Look ma, no meat

With growing awareness, people are now attaching importance to vegetarianism and veganism. It has become a matter of concern. They want to stay healthy by eating healthy.

But they are not letting go of taste or indulgence. One trend that has caught the fancy is the meatless meat food trend. Many cafes, restaurants and even fast-food chains are providing the same.

KFC in UK has recently launched a meatless meat burger option at select outlets. Called The Imposter, this plant-based offering is a vegan version and has quorn fillet and vegan mayo.

They are coming up with more meat alternatives for vegan and vegetarians. Marks & Spencer too has come out with a range of such options for its customers.

But the question still remains: What do you mean by meatless meat?

Chef Anand Rawat, who works at the palatial hotel Noor Mahal in Karnal, Haryana, maintains, “This year meat-free meat food is trending. The credit goes to our young millennials who are social media savvy and who follow international food culture passionately.

There is no surprise that eating out has become an important part of their social life and hence this results in creating such popular food trends.”

Chef Raji Gupta, Owner, House Barn by Raji, Mumbai, has a rather pragmatic outlook towards the reason. She explains, “India has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world.

Our market is clearly distinguished as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But with good exposure to the vegan info and their urge towards healthy lifestyle consumer has started believing in the segment.

The consumer clearly understands the healthy and unhealthy benefits of transforming into vegetarian. There is big demand for vegetarian or plant-based food in restaurants. The three important reasons are environmental concern, well-being and health and sensitivity towards animals.”

There are, no doubt, some ingredients that are staple in meatless meat food. The list includes soya, tofu, nuts, wholegrain, jackfruit, leafy dark green veg, mushrooms, tempeh, skim milk and kale. Chef Raji feels the need to take care of protein and mineral elements which unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, are procured through meat.

“And make sure to get these nutritional needs through different sources. A well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet is great at any stage of life but you need to be cautious and well-knowledgeable with breast-feeding mothers and kids’ diet planning.”

What’s more, you cannot cook such meals without knowing the important details of making it interesting and tasty. Chef Vivek Bahadur, Corporate Executive Sous Chef,  Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, wants those interested to make these dishes eye-appealing complete with great presentation and taste.

Chef Raji just wants everyone to treat it like meat. Chef Rawat insists on chefs being responsible towards their consumers. “Our job is to keep our guest happy and satisfied. So, while cooking the only thing we keep in mind is flavour, spices, and ingredients of the food.”

Popular dishes revealed by the chefs include Lentil and Potato Pot Pies, African Peanut Stew, Soya Chunks, Tofu Recipes, Soya Seekh Kebab, Soya ki Shami, Soya Keema Matar, Bhuna Kathal Masala, Soy-Milk Shakes, and Leafy Green Stirs. Chef Raji feels these dishes should be an ideal combination of Protein and Energy.

Soya Seekh Kabab

KATHAL KI BIRYANI

Ingredients:

l Basmati Rice –250 Gms

l Raw Jackfruit Raw – 200 Gms

l Onions – 100 Gms

l Ginger Garlic Paste –25 Gms

l Red Chilli Powder – ½ Tsp

l Salt, a pinch to taste

l Garam Masala Pwd – 1 Tsp

Whole Spices:

l Large Cardamom – 4

l Black Pepper, whole – 8 -10

l Bay Leaf, a few

l Cinnamon, small stick

l Desi Ghee – 30 Gms

l Oil, for frying – 50 Ml

Method:

Wash rice well. Soak for about 30 minutes. Boil in salted water till ¾th done. Cut jackfruit into 1½ inch dices and fry till golden brown. Slice onions thin. Heat desi ghee in a pan. Sauté the whole spices. Add sliced onions and stir fry till onions are glossy.

Add ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add fried jack fruit to the sautéed mix. Add red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Add a little water and stir. Fold in the par boiled rice slowly and stir lightly so that it does not break.

Sprinkle water and a spoon of desi ghee on top. Cover the pan with a lid and put live charcoal on top for the Biryani to dum for about 10 minutes. Serve hot garnished with fried onions and ginger juliennes – and raita.

— Chef Vivek Bahadur, Corporate Executive Sous Chef, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts

CARROT FRITTERS WITH GREENS

Ingredients:

l Canned Chick Peas, drained over a bowl (Save the liquid for some other recipe) – 400 Gms

l Orange Carrots, grated to give 200g – 250 Gms

l Plain Flour - 4 Tbsp

l Smoked Paprika plus a pinch to garnish –

1 ½ Tsp

l Salt, to taste

l Vegetable Oil – 2 Tbsp

l Butter (room temperature) – 1 Tbsp

l Cooked Couscous (as per packet instruction) – 200 Gms

l Lentils – 50 Gms

l Frozen and Thawed Peas – 2 Tbsp

l Tzatziki – 60 Gms

l Fine Greens (I am using blanched Spinach), to serve – 150 Gms

l Tzatziki Recipe for Serving: (Mix all the ingredients)

l Plain Hung Curd (excess water removed) - 200 Gms or 1 Cup

l Shredded Cucumber (squeezed and excess water removed) 100 Gms or 1 Cup

l Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsp

l Garlic, finely minced – 2 Cloves

l Chopped Dill – 1 Tbsp

l Salt and Pepper

Method:

Put half of the chick peas into a wide, shallow bowl and crush them well with a fork. Add the grated carrots, flour, 1 tbsp. smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands, then add 2 tbsp. of the chick pea liquid and mix again.

Press into 6 rough, flat rounds while your hands are sticky. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Place the fritters in 2 batches over a medium low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until deep golden and crisp. Press them down few times as they cook.

Take the cooked Couscous and add remaining chickpeas, salt & pepper. Add butter in a pan and add the blanched spinach once melted. Add salt. (Careful as butter has salt. I avoid adding salt.) Now plate it all together as you like. I place the couscous top it with fritters, side with spinach, and Tzatziki.

— Chef Raji Gupta, Owner, House Barn by

Raji, Mumbai