This is based on a dish I sampled at Wild Rice in Vancouver and, while mine pales in comparison to theirs, it's not half bad. The non dairy cheese pairs well with the simplicity of seared king oyster mushrooms (eryngii mushrooms) that are lightly sprinkled with flakes of sea salt.
Mostly I love this recipe because it's dead easy to make and will please a crowd (and by 'crowd' I mean my other half, me, and a bottle of wine). The quantities in the recipe make plenty to serve with the mushrooms, but if you want to forego the fungi and serve vegan cheese spread to a crowd then you'll want to double up (at least).
A few things to keep in mind
Red rice vinegar is made from red yeast rice, a fermented rice with a deep reddish purple colour that's derived from the mould cultivated by the bacteria Monascus Purpureus. The flavour of the vinegar is yeasty and nutty with a tinge of anise and five spice, a distinctive flavour imparted by the cultured red rice. Combined with soy sauce, it's a hit.
Please note red vinegar and red wine vinegar are not the same, and thus not interchangeable.
In the vegan cashew cheese recipe below, I've added additional red rice yeast for colouring, but this is wholly optional. I don't think it's particularly difficult to find (I got mine at Wing Yip in East Croydon), but I'm sure you'll have better luck in sourcing the vinegar (which should be available in most Chinese supermarkets).
Sweet Vinegared Cashew Cheese King Oysters
- Combine the ingredients through to the red rice yeast, if using, and blend until most of the cashews are broken up and a paste begins to form. A few chunks are okay, or even desired – the texture adds to this dish.
- Slice the mushrooms lengthways into approximate ¼ inch slabs. Heat a grill pan to medium high heat and spray with enough oil to coat. Fry the mushroom pieces for about 2 minutes on each side, or until sear lines from the pan are visible.
- Remove to a plate and sprinkle with a pinch or two of flaked salt. Scoop a liberal dollop or three of cashew cheese on each dish and serve immediately. The recipe makes plenty of of cashew cheese, so use the leftovers on crackers, toast, or mixed with pasta for a quick week night meal.