If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to up your vegan cooking game, and that means frequently scouring the internet for fun new ingredients to try. So when I stumbled across a Reddit thread about a veggie that instantly gives any dish a meaty flavor on the cheap, I was intrigued.
I’ve never heard of Chinese olive vegetable, but it’s evidently a one-of-a-kind staple that should grace vegan kitchens everywhere. In the thread, the Redditor said they instantly became hooked after being introduced to it during a cooking class. More than 200 comments later, it’s safe to say plenty of others agree at how amazing it is. So, what exactly is it?
Joyce—the food blogger behind Pups with Chopsticks—said Chinese olive vegetable is a condiment that’s typically made from only a handful of ingredients: olives, preserved mustard vegetables, salt, and oil. “It has an amazing deep umami flavor and is most often used in stir fries, fried rice, or as a condiment for congee,” she writes. Really though, the options are endless.
The meaty/umami goodness of Chinese olive vegetable is very similar to what you’ll achieve from adding things like soy sauce and mushrooms into your dishes, except this stuff is even more affordable. A container of it costs $15 on Amazon, but it will last you forever since you only need a tiny bit to up the meatiness in your dishes. Now who’s ready to get cooking?