Monday, October 31, 2005

Meat Free, Oriental Style

I went shopping at Wing Yip in Croydon at the weekend. It's great for buying your spices, sauces, oils etc as you can get huge amounts at very reasonable prices. It beats paying over inflated prices for pretty jars full of not very much at the local supermarket.

I know that not everyone likes the idea of meat substitutes in a veggie diet, but its never really bothered me. If I can get the same texture and taste as meat but nothing has to suffer and die for it, then all the better.

When I saw a shelf of various soy meat substitutes, I simply had to try a couple of them - for fun if nothing else. So I grabbed a pack of "crispy duck", a pack of "king prawn" and a pack of "mutton" to try. Armed with these, some pancakes, various sauces and vegetables I made my way home to cook up an oriental extravaganza!

I decided to do the traditional crispy duck with pancakes, hoisin sauce and spring onions. The "duck" needed to be placed on an oiled tray and put in the oven for about ten minutes. When I took it out of the oven it was quite mushy, but began to crisp up as it cooled. Once sliced into strips it and put in the pancakes it was really rather tasty.

The "king prawns" were cooked in the oven in the same way. I then made a Thai-like curry sauce using curry paste, lemon grass and coconut milk (I also threw in some red pepper and onion for good measure) and then dropped the "prawns" in for a few minutes. The "prawns" weren't bad - the texture was quite chewy and they had absorbed some of the curry flavour.

Overall, I preferred the "duck" and will be getting this again. The "prawns" I could take or leave, but it was interesting to try. I've still got a few of them left in the pack, and of course, I've still to try the "mutton". Also on the shelf in Wing Yip were vegetarian versions of shrimp, squid and chicken amongst others. A bit weird I know, but if I decide to try them, you can be sure I'll let you know!

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