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Bean Thread Noodles with Squash Relish, Limed Jerk Seitan (No Added Fat)

Posted Mar 09 2013 12:30am
I found in my pantry a bottle of Bonnie Blue's Blue Ribbon Squash Relish  (squash, onion, sugar, vinegar, pepper, salt, spices), which I had purchased at A Southern Season, a local specialty store. I recently purchased some bean thread (or glass or cellophane) noodles  (mung bean starch and water) after enjoying them at a friend's house, and came up with the idea of serving the tasty relish atop the noodles.

I started with these ingredients to cook for my wife, preschooler, and myself
  • A 9 ounce bottle of the squash relish
  • A package (about 100g, or little less than 4 ounces) of bean thread noodles
  • An 8 ounce package of seitan (I used one already cut into chunks, but strips would be even better)
  • Juice of one lemon (or large lime, which I preferred but didn't have - nevertheless, I'm calling it a limed seitan)
  • A quarter small sweet onion cut into approximately 1/4" x 1" slices
  • Small green bell pepper, cut into approximately 1/4" x 3/4" slices
  • Heirloom yellow tomato
  • Seasonings: jerk seasoning, salt, hemp seeds
Here is what I did
  1. I opened the package of seitan, draining the liquid out, and let it marinate in the lemon juice
  2. I let the noodles soak in near boiling water for 15m or so. I ended up with extra noodles and could have used about 3/4 of the package.
  3. In a stainless steel saute pan, I put most (about 4/5) of the onion and turned the pan onto medium-high. I use a quality Saladmaster pan that doesn't need added oil for cooking - and hence no preheating is necessary. I stirred the onion for about a minute, then added the seitan, reserving the marinade.
  4. I frequently stirred the seitan and onion; after about 3 or 4 minutes, I added a little bit of the marinade (the pan immediately then upon a slight rub with the spatula released the dark areas of cooked on food), and continued stirring, continuing slowly to add all of the marinade over a few minutes.
  5. After the seitan was showing slight browning, I added the bell pepper and continued stirring for another 2 minutes or so.
  6. I added the reserved raw onion, stirred occasionally for another 2 minutes or so, then mixed in a bit of salt and jerk seasoning to taste, and served.
  7. I made a mount of the noodles (no need to drain as the water had been absorbed) and served the relish in the middle. I sprinkled a half teaspoonful or so of hemp seeds around the outside.
  8. Slices of tomato completed the plate.
Dinner came out well. I have been enjoying no-added-fat cooking. Though this can result in reasonably browned onion (especially if no liquid like the lime/lemon juice were added), seitan gets crisper if cooked with a little bit of oil. For a moderate fat dish, the seitan could be cooked separately in a little bit of olive oil and mixed in with the onion and bell pepper; I think this would be a good choice to allow for a little bit of oil but, in this case, better texture and flavor of the seitan.

I've never used bean thread noodles before, and want to work with them again. I'd love to make a soup, which such noodles are more typically used for.

The relish is good and has no fat; I ended up with maybe an eighth of the bottle unused, and will probably use it for topping bread or crackers as a nice snack. If I were to make such a relish, I'd reduce or leave out the sugar - and reduce the vinegar, as well.
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