Spice up your dinner routine with this Soy Curl Stir-Fry! Soy Curls give this vegetable-filled dish a hearty, meaty texture, while garlic chili sauce gives it a spicy kick. This easy recipe cooks up quickly, and it's vegan and gluten-free.
Spicy Soy Curl Stir-Fry
Years ago, I spent an awesome few days in Portland at Vida Vegan Con, the amazing vegan food blogger conference that sadly no longer exists. Soy Curls seemed to be all the rage in Portland, and rightly so.
For the uninitiated, Soy Curls are made from textured, non-GMO, whole soybeans, and they have a meaty texture that’s similar to seitan. They are, in a word, amazing.
While in Portland, I took a quick peek into Food Fight Grocery, which was totally packed with people loading up on Soy Curls to take home with them. The wall-to-wall crowd caused me major anxiety, so I left the store and just ordered some when I got home.
The first thing I made with them was my old stand-by, the spicy stir-fry. I find it's a good go-to when experimenting with new ingredients. Since it's quick and easy, it's a great dish for busy weeknights.
What are Soy Curls?
Soy Curls are made by Butler Foods, and they’re a great alternative to meat. They have one ingredient: non-gmo whole soy beans. With a meaty texture that’s similar to seitan, they’re a good option for those who follow a gluten-free diet. They hold up well in stir-fries, stews, and sandwiches.
Where to Buy Soy Curls
All these years later, I still haven't been able to find Soy Curls in a store in my area, so I buy them in bulk from Amazon or directly from Butler Foods. They can be purchased in 8-ounce packages or 12-pound bulk boxes. I recommend storing them in your fridge or freezer, because the natural oils in them can go bad.
How to Prepare Soy Curls
Soy Curls come dry and need to be rehydrated in order to cook them. They will increase in size as they soak, so an 8-ounce package will actually weigh about 1½ pounds after it’s been rehydrated. You need to soak them for about 10 minutes. They then need to be drained. You should give them a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water, which will slow down their cooking time.
You can soak your Soy Surls in either warm vegetable stock or how water. I like to use vegan bouillon to add a little flavor to them. Edward and Sons Not-Beef Bouillon Cubes or Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes are my favorites, but I also like Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base and No Chicken Base.
In this recipe, I save the stock, which goes into the sauce.
Garlic Chili Sauce
Garlic chili paste is my favorite ingredient for adding heat to my spicy peanut sauces. I use Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce, and I go through it super quickly! If you can’t get your hands on a jar, you can use sambal oelek, sriracha, or even just a little crushed red pepper flakes.
How to Make a Spicy Soy-Curl Stir-Fry
This recipe is super easy to make!
- Once your Soy Curls are rehydrated, you heat 1 teaspoon of oil in large pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add your Soy Curls along with 1 tablespoon of tamari and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
- You cook them, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. If they begin to stick use some of the reserved stock or water to moisten the pan.
- Once the Soy Curls have browned to your liking, you remove them from the pan and set them aside.
- While the Soy Curls are cooking, you mix together 1 cup of the reserved stock with the sesame oil, garlic chili sauce, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, and remaining tamari and rice vinegar.
- Next you add the rest of the oil to the pan along with the onion and mushrooms and cook them for about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown and are fragrant.
- Then you add the broccoli and shredded carrot to the pan. You cook, stirring frequently, for just a few minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green.
- Now you add the Soy Curls back into the pan along with the sauce and mix everything together until they're heated throughout, about another minute or two.
- Serve your stir-fry with cooked brown rice, and top it with sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and sriracha, if you want a little more heat.
How to Customize Your Stir-Fry
You can easily make this recipe your own!
- I love making stir-fries with mushrooms and broccoli, but you can use whatever vegetables you like. Try snow peas, sliced red pepper, or bok choy.
- Even though is is a Soy Curl stir-fry, you can use cubed tofu or tempeh if you can't find them. Just sauté the cubes the the same way you would soy curls in the first step until they've browned to your liking. You can also use seitan, but keep in mind that you're dish will no longer be gluten-free.
- If you're sensitive to heat, you can cut back on the garlic chili sauce. And if you love spicy food, you can add more.
- I love serving this recipe with brown rice, but you can use cooked rice noodles, if you prefer.
- Soy Curls tend to soak up liquids pretty quickly, so if you like your stir-fries saucy, double the sauce.
Spicy Soy Curl Stir-Fry
- 4 ounces Soy Curls (½ a package)
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil divided
- 4 tablespoons tamari divided
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar divided
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 onion diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 bunch broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 5 cups)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 4 cups cooked brown rice for serving
- Sriracha optional, for serving
- Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water. Reconstitute the soy curls by placing them in a bowl and pouring the broth over them. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the soy curls, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Save the stock.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in large pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add the soy curls along with 1 tablespoon of tamari and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. If they begin to stick use some of the reserved broth to moisten the pan. Once the soy curls have browned to your liking, remove them from the pan and set aside.
- While the soy curls are cooking, mix together 1 cup of the reserved broth with the sesame oil, garlic chili sauce, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, and remaining tamari and rice vinegar. Set aside.
- Add the rest of the oil to the pan along with the onion and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown and are fragrant. Add the broccoli and shredded carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, for just a few minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green. Add the soy curls back into the pan along with the sauce and mix together to heated throughout, another minute or two.
- Serve with rice, and top with sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and sriracha, if using.
Originally posted June 6, 2013. Updated September 12, 2021.
More Soy Curl Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
More Stir-Fries You Might Like Include:
- Tofu and Shiratake Noodle Stir-Fry
- Coconut-Peanut Butter Chickpea and Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Cashew Tempeh Stir-Fry from Fast and Easy Vegan Cookbook by JL Fields
- Tofu Teriyaki Stir-Fry