Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vegan Kaszanka Recipe - Yes, I did!

Vegan Kaszanka! Don't mind if I do. 
I know what you are thinking - I have the capacity to read minds…on a good day! - what the meow is kaszanka? It is a Polish sausage, which incidentally is also a staple in other European countries, made of uncanny ingredients. Enough said!

I ate it as a kid growing up in Poland before I knew what I was consuming. Either way, I love kasha, and I figured that I would try making kaszanka just to see if I could. I think almost anything is possible once you put some effort into your plan.

For instance, last night I dined at a popular chain restaurant, and was able to have a vegan dining experience not featured on the menu. 

I present to you a baked potato and steamed vegetables. Not the best picture! It tasted great though. The restaurant makes a mean baked potato. 

Baked potato and steamed vegetables at Applebee's.
I know! It is not much, but imagine the possibilities. Oh, did I just rip someone off? I think this phrase may have been used already. 


Vegan Kaszanka - rock on! 
Vegan Kaszanka (Makes 4 large Kaszankas)

1 cup cooked kasha/buckwheat (I cooked mine in well seasoned vegetable broth.)
1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and mashed with a fork
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour (Do not use regular flour.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (Regular paprika may be used, however, smoked paprika is preferred.)
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce

Steaming "equipment" 
Large soup pot
Vegetable basket for steaming
4 pieces of aluminum foil

Pan fry it with mushrooms and serve it over mashed potatoes or in a "hot dog" bun. Caramelized onions would be great here too! 
Cook the kasha first according to package directions. You can do it a day before.

Now prepare the steaming "equipment" for the kaszankas. Bring a large soup pot to a boil, filling about 1/4 of it with water. Use a vegetable steam basket - I am sure you have one of those on hand - to judge the water content necessary to steam kaszankas.

I placed the basket into the pot first, and then added enough water to come up to the top of the basket.
In the meantime, prepare the kaszankas. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Use a fork to incorporate all the ingredients. Mix in the vital wheat gluten flour at the end. Add one cup of vital wheat gluten flour first to the mixed ingredients, and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup. You may not need all of it. Knead the dough quickly with your hands until all the vital wheat gluten flour is absorbed. Do not over knead.

Divide the dough into 4 "equal" parts, and wrap each one in tin foil like a tootsie roll. Like this.

Perfection is not necessary. 
To make things easier, shape each piece of dough into a long and thick "sausage" and wrap it in the foil.

Roll the foil over the dough to make sure it is completely covered. Now, take the ends on each side and twist them like a tootsie roll. Don't worry about the shape too much, it will come together when you roll it.

Place the wrapped kaszankas in the steamer, cover, and steam for 45 minutes. Do not leave it in the steamer longer than indicated.

While the kaszankas are steaming, be sure to check you have enough steam. You may need to add more water to the bottom of the pot to make sure it doesn't burn. I have burnt pots when the water ran out plenty of times, so consider yourself warned.

Allow 5 to 10 minutes to cool before unwrapping the kaszankas. Serve as is or pan fry it before serving. Store in the refrigerator, unwrapped and in a closed container, for 3-4 days.

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