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Meat turns vegetarian

india Updated: Apr 16, 2010 01:45 IST
Namya Sinha
Namya Sinha
Hindustan Times

For all those who love to eat meat but want to quit, or those who’ve recently turned vegetarian and crave the taste of non-vegetarian dishes, mock meats are a dream come true. Primarily made of wheat gluten, these vegetarian ‘meats’ are exactly like the real thing in texture, taste, and even shape.

Several restaurants in the city have started experimenting with mock meats. The Yum Yum Tree in Friends Colony is one such establishment. Items on its menu include Spicy Mock Duck, vegetarian Peking duck, and spicy vegetarian chicken. The restaurant’s head manager Vikas Sharma says, “Mock meats were introduced for those who cannot eat non-vegetarian food. It is similar to the soya champ and soya wadi we get here, but much healthier.”

While the concept of vegetarian meat is popular abroad, much needs to be done to popularise it in Delhi, says Sohrab Sitaram of 400 Asian Stone Grill Lounge, Saket. The restaurant currently serves mock chicken meat with grilled whole cabbage, cellophane noodles, and black mushroom. “This is not for vegetarians but for people who have turned vegetarian. Lots of people actually ask for it, though much more has to be done to make it popular,” says Sitaram.

Some restaurants prefer not to use the word ‘mock meat’ against their dishes. Saurabh Khanijo, director, Kylin says, “We’ve kept the names simple without calling them vegetarian ‘meat’ because frankly, vegetarians will never eat it if they hear this kind of a name. Minced Nutrela in Thai basil sauce is one mock-meat dish served here. No one can differentiate between this and minced meat.”

However, mock meats are expensive because of import costs. Yasmin Jadwani of Ahimsa Food, a company that supplies items such as vegetarian salami, hot dogs and seekh kebabs, says, “Since we import most of our raw materials, the cost ends up going up, but it’s still cost effective.”