Panfried Komachibu - Vegan 'Scallops'

panfriedfu.jpg

Komachibu is a small round form of yakifu, grilled and dried fu. Fu is a traditional Japanese form of wheat gluten, that is a good vegan protein source. (Read more about fu and how it actually preceeds seitan.) If you like to use seitan, you’ll probably like fu as well. Komachibu is available at any reasonably stocked Japanese grocery store (in the dried food section).

Komachibu are about the size of a large coin. When they are reconstituted in water, they swell up to about the size of a small scallop (they do shrink back down a bit when cooked with this method). The texture is very soft, like very very tender scallops. I don’t pretend that they are as good as real, fresh scallops of course, but if you’ve given up shellfish for dietary reasons, these are not bad at all. And, they are terrific in a bento box, vegan or not.

I’ve given two variations, one with a Japanese flavor and one with a more Western/European flavor. Note that the key is to add in lots of umami to the bland komachibu, via the mushroom liquid, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and so on.

Cooking time for either method is about 5-10 minutes (longer for the European method since you have to chop the shallots and so on), not including the mushroom soaking time.

Panfried komachibu, European flavors

  • About 20 komachibu (you can use chikuwabu instead)
  • 2 to 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, or 4-5 dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 small garlic close, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. white wine
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1/2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce (a vegan kind if you are sticking to vegan)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Finely chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Soak the dried mushrooms in about 2 cups of water, preferably overnight. You will be using the soaking liquid here, not the mushrooms themselves. Reserve the mushrooms for another time in the remaining soaking liquid and use up within a couple of days.

Soak the komachibu in cold water to cover until soft. This only takes a few minutes. Drain off the water and squeeze out the komachibu gently.

In a small frying pan, put in a little olive oil and the shallots and ginger. Sauté until the shallots are transparent. Add about 1 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid, wine, thyme and the Worcestershire sauce, and add the komachibu. Let simmer until the liquid is almost all gone. Turn a couple of times that both sides of the komachibu get caramelized. Season with a little salt and pepper, and garnish with the parsley (optional).

Serve warm or at room temperature. If serving warm, it’s nice to drizzle a little olive oil on top.

Panfried komachibu, Japanese/Asian flavors

  • About 20 komachibu (you can use chikuwabu instead)
  • 2 to 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, or 4-5 dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 Tbs. oyster sauce (a vegan kind if you are sticking to vegan)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Soak the mushrooms as for the European style, preferably overnight but at least an hour or so.

Soak and reconstitute the komachibu as for the European style.

In a small frying pan, combine 1 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid and all the other ingredients. Add the komachibu. Simmer until the liquid is almost gone, turning a few times to cook both sides evenly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

The mushrooms

You can use the soaked mushrooms in a stir-fry later. You can also cook it with the komachibu: just add the the mushrooms, cut into bitsize pieces, with all the soaking liquid and the flavoring ingredients, and simmer until the liquid has reduced to about half. Then add the komachibu. You can then serve the mushrooms with the komachibu, or as another dish. I prefer the komachibu on its own, because the meaty texture of the mushrooms tends to overwhelm the delicateness of the komachibu.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

9 comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Hey, I just wanted to say

Hey, I just wanted to say how much I like your blog. As a vegan who lived in Japan for 4 years, I love the vegan bentos you sometimes make!

photo

Any chance of the raw ingredient before it’s soaked? Or better yet in it’s packaging? I’ve searched my local Japanese shops but can’t seem to find it… but sometimes if I know what I’m looking for I can spot it….. :)

Kia, there’s a pretty

Kia, there’s a pretty thorough article all about fu @ the link in the post! here - http://www.justhungry.com/fu-mother-seitan

Thank you!

Thank you so much for this blog! As a single guy learning how to cook, these recipes are fantastic tasting and easy to make. I just finished up chowing down on the carrot kinpira, komachibu, and spinach. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find zakkakumai so I just used brown rice. Next time, I’m going to make my own zakkakumai per your recipe.

vegan scallops

Hi there, I am very excited about this recipie and tried it last night and I have a few questions. In the European version you listed above, it mentions ginger in the recipie but not in the ingredient list so I was wondering how much and what form of ginger I should use. Also, the flavor came out very rich and nice :). I did have trouble getting the fu to carmalize, any tips you can offer on that please. As always I want to say that your sites just bento and just hungry are my favorite on the web. Keep up the great work!

Ella

hmm, I think the ginger

hmm, I think the ginger snuck in there by mistake! But if you do add it, it would be fresh chopped ginger (I never use ground ginger in savory dishes) and just a small amount.

The key to getting it to caramelize is to cook off the poaching liquid until the pan is just about dry - then they will caramelize on their own, almost.

Re: Panfried Komachibu - Vegan 'Scallops'

Hi!!!
I love your blog sooo much!
My boyfriend is an international student from Japan, so he loves it when I make him lunches from this website!
He says its like being home again!!
But anyways, I was wondering if this freezes successfully?
Also does your recipe for hijiki and carrots freeze successfully?
Thanks!
=)

Re: Panfried Komachibu - Vegan 'Scallops'

Hello! Can you please tell me where I can order Komachi-bu online? I live in the states (Texas) and the one Asian grocery store I go to has stopped selling it. The brand I buy is 'Shirakiku' but I can't seem to find this product anywhere! I put it in my Miso soup which is WONDERFUL!!
Please help!

Re: Panfried Komachibu - Vegan 'Scallops'

Hi, I must say I love this blog. I'm having so much fun with bento. Being a recent graduate, it's been a great hobby to pick up.

Today I went looking for komachibu at my local Asian store and came up with nothing. The last store I went to was very helpful and called around to his friends and family. Eventually we learned that sukiyakifu was what I needed. I hope it helps someone else!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.