These saucy and incredibly meaty soy curls are simmered in a delicious hoisin sauce infused with garlic, shallots, and five-spice! A quick and high-protein plant-based dish!
If you ever wondered what to do with those soy curls sitting in your pantry, I've got the perfect recipe for you!
📘 What are Soy Curls
Soy curls are a meat-alternative made from soybeans. It is sold as a dried product and must be rehydrated before being used. The texture of soy curls is a bit similar to chicken, meaty and slightly chewy.
It seems there are different types of soy curls, the ones made by Butler foods are prepared from whole soybeans, while other brands are sometimes made using soybean flour, or defatted soybean flour. In Europe, I could only find ones made from soybean flour.
There are also now curls made from pea protein instead of soy protein! It's actually what I used here, but both work the same.
🥣 How to Make Char Siu Soy Curls
This recipe takes around 30 minutes to prepare, from start to finish, and requires just 9 ingredients. Here is what you will need:
- Soy curls - You can use soy curls or curls made from another plant-based protein.
- Hoisin sauce - I highly recommend making your own hoisin sauce, but store-bought will work great as well.
- Shallots and garlic - Feel free to use onions if you don't have shallots.
- Soy sauce - For saltiness and umami.
- Coconut sugar - To balance with the saltiness. You can use coconut sugar, regular white sugar, or even maple syrup.
- Sriracha - For a hint of spiciness. Here, I went with my homemade sweet chili sauce.
- Five spice powder - Five spice is essential to give the sauce that specific char siu flavor.
Here is the process to cook these char siu curls:
- Soak the soy curls: Start by rehydrating the curls in warm water for 15-30 minutes. Once the curls are soft, drain and rinse them well to remove the soy flavor. Squeeze them between your hands to remove as much water as possible, this way the curls will absorb the sauce better.
- Prepare the sauce: Combine hoisin sauce, coconut sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, and five spice powder in a small bowl.
- Sauté aromatics: Sauté garlic and shallots until fragrant. At this point, feel free to add a teaspoon of minced ginger as well for a zesty flavor!
- Add the soy curls: Once the aromatics are cooked, add the soy curls and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until just slightly golden brown.
- Pour in the sauce: Finally, pour in the sauce and dilute with water. Simmer for a few minutes to let the soy curls soak up the sauce!
- What can I substitute for the soy curls? If you don't have soy curls on hand, you could use tofurky or shredded vegan chicken.
- How long do these soy curls keep? Cooked soy curls will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- How to serve these soy curls? My favorite option is on top of white rice! You can also serve it on top of quinoa, farro, or stir the curls into a noodle stir-fry. Top with chopped green onions and a squeeze of lime for freshness!
If you are looking for a high-protein, flavorful, and quick plant-based meal, you are going to love these soy curls! It's just perfect as a weeknight dinner served on top of rice, and with steamed greens on the side!
📔 More TVP Recipes
Let me know in the comments, and feel free to leave a rating, if you try this recipe!
Char Siu Soy Curls
- 1 and ½ cup dried soy curls or pea protein curls
- 2 tablespoon oil or annatto oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 and ½ tablespoon coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoon sriracha or sweet chili sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch diluted in 1 tablespoon water
- Soak the soy curls in warm water for 15-30 minutes, or until curls are fully rehydrated and tender. Drain and squeeze the curls to remove excess water. Rinse the curls and squeeze again.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced shallots and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Next, add the soy curls and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, whisk together the hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, coconut sugar, sriracha, and five spice powder.
- Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to coat the curls with the sauce. Pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Finally, pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Serve hot over white rice, or with your favorite noodles!
- These char siu soy curls will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Where did you buy the curls made from Pea flour?
i am going to try this dish as is, we do use the soy curls in similar dishes.
I am located in Europe so I bought them from Koro.
Hi Thomas, cool recipe - but a factual error in the intro: soy curls are not made from soy flour; they’re actually boiled and dehydrated *whole* soy beans, so very little processing done to the product.
Thanks! I am not sure it is an error actually. That's what Butler food is saying, however from reading the packaging on two other brands, I could see "soy flour" or "defatted soy flour" in the ingredient list. I guess not all brands have the same process, and I think it's actually a bit more processed than what they want us to believe 🙂
Can't find them anywhere in Australia.
Made by South Africans and not really an accurate description of the ingredients used.
Jane, I think we might be talking about different kind of soy curls then. It seems the "Butler food" ones may be made from whole soybeans, but the ones I found in Europe are made from "soybean flour".
I love to thank you Thomas for your beautiful recipes.You do in wonderful way.
Soy Curls are made from whole soybean; not defatted flour.
Pat, I have bought different brands of soy curls and I can assure you there is written "soybean flour" on the ingredient list. I think not all soy curls are made the same way.
I updated the post to reflect the fact that not all brands are prepared the same way. Please check other brands at the store and you will most likely see curls made from soybean flour.
Butler Soy Curls seems to be impossible to find in Europe.
Do you know a supplier or an another brand's alternative?
I got mine from Koro, they have soy and pea versions.
This was epic! The sweetness of the coconut sugar and five-spice mixed with the spicy of the sriracha...Perfection (with a capital "P")! Best soy curl recipe I have tried so far. 10/10.
Glad you liked this recipe Dana, thanks for your rating 🙂