This Local Vegan Chili Hits the Spot

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Before opening Seed Shack in 2017, amateur cooks Jade and Ting Au enjoyed preparing vegan Asian fusion cuisine at home. Armed with recipes from their native Hong Kong, the sisters set up shop behind a Gilbert strip mall, where they dish out a diverse menu of Asian-inspired plant-based fare, including vegan chili with “tornado” fries ($8.25). The curly fries are a popular street food in Hong Kong traditionally served on a stick “that you can hold and eat while you’re shopping at the night market,” Jade says. The skin-on potatoes (or zucchini, for you carb-cutting types) are speared, spiralized, dunked in a “Westernized” beer batter and then deep-fried in organic rice oil, emerging puffy and golden brown.

Most restaurants use canola or soy oils for frying, but rice oil has a much cleaner taste, Jade says. The crispy potatoes rest on a bed of thick vegan chili grounded by earthy black beans and red kidney beans, chunks of tomato, bits of onions and red bell peppers with a dash of jalapeño and a hint of barbecue sauce. The bean-heavy chili and crunchy potato combination hits the mark – it’s a no-nonsense, satisfying dish wrapped in a seductively delicious deep-fried package.

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