Before going vegetarian, for me ‘Bakwa’ (Chinese Sweet Meat Jerky) DEFINED Chinese New Year. Upon discovering the vegan version of it 10 years ago in a Buddhist vegetarian cafe, I would then buy heaps and devour it by the boxful at the office. It tastes EXACTLY the same and my husband has brought some back to Denmark to share with his loved ones too.
You can find it all year round on Shopee and Lazada (Look up ‘Vegetarian Jerky’). If only everyone knew this secret to eating Bakwa on the cheap! Let’s compare: half a kilo of conventional Bakwa goes for around 50 Ringgit (USD12). This 200g packet of plant-based Bakwa, made of soy protein and mushroom, goes for around 12 Ringgit (USD3). If you do the math, that’s 40 percent cheaper!
I made this Harissa Angelhair with Leek and Vegan Bakwa in the spirit of Lunar New Year. You won’t BELIEVE how well this combination works. The combined smokiness of the sauce and jerky, the pasta dampening the heat, the delicate sweetness of the leek... It’s a meal you’d wish you have four stomachs for. If you’re avoiding mock meats, my Smokey Tempeh recipe at davinadavegan.com works great too!
Harissa Paste recipe is from @minimalistbaker. I omitted the caraway seeds (but you can substitute them with fennel seeds) and blended in a cup of dehydrated bell pepper to make it less spicy.
To make this dish for 1:
🌱 Cook your angelhair, drain and set aside about 1/2 cup pasta water for cooking.
🌱 Pan-fry diagonally chopped leek with minimal oil to bring out slight charring, keep aside.
🌱 Thinly slice 2 cloves of garlic and a small tomato.
🌱 Heat up a little bit of pasta water in the pan, put in the garlic and tomato, stir fry for a few minutes until the skin of the tomato starts to peel. As you go along, whenever the water dries up add a bit more. You’d want to end up with enough water to create a thin gravy-like consistency.
🌱 Turn off heat, stir in 1-2 tbsp harissa paste.
🌱 Add in leek and pasta, stir until evenly combined.
🌱 Transfer to a plate, top with sliced vegan bakwa pieces and serve.
I hope my Chinese friends are enjoying the quiet festivities this year!