There’s a large selection of vegetarian meat available in local supermarkets and shops these days. For example, the Beyond Burger – developed in the US and backed by prominent investors such as Bill Gates – which is currently conquering the world.
And in Switzerland, work is underway to develop meat substitute products. Planted Foods Ltd is well ahead of the game in this respect. This ETH spin-off has come up trumps by developing vegan “chicken” made from peas. Their success is doubtless at least partly due to the fact that its only ingredients are pea protein, pea fibre, water and rapeseed oil. And because its texture is very similar to that of chicken.
But when it is cooked, the imitation chicken does of course respond differently compared with regular chicken. So we asked Virginia Beljean from Planted what dos and don’ts there are when using meat substitutes.
Always marinate it: Either simply with oil and seasoning or using a proper marinade, regardless of whether you’re going to grill or fry the planted.chicken. “planted.chicken absorbs the flavour of the seasoning very well – and the marinade prevents it from drying out, just as it would with chicken,” explains Virginia Beljean.
Ideally sear it: According to Beljean, the plant-based product will taste best if you sear it in vegetable oil to give it a crispy, caramelized coating. However, “planted.chicken” is also tasty when eaten raw and well marinated in a salad, and is perfectly safe to be consumed in this way.
Don’t cook it in a sauce for too long: If planted.chicken is cooked for too long in liquid, there is a risk that the fibres will become soft. “If you’re making a curry, for example, it’s best to fry the chunks separately and add them at the end,” advises Beljean.
This meat substitute can be ordered directly from the manufacturer: www.planted.ch