By Irene Kuo
Known as “muscles” or “sinews” of dough in Chinese, gluten is made by washing out the starch from dough until only the adhesive substance remains. Once made, it is either boiled or deep-fried before being finally cooked with seasonings and other ingredients. It is a main staple for Chinese vegetarians: to them, gluten is a symbolic meat.
A devout Buddhist and virtually a total vegetarian, Liu-ma regularly slipped into the kitchen and washed a batch of “sinews” for the enjoyment of t