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Home-made veggie meat?

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I would like to use a home-made subsitute for meat in dishes or sauces which traditionally have some. I live in Western Europe and have access to a variety of industrially-made vegetarian steaks but they are often dry and too specifically flavoured.

In the end I would like something with roughly the appearance and cooking capacity of ground beef. I can use dairy products or eggs if needed.

I would use it as patty in burgers, in small pieces in sauces, or just stir-fried.

Bonus if I can freeze it!

How could I make such a substiture?

Why should this post be closed?

3 comments

I've gone had better results just replacing meat with another food - dal instead of chicken in curry, a slice of fried eggplant or mushroom and cheese instead of a burger. Meat substitutes always seem to fall short of recreating the taste and texture I expect, but a fundamentally different food can be enjoyed on its own merits. Sigma 28 days ago

@Sigma I've had success with these strategies as well (and with cheese, so much cheese). Basically, I'm curious about making veggie meat that can pass off as real meat to friends and family ― showing them there's a nice alternative to cheap supermarket ground beef. Kyll 27 days ago

Sadly, I've never been able to achieve anything wholly satisfactory. My mom had a few years where she went low/no meat, and my dad is a huge believer in always having meat on the table - cooking for both was challenging! My general rule was to have multiple alternatives (not substitutes) available. I've found Asian-inspired menus lend themselves particularly well to this format. Sigma 26 days ago

1 answer

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The problem with meat substitutes is that they are substitutes. Without chemical help, it's nearly impossible to achieve a flavour in meat substitutes which is comparable to meat. However, putting this aside, there are viable options which look and have a similar structure like meat.

One thing I have seen used often are soya granules. By putting them together with water (some instructions), they slightly expand and mesh with each other which results in a structure that is comparable to ground beef / minced meat. Advantages are, among others, the relatively low price and a preparation time comparable to meat.

An exotic alternative is jackfruit which looks like pulled pork if prepared properly. In the department of fruit substitutes, there also is coconut pulp which has a similar structure to meat.

On the other side where the vegetables reside, eggplants and cauliflower can be used. The first one has a weak natural flavour which can be easily changed to one's desire. The second one can mimic meat quite well (see a recipe).

You could also use nuts. By grinding them into a fine powder, adding eggs and a binding ingredient of your choosing (flour, steeped bread bits, soya flour / granules, etc.), you can make patties and fry them regularly in a pan.

A lot of inspiration can be taken of the corresponding Wikipedia article listing possible meat substitutes, however not all listed are a good visual substitute in terms of texture and structure. (And as soon as it's possible, it might be worth taking a look at cultured meat.)

Summarising, there are a lot of good alternatives for meat. You should just bear in mind that right now it's not really possible to perfectly imitate the flavour of meat with natural means - but if this isn't your goal, then don't feel restricted and just cook away.

On a side note, I also have good experiences with deep-frying possible meat substitutes. By forming patties out of cheese and deep-frying them, you have a patty form with the extra that the cheese inside is very creamy due to the high heat of the deep-fryer. (In my experience, as soon as something is deep-fried and has this look, most people can ignore the fact it's a substitute and are eager to dig in.)

3 comments

"(In my experience, as soon as something is deep-fried and has this look, most people can ignore the fact it's a substitute and are eager to dig in.)" Yes I can relate :x Kyll 27 days ago

I know about the freezing capacity of veggies and nuts, do you have any idea about soya? Kyll 27 days ago

I don't know why it shouldn't work. You should expect it to be a bit mushy after thawing though but this is something that most frozen meals show. The granules as such don't need to be frozen, they can be stored at room temperature for a long term, see more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textured_vegetable_protein Zerotime 27 days ago

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