Vegetable meat – tofu, seitan and soya
Plant-based cuisine tempts with a wealth of colors and a variety of ingredients, and vegan and vegetarian dishes often break the familiar flavors in an interesting way. Meat substitutes, such as tofu, seitan and soy, are becoming more and more popular in vegetarian dishes. We suggest what you should know about them and how to prepare them.
One of the most commonly used substitutes for meat in vegetable dishes is tofu, or oriental soybean curd. It owes its popularity not only to the high content of protein, which is essential for the proper functioning of the body, but also to valuable vitamins (e.g. B, K, C) or vegetable unsaturated fats. But that is not the end of its advantages. The advantage of tofu is also… its lack of distinctive taste. Why? Because it is this factor that makes properly seasoned take on a “meaty” flavor.
If you want to make tofu a’la chicken, gently pull the cheese cubes out of the package and drain excess water with paper towels. Cut the whole into medium-sized cubes, put them into a container and marinate in any amount of soy sauce. The next step is to add your favorite spices (e.g. gyros) and set the tofu aside for a few hours. After that you can fry or bake it.
Another meat alternative that is currently gaining popularity is seitan, which is made by leaching starch from wheat flour. However, it should be avoided by people suffering from celiac disease – this product consists exclusively of gluten, which is not recommended in their diet. Among the advantages of such “meat” is usually mentioned a very high content of protein (sometimes more than 80%), and the presence of iron. There is also the issue of the “bland” taste, which makes seitan extremely versatile – you can season it according to your taste and culinary preferences.
The recipe for perfect seitan is not complicated. How to prepare it? Knead ok. Mix 2 kg of flour with a liter of water to obtain a smooth and velvety consistency without lumps. When ready, shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with water and set aside for 9 hours. After this time, drain it and knead it under a stream of lukewarm water until the water runs clear. The resulting product is seitan – cook it in a flavorful broth, then season and bake or fry it.
A great vegetarian product used as a substitute for meat is also soy – a legume that many nutritionists count among the healthiest foods in this group. Why? Among other things due to the high amount of protein (in 100 g of soy there is 36 g of protein), as well as the presence of biotin, fiber, iron and calcium. It also has a positive influence on the level of bad cholesterol in blood. In meatless diets it is usually prepared in the form of patties or burgers, and the composition of spices and appropriate texture is responsible for its meaty taste.
If you want to serve soybean cutlets for dinner, you must soak the soybean in water overnight, then rinse it and cook it until it is soft. Blend soy beans with a little light soy sauce into a smooth paste, add your favorite toppings (fried onions, finely grated carrots, herbs) and form patties. Fry or bake the whole thing and serve with a salad.