Faux-Fantasy Meat Pt 1: Chinese Fireball Dragon Ribs!

I would say I’ve reached new heights of nerdery, but this really doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’ve been threatening teasing with this recipe for over a week now, so it’s time to finally deliver. That’s right, my first FAUX-DRAGON recipe is here! It turned out even better than I was expecting, and I’m pretty excited to veganize a few more magical beasts in future.

This was inspired by the need to bring vegan noms to a Chinese New Year party (year of the dragon, what!), my general nerdery, Harry Potter + LotR fandom, as well as the mysterious + delicious Unicart PDX, where I ate some faux-Loch Ness Monster last summer. The whole Chinese New Year party/Year of the Dragon thing led me, naturally, to faux-ify some HP-verse Chinese Fireball. You know, the dragon Viktor Krum had to face in the first Triwizard task? Ooooh.

I decided to go the yuba/bean curd route for this recipe, as I love those chewy little pieces of deliciousness in faux-chicken, duck, or rib situations. Everyone always says random things “taste like chicken” anyway, so if we get to say faux-dragon tastes like faux-chicken, that seems only fair.

BBQ Chinese Fireball "Ribs"

As for spicing, I was obviously thinking SPICY with a Chinese Fireball twist. So, Chinese Five-Spice BBQ Sauce slathered on Dragon ribs. It’s gonna be totally awesome!

BBQ Chinese Fireball Faux-Dragon Ribs

  • 1 package bean curd sticks, or “yuba” soaked 4-6 hours
  • 1 recipe Chinese Five-Spice BBQ Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Soak yuba in water 4-6 hours, until soft, slice into 2-3 inch “ribs.” Toss with half of BBQ sauce. Spread out on baking tray in single layer. Bake 12 minutes on first side. Remove from oven and flip ribs over. Bake 10 minutes on second side. Remove from oven, toss with remaining BBQ sauce, and bake additional 5 minutes. BOOM, DONE. EAT YOUR DRAGON.

I served it with a quick ginger-garlic stir-fry and some red rice, which are not pictured, because we were too hungry by that point. Not sorry.

Chinese Five-Spice BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground szechuan pepper*
  • 1 tsp ground cloves*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp ground star anise*
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel*
  • (optional: replace above spices with about 2 tbsp pre-mixed Chinese Five Spice powder)
  • 1 tsp cayenne (or to taste, scale back if you want a less-spicy dragon)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp organic ketchup (agave sweetened is my fave)
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

In small pot over low heat, combine all ingredients until coconut oil is melted.

The play-by-play:

I wrapped up in my best Ravenclaw scarf and “why the #$%& is there a dragon in my kitchen?!?” face, put on a suitable soundtrack, and got to work.

I started with this package of bean curd “sticks,” also known as yuba.

Then it got soaked for about six hours. You reeeeeeally want to make sure it gets soaked good, otherwise some of the thicker pieces will still be hard and way too chewy and you’ll get sadface. You could probably speed it up by using boiling water, or just do it overnight or put it out in the morning and forget about, which is what I did.

Then you end up with soft bean curdy strips, and you cut it into 3-inch (ish) “ribs,” ready for saucin’.

Tossed with Chinese-Five Spice BBQ sauce, ready for the oven!

I’ll tell you a secret. I only had a half-sauce recipe here, so these are a little drier. Make the whole sauce recipe and add some near the end for juicy dragon.

I bet Hagrid would eat dragon ribs. Omnomnom.

After some dragon discussion on Twitter the other day, I’m definitely thinking of a few more recipes. Hungarian Horntail, anyone? How about other magical beasts we could cook up for a magical feast? Have you ever made a meal or dish from a book or film? Tell me your nerdy secrets!

7 thoughts on “Faux-Fantasy Meat Pt 1: Chinese Fireball Dragon Ribs!

    1. Nerdy food is apparently my new “thing,” I have so many ideas! Most Asian-y markets should have yuba, I get it in Chinatown.

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