plate to cover and press the dried ingredients into the water to make sure they rehydrate fully.
Once reconstituted, roughly chop the wood ears. Squeeze some of the excess water from the mushrooms, and slice them (remove any tough stems). Be sure to squeeze the lily flowers dry as well and trim off the tough ends.
Place your plant-based protein(s) of choice, wood ears, mushrooms, lily flowers, shiitake mushroom soaking liquid, vegetable oil, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper, grated ginger, and the white portions of the scallions into a bowl. Mix until most of the liquid is absorbed into the mixture. Set the green portions of the scallions aside. Then, cover the mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight.
When you’re ready to cook the dish, add the cornstarch to the mixture until it is uniformly incorporated. At this point, there should be little or no standing liquid in the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a deep heat-proof plate or pie dish. Sprinkle half of the green portion of the scallions over the top. Place in a covered steamer (find out more about how to set up a steamer, even without special equipment), and steam over medium high heat for 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the cover from the steamer, taking care not to drip any water from the cover onto the dish. Sprinkle the rest of the scallions over the top, and serve. This dish goes great with rice and sauteed greens, like bok choy, baby bok choy, watercress, or garlicky broccoli.