Recipe-Maple Sesame Mian Jin
Crunchy, saucy, satisfying. This recipe brings all the good things to you in one easy to make dish.
This is my take on Korean sesame honey chicken wings. In Korea, they LOVE fried chicken. Actually, Korean cuisine is chock full of all sorts of meat. I traveled there a while back and it was super challenging to find good veggie food there. Thank goodness for Korean rice cakes! I fell in love with pickled veggies and rice cakes on that trip, and was reminded of that love affair recently when I came across something sorta crazy while scrolling through Instagram.
If you have ever come across Mukbang on Instagram, you can see the most mind boggling renditions of fried chicken, frozen fruits, mochi, rice cakes, and every kind of meat imaginable (not for the faint of heart vegan) being eaten en masse usually by attractive women wearing red lipstick while using high powered microphones to enhance the crunch and slurp of their meals. Apparently the bites must also be the size of a softball for anyone to take you seriously. It was started by Koreans in 2012, and it's a really big deal.
I was kind of fascinated by this Mukbang phenomenon (what does that say about me?) so I did a little bit of research. Some people say watching it while eating makes them feel like they aren't eating alone, some say that it has helped them get an appetite when they were trying to overcome an eating disorder, some like it for more, er, sinister reasons.
Whatever the reason, I didn't think it was fair for them to enjoy food so much without me, so I made this vegan take on a frequently featured Mukbang dish so we could stuff our faces along with the rest of them. Also, I did make a video of me eating it, but no one will ever see it. Ever. Just use your imagination, I am sure it will be much better than the real thing!
For this recipe, I used a kind of mean jin found at the local wet market (see pic below, aren't they beautiful?). Mian jin is made of wheat gluten and has a nice chewy texture. There are all sorts of versions of it here, as it was discovered by Buddhist monks in China thousands of years ago. I love it for this recipe because of its texture, but you can really use any kind of vegan protein. You can easily make this gluten free by using cauliflower or tofu.
If you aren't vegan, you can sub the maple syrup for honey.
for the protein
500g mian jin or other vegan protein
3 tbs ground flaxseed
3/4 C water
3/4 C corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper (or white pepper if you prefer)
oil for frying
for the sauce
1/2 C maple syrup
1/2 C low sodium soy sauce
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbs cornstarch
sesame seeds for garnish
1. Get two bowls ready for dredging and coating the mian jin. Use one bowl for the corn starch, salt and pepper, and one for the ground flaxseed and water. Mix the ground flaxseed and water and let gel for 5-8 minutes.
2. While that's gelling, mix together your sauce ingredients.
3. Heat around 3/4 C of frying oil in a wok.
4. Working quickly in batches, dredge the mian jin in the cornstarch mixture, then coat in the flaxseed mixture.
5. When oil is hot enough for frying, add 5 or so pieces to the wok. After about 2-3 minutes, or when golden brown, turn to cook the other side. Place fried pieces on a paper towel covered plate to soak up excess oil.
6. After all pieces are fried, in a new pan, or the same wok that's been emptied of oil, heat the sauce until it becomes bubbly and begins to thicken. Add the fried mian jin and mix well, fully coating all pieces.
7. Serve on a bed of steamed rice and top with extra sesame seeds.
It seems that things are getting better for the veggie community in Korea as I've come across an all vegan grocery store in Seoul (on Insta of course)! Hooray, and let's see more vegans on the Mukbang feed!