Meat analog. Is there any less appetizing way to describe vegan meat? Just using the word "meat" doesn't seem right either, given that our diets are meat-free. I propose we come up with another name- an entirely new word, perhaps. Something that sounds yummy, and not like something a replicator on the Starship Enterprise would produce. Any suggestions?
How about saplatein?
Etymology: from the root words, satisfying, plant, and protein
Or maybe protegan?
Etymology: from the root words, protein and vegan
Anyway, it's not meat that I crave- it's the texture. Chewy, dense, tender, and fibrous... yes, fibrous. If you look closely at any good faux chicken or beef on the market, you will notice... fibers. Without them, the wheat gluten and soy protein only offer a good chewy texture, but no fibrous texture. On the ingredients labels of faux meats (another term I really hate) from Taiwan, I've seen everything from mushroom and pea fiber to ambiguous "vegetable fiber." The mouth feel of these saplateins (hey, maybe it'll catch on!) is definitely different than the homemade seitan I'm used to- much more like real meat. SO... I thought I'd experiment a little.
Scouring online, I found that there are really no sources of "vegetable fiber" on the market for this type of use. So then I got to thinking about vegetables that are naturally tough to chew and fibrous, even when cooked. One of my first thoughts was celery. It's very fibrous as well as inexpensive... nice!
Although this is in no way just like ham, it turned out delicious, and with great texture ( I couldn't stop eating it). If you look closely, you can see the little strands of celery poking out. It's a subtle textural thing, and I think I will experiment with other types of fiber in future batches too. Corn, asparagus, and peas come to mind.
Vegan Ham Roast (Serves 4-6 people)
1 1/2 C. celery (roughly chopped into 1/2" pieces)
1 C. onion (also roughly chopped)
pinch of salt for saute
7 oz. firm tofu (1/2 of a 14oz. block)
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 tsp. liquid smoke
3 T. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
2/3 C. nutritional yeast flakes
3/4 tsp. salt
2 C. vital wheat gluten
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
2 T. maple syrup
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1) Saute celery and onions in a dry non-stick pan at medium-high heat with a sprinkling of salt. This will help get most of the moisture out of the vegetables, leaving the fibers more condensed. Do not add any oil or water. Stir often- if it starts to brown too much, turn down the heat. When the onions are translucent and very little steam is coming out, turn off heat and set aside.
2) In a food processor, mix all other ingredients except for the wheat gluten and olive oil, until smooth. 3) Add the celery and onions to the food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are finely minced. You don't want it too chunky, otherwise it'll be more like meatloaf (the resulting mixture looks like creamy oatmeal).
4) Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the vital wheat gluten. Mix until fully combined, then knead for a few minutes.
5) Form the soft dough onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Fold up the sides snugly, but not extremely tight, as it will expand a little while cooking.
6) Pressure cook on a rack above water for 30 minutes, up to an hour if steaming.
7) Transfer the roast to a casserole dish or pan, and open the foil. Cut a shallow criss-cross pattern on top with a sharp knife. Brush on a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil, and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
8) Whisk together the Maple Glaze with a fork. Brush generously onto roast and bake for another 15-20 minutes until caramelized.
9) It will be done when it's no longer soft and bounces back to the touch.
Skin of 1-2 yams (I picked longer ones) to make about two dozen strips
1 C. water
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. your favorite grilling herbs (thyme, black pepper, lemon zest, etc.)
1/4 C. nutritional yeast flakes
Peel the yams with a good vegetable peeler to make the strips. Save the yams for another dish.
Mix the marinade in an appropriate container. Lay strips to soak for about an hour (or longer).
Heat oil to fry, then pat strips gently with a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Fry until golden and crisp, then drain to remove excess oil.