Vegan Char Siu Ribs also known as Chinese Bbq or to us low brow Americans who grew up in the 70s “Ah-so sauce”. If you’ve been craving take-out in those little white containers then make a batch of these sticky, sweet, toothsome mushroom ribs that taste eerily similar to the Char Siu I used to order as a child in NYC’s china town. I think I might love these ribs even more then my sticky seitan Vegan Ribs with tamarind Bbq sauce and that is saying a lot.
“Hey Hanne want to tootle down to NY with me tomorrow/? I’ve got some “business” there and then we can go to Chinatown and have lunch.” How could I resist my mercurial dad’s request. When he was up he was the most charming of men and I’d float along with him holding tight to the string of his helium balloon enjoying the cool winds and sunshine. From our perspective high above the ground the world was a bright and glamorous place. I tried not to think of the eventual crash that would arrive as surely as night follows day.
Up through the atmosphere. Up where the air is clear. Oh let’s go fly a kite. – Mary Poppins
If a djinni had given me one wish at that age I would have wished to be tiny; small enough to fit in my dad’s front shirt pocket. Chinatown in the 1970s was like a giant’s treasure chest of riches spilling into the streets. Bright stalls overflowing with ghostly white eggplants, piles of bright orange clementines small as a newborn’s fist and bolts of embroidered satins in jarring greens, and mellow golds. Our feet led us from store to store crossing Mott street in a cat’s cradle pattern. The crowds eddied in currents around us as we stopped to gaze at the menus taped to restaurant windows.
“Why don’t they cover their garbage cans?” he groused. His mood was dampening in increments. Large drops of lazy grey rain began to fall. I could save the day. I knew I could. “Thank you for bringing me. I’m having so much fun. Let’s eat here ” I said pointing to a random restaurant. “Oh yea, and whose going to pay?” he growled. I had no money, I was a kid. Penniless. I changed tacks. “Oh I’m not really hungry I thought you were. ” We walked. I tried to find the perfect combination of words and tone to bring our perfect day back. He spotted a large glazed clay pot with a dragon motif in a store window. A pale storekeeper motioned us from the dark interior. She smiled up my handsome dad as she told us of the provenance of the jar (used for preserved eggs). His mood began to lighten. The sun was shining again as we left the store “how about lunch?” he asked offering me his arm. I held tight to his arm as we floated inches above the street. I dared not look down.
Vegan mushroom ribs are a healthy, delicious and easy to make altenativee to take-out. Make them before your next bbq and bring them in a foil packet to throw on the grill.
- 6 large King Oyster MUshrooms
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp 5 spice powder
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 stalks scallions, sliced into 1/4 rounds
- 1/2 tsp beet powder or chop and boil a small chopped beet in 1 cup of water and reduce the cooing liquid liquid down to 1 tbsp. Optional. Sometimes I like to made really red ribs like jarred Ah-So sauce makes so I add beet juice it is not nexcessary for taste.
Wipe your mushrooms clean. Slice off their tops and reserve for another use.
Depending on their size I make about 4 short ribs from each mushroom. To make your mushrooms into rib shapes slice off about 1/4 inch from each side of the stem. You want to end up with four flat sides. Slice each stem in half length wise. Now cut each piece in half so that you now have 4 ribs. Repeat with each muchroom.
Mix the sesame oil, hoisen sauce, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, 5 spice powder and garlic in a small sauce pan. Add the beet powder or reduced beet liquid if using. Stir well. Heat to a boil and simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the sliced scallions to the sauce and stir.
Place your "ribs" in a large bowl and cover with sauce. Toss with tongs. Leave to marinate 15 minutes or cover and leave overnight in the refirdgerater. The longer they marinate the more flavour they will absorb.
Heat a large pan until medium hot. Arrange one layer of ribs in the pan. Cook 8 minutes and then flip . Cook on the second side 8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat in batches until you have cooked all the ribs. Serve over rice with the extra sauce on the side.
I bring these to cook outs already cooked wrapped in foil and throw the packet on the grill to heat it up. That way I don't have to worry about what was last cooked on the grill.