Monday, January 4, 2016

Seitan, Kao Fu, and more in the Parkchester area

There was a time when I had to go to Chinatown for my vegetables, but then Chang-Li Supermarket olpened up on Benedict Avenue (across the street from St. Helena's Parish), and we got a green market on Fridays all summer long at Virginia Park (next to the Parkchester subway station).

More and more choices are arriving close to home. One of my favorites is Kao Fu, or baked seitan - a form of wheat gluten. Kao Fu is really the chinese name for this form of seitan. The name seitan goes back to George Ohsawa, the promoter of macrobiotics. It is available intermittently at Chang-Li Supermarket, usually comes in on Friday. Like any seitan product, it is a great protein source - meat substitute if you will - and it has the great property that it is spongy so it works great in soups and sauces, because it absorbs the liquid and with it the flavor.

Kao Fu or Baked Seitan

You will find this product at Chang-Li next to an array of Tofu products, and there are also some other forms of seitan in that refrigerated section. It pays to experiment with all of them. One word of caution: Kao fu does not last long, you generally need to use it within a week, so stocking up makes no sense.

Here is an interesting Chinese recipe, intended as a cold appetizer, Hong Shao Kao Fu, which looks pretty interesting, and what's more, easy to make. 

All in all, this stuff is very versatile, and easy to adapt to many different recipes. Recommended.

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