One of the undertakings I enjoy most since my changeover to a vegan way of life is researching and testing my favourite recipes and converting them to plant-based meals.
Altering meat-based recipes has been the most challenging, since substituting red meat, chicken and fish with soya has taken time to tweak and perfect due to its distinct texture, cooking method and flavouring.
Soya or soybean is a legume which has Asian origin and is mostly used as a meat replacement by vegetarians and vegans. It is the best source of plant-based protein and traditional uses include soya milk from which Tofu and Tofu skin derive. Other fermented soya foods include Tempeh, Miso, and fermented bean paste.
Soya chunks, which this recipe uses, is made using Soya flour from which the oil or fat has been removed leaving the chunks with a rough texture when left to dry. The dehydrated soya is easily hydrated by soaking in water or gravy for an hour or more, depending on the quantity.
During my pre-vegan days, one of my favourite salads was a Coronation Chicken Salad which essentially is sweet, curried chicken eaten either hot or cold and enjoyed in a wrap or on crispy sour dough bread. As soon as I learnt to cook with soya, the first recipe that I converted to plant-based was naturally the Chicken Coronation Salad, which I have renamed to Curried Soya Salad.
For this recipe you will need:
2 cups of Soya Chunks (soaked for 2 hours in water)
30ml olive oil
10ml medium strength curry powder
60ml seedless raisins
30ml slivered almonds (reserve for last)
1 stick celery, sliced (reserve for last)
125ml original chutney
1 cup Hellman’s Vegan mayonnaise (reserve for last)
Salt and pepper (seasoning)
Drain excess water from soya by squeezing handfuls of chunks and placing in a separate dish.
On medium heat, add the olive oil and onions to a pot and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the soya chunks, cumin, coriander, curry power, seasoning, chutney and raisins. Stir together and sauté for a further 5 minutes. If the mixture becomes too sticky, add a half cup of water and stir through. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Add the sliced celery, almonds and mayonnaise and place in a serving bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with wraps, crispy ciabatta or sour dough bread.