Most people are already tired of arguments about eating meat for food. Vegetarians claim that killing animals for food is morally wrong and unacceptable. Meat-eaters counter that with an argument saying killing animals for food is nature’s design. Okay, let us put that debate to rest and ask another new question – “Why do people eat meat?”
Only people who eat meat really knows what is missing in vegetarian food’s taste, texture and necessary fats. But apart from the moral argument, there is one another strong reason to avoid meat – “Ecological Cost”. That is, amount of water required to produce meat is higher than amount of water required to produce vegetables. These are the main reasons for food researchers to develop what is called “imitation meat” or “vegetarian meat”.
But, being a foodie, I would love to create an “imitation recipe” instead of using “imitation meat” as the ingredient. But, vegetables cannot take all the flavours that a chicken meat can take. You cannot add ginger-garlic paste to most of the vegetables as you add for chicken or other meats. Chicken can easily take strong flavours like chillies, black pepper, ginger, garlic, Indian spices and it can also go with mild flavours like butter, English herbs (Thyme etc.,), curd etc., Paneer is the only closest vegetarian ingredient which has texture, fat close to chicken and take many flavours like Chicken. So, most of the recipes made with chicken can be replaced with Paneer.
There are many imitation recipe other than using Paneer also. Briyani made with mushrooms have taste and smell closer to Mutton Briyani. Gobi-65 made of cauliflower has flavours close to Chicken-65. There is even a recipe for vegetarian omelette and vegetarian ‘meat balls’. Soya chunks can be used to make ‘meat ball’ recipe which tastes closer to Mutton. This dish can be called in Tamil as Soya Kola Urundai.
Surprisingly there are totally different recipes which tastes similar to non-vegetarian food. They are not ‘imitation recipes’. Senaikkilangu Thuruval is what we call in Tamil. This dish is made up of Yam and it tastes close to a chicken dish while being healthy as well. There is one another unique vegetarian recipe made of an unusual ingredient – unripened jackfruit or breadfruit. Name of the dish in Tamil is Karipala Masala. And, there is an unexpectedly simple vegetarian recipe taking around 5 minutes to cook and it has taste closer to Goat Leg Soup / Curry. Simply dry roasting popped lotus seeds and then pan roasting them with ghee, salt, turmeric and black pepper gives this unique taste. It is called as Makhana in India.
No one should get addicted to anything. So, if you’re addicted to meat, try these unique and tasty vegetarian dishes and let us know your comments. Also, please comment below if we missed to add anything in this list.