Cooking with Soybean Granules

‚When in doubt, go make some food‘ has been my motto for decades. Writing this, I realize, makes me sound ancient, which is probably a matter of perspective. I started cooking when I was around 15-16. It was after my dad had passed away, my mom was working full time, and in the afternoons, I’d come home to an empty apartment, starving. Note to the millenials: there were no school cafeterias, back then. So I’d make pasta, most of the time, because there were fixings for that in the cupboard.) Over the years, my skills have expanded. I had a lot of practice, and also I always enjoyed making food, for myself and for others. Cooking kept me sane and reasonably well nourished, and I’m still curious to try out new things.

My daughter’s request for eating less beef for environmental reasons made me consider alternatives for ground beef, because this family eats quite a bit of that (meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna, chili con carne, tacos … it’s a staple, in this house.) So I did some research and found this at the organic food store:IMG_4261On the package, it said it was good for all the above mentioned recipes, so I decided I’d try out – well, not meat, but fried soy mince balls. In the instructions, I was advised to soak the dry soy granules in 3 times the amount of hot water or broth for 10 minutes before use. Well, I did, and it turned out a sad and soggy mess. Even though I strained it and pressed the hot water out as best I could, it was still very wet. It did _not_ look appealing, but then again, neither does ground meat, so I figured I’d season it the way I would meat balls (a bit more spicy perhaps) and see where it took us. I mean, I didn’t expect great things in terms of flavor from such an extremely processed food. It looks like it will taste bland, right?

No Meat Soy Balls

1 cup soy crumbs

2 shallots

1 clove garlic

5 sage leaves

2 sprigs parsley

1/2 TSP Oregano (dry)

1/2 TSP thyme (dry)

1/2 TSP dill (dry)

1/4 TSP cinnamon

1/4 TSP paprika

1 TSP mustard

1 TSP Ajvar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

Like I always do, I coarsely chopped the shallots, garlic and herbs, added spices, condiments and eggs, and then blitzed the whole thing – it’s the only way to make my daughter eat meatballs, for there can be no discernible pieces of onion, herbs or the likes in there. It’s just the way she rolls.

Then, I added the soaked and drained-squeezed soy crumbs, mixed everything with a fork, and set aside for a couple minutes. After which I added half a cup of _dry_ soy crumbs. Still too moist, so I added 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup buckwheat. Annoyingly, it was still too moist to make decently shaped patties. So I poured dry breadcrumbs on a plate, took portions out of the mixing bowl by the spoonful and rolled those in the breadcrumbs. Then I fried the patties in oil. And that worked:

IMG_4257After a couple minutes browning from both sides, I took them out, let them drain on kitchen paper, and tried one:IMG_4258Then I jogged over to my vegetarian bestie with a sample, and got both her approval and the request for the recipe, which I thought I’d write up real quick before I forget what went in there.IMG_4260Verdict: The non-meat balls turned out to be tasty. My friend said they reminded her of falafel (she’s from the Middle East), I thought they tasted like meatballs, and my daughter said she had not expected them to be edible, but was pleasantly surprised. High praise, right?

So, that was the first adventure with soybean granules. I’ll research non-meat ragú next.

Have a lovely week, everybody.

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