Using Soya protein with Chillies

Spicy soya protein

Soya protein  or  ( TVP ) is a meat substitute made from Soya beans. It comes in  the form of chunks and granules that, when rehydrated, resemble the look all and texture of meat . To give it  the taste and colour of  meat, however, requires the addition of ingredients like stock and tomato paste.

Soya protein is used by many  as a meat replacement in vegetarian diets.  Dishes  normally made with meat like     Chili, Babotie and curry can  easily been converted to vegetarian meals. Because it is high in  protein, it is an excellent way of introducing more protein into a vegetarian diet. It can be combined with other ingredients  like cheese, eggs  and Seitan  to increase  the amount of protein in a single meal. Vegetarian Lasagne for example combines  Seitan, cheese and Soya mince - all protein rich ingredients.

Recipes for vegetarians

Using Soya protein with Chillies

Reconstituting Soya protein

How to reconstitute dry Soya mince and chunks

Because it is a dehydrated product, it needs to be soaked in warm water or stock to reconstitute it. TVP  has a minimal flavour of its own but has an excellent ability to absorb flavour.  Due to this, rehydrating it with stock is recommended.  After rehydration , cooking it with chillies and other ingredients will lead to its colour being changed ( to more resemble meat) and the development of  delicious flavour.

A standard soaking time for mince and chunks   is about 10 to 15   minutes in hot water (or stock). For mince a ratio of  1:1 (half water to half  TVP)  is used . Three  to four  cups of water ( or stock)  to one cup of Soya protein is  required for chunks.  It will more than  triple in weight once it has fully absorbed  liquid .  Any excess  water must be drained before using .  While this method work in most instances,  always  read the instructions on the pack of the TVP you are using. Instructions for some brands may vary

Once the Soya mince or chunks are rehydrated, they can be used very much in the same way meat is. The exception is that they should not be browned in the same way as meat. Soya protein  only needs sauteeing for  minute  or two so that it can absorb flavour Because it  has no fat, additional  oil, ghee or the like will need to be added to your dish

In dishes like curry and spicy stews, which have a gravy, it is unnecessary to rehydrate the TVP. Simply add it dry to the gravy while cooking, and it then will absorb liquid to become reconstituted. At the same time, the TVP soaks up the flavour of the sauce it is being cooked in, which results in great flavour.  The recipe for vegetarian Lasagne illustrates this brilliantly .