Monday, November 21, 2005
Vegetarianism is hard for me; I've noticed my brain chemistry changes when I consume soy products. So far, any soy protein in my diet makes me anxious, irritable, and morose. Which is a real shame, because I do like tofu, pan-fried tofu, smooth tofu, and soymilk. I keep trying different types and brands, and so far, no joy.
But while experimenting, my children fell in love with "meaty-bits." You might know them by their proper name, "textured vegetable protein, chunks." Have you ever cooked with them? They are generally unpallatable. But here's what I do:
By volume, I use 3x TVP chunks to 1x liquid. The liquid is mostly water, with soy souce to taste, a garlic clove's worth of crushed garlic, and some vegetable oil. I heat the liquid to steaming (not boiling!!! very important!) and add the TVP. It'll reconstitute in a few minutes. Stir it some, making sure to get the dry bits saturated.
Most of the liquid will be absorbed-- pour the whole lot into a hot pan with more oil. Brown the TVP. You'll want to get a good skin on it, as I did in the picture.
For some reason, by caramelizing some of the skin on the TVP and adding some oil and salt to a low-temperature reconstitution process, you end up with something that has a similar texture to stir-fried meat. You'll never figure out what meat it is, but your teeth will swear that you're eating animal flesh.
And yes, I use a non-stick pan for the frying.
Oh! A final benefit: Take this stuff camping! Those annoying yellow-jackets will completely ignore you and go for the neighboring camp where they are frying up bacon and sausage.
Posted by Robert van de Walle