Sunday, September 18, 2016

Soya Chunks

Or dried dog food as I call it.....and as it looks.

I had seen this in many of the grocery stores here in the southern end of the islands.  It is usually on the bottom shelf in a variety of sizes, shapes, flavored vs unflavored and at least 3 different brands.  Finally I asked fellow cruising chick Sarah "Have you ever used that stuff?"  "Oh yeah.  Bryn loves it.  I used it in Bolognes sauce and such and to stretch meat and cut back on fat."  Hum?

Several weeks later I bought a bag of soy chunks (dog food) - unflavored.  Several weeks after that I decided to give them a try as we were making spaghetti sauce.  The instructions said something to the effect of soaking the soy bits in water, broth, or such to reconstitute them - 30 mins.  Rut -row, I hadn't counted on that and we are hungry now.  Hum?  Okay, I'll soak them for 30 mins.  20 mins later I called it good enough and tossed them in.  They were so so in my opinion.  Tom thought they were fine.  They really didn't have much flavor.  I know "Unflavored" duh!  But I thought the soy dog food would take on the favor of the tomato sauce.  The texture was spongy for those that reached full reconstitution level and ever so slightly crunchy for those that didn't - none seemed to have that "meat" feel in my mouth.  Hum?  Tom decided to gave the soy bits a try on one of his boat made pizza's. He bought a flavored dog chow type.  He soaked them for a good, long time.  It was better. 

I messaged Sarah a few days later asking for guidance on the reconstitution part.  "Oh, I don't soak them.  I chuck them in with whatever while cooking it up."  Ah ha.  Good news as I am not always a meal planner.  "Chuck them in" is my kind of flexibility.  Many weeks later we were trying to use up the last of the provisions towards the end of the season, I had another go at using the soy dog food bits.  This time I simply "chucked" them into the pressure cooker dry along with all the ingredients.  I used broth as well as some other seasonings to flavor the whole thing up.  I actually forget what I was making.  I think it was a stew of some sort.  Bingo!  The soy bits had the right texture and blended well with the rest of the dish.

We still had some left at the end of the season so we gave them to our veg head friends on sv Kelly Nicole.  They had not yet seen or tried these soy doggie bits but were willing to give it a go.  Flash forward to last week - I have been provisioning for season 4 (can you believe it) and I bought another bag of unflavored soy dog nuggets to supplement.  I made a big pan of bolognese with real ground beef, soy chunks and chickpeas.  The soy doggy bits and chickpeas really stretched the sauce and we were able to get 3 meals out of it!  Additionally, it all tasted good.  I am not sure I am really to go full soy dog food on it's own but it has given us options.