Sunday, April 14, 2024

How the Hell Are These Vegan? Down and Dirty Junk Food for Everyone

Vegan Junk Food is the anti-vegan cookbook for vegans – yup, that’s a thing.

With recipes that are supermarket-ready and can be made by even the most novice (read: useless) chef, Aussie cook Zacchary Bird has whipped up recipes that’ll satisfy vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Check out his takes on Korean Spicy Fried Chicken, Sausage Rolls and everyone’s favourite burger, The Big Zac.

Korean Spicy Fried ‘Chicken’

Serves 4


700 g steamed store-bought seitan or faux chicken, cut into 5 cm x 2.5 cm irregular chunks

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons soy sauce

canola oil, for deep-frying

sea salt

thinly sliced spring onion (scallion), to serve

toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling


60 g (½ cup) potato starch

40 g plain flour

35 g cornflour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt


6 garlic cloves, minced

95 g gochujang, plus extra to taste

55 ml tomato ketchup

3 tablespoons Vegan honey or rice malt syrup

4 teaspoons white vinegar


Combine the seitan chunks, ginger and soy sauce in a large bowl until the ginger is distributed evenly and the seitan has absorbed the soy sauce.

In a separate bowl, combine the coating ingredients. Add the seitan, toss to coat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C using a kitchen thermometer to assist you.

Toss the seitan pieces again in any remaining coating mixture to achieve a dry exterior. Place immediately into the hot oil and fry for 3–4 minutes to cook through. If the seitan pieces are browning too quickly, remove from the pan and allow to cool before flash-frying again until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.

While the seitan is frying, make the sauce. Fry the garlic in a small saucepan with 1 teaspoon of the hot frying oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to follow the spoon about, adding a splash of water if you want to make it runnier. This should be ready by the time you take the seitan out of the oil. Taste and add an extra squeeze of gochujang if your friends can handle it.

Put the finishing touches on your masterpiece by using a pastry brush to paint the sauce onto the surface of the fried seitan, brushing as much flavour as you can into the crevices. Or, less artfully, dump the seitan into a bowl and pour the sauce over the top, tossing until fully coated.

Serve with thinly sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seeds scattered over the top.

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