HOW IS VEGAN MEAT MADE?
Nowadays, several environmentally conscious people and animal lovers have started consuming plant-based meat instead of animal meat. As a result, the demand for alternatives to animal meat has considerably increased. So, plant-based meat or vegan meat specifically produced for vegans has made a significant place in the fast-food markets.
No matter if you’ve tasted one or no, you may be curious to know the ingredients that go into the making of vegan meat. Have you ever wondered how vegan meat is made or wanted to make one? If you have, then stay tuned as here we’ll look into the process of making vegan meat.
FEATURES OF ANIMAL MEAT TO BE REPLICATED IN VEGAN MEAT
The main trick in making vegan meat is that people having it shouldn’t be able to make out that they are having vegan meat. It should look, taste, smell, and feel exactly like animal meat.
When we look at animal meat, it is red in color. So, during the manufacturing of vegan meat, its color must be similar to animal meat. The reddish color is crucial for people to actually get a feel that they are having meat. To get that color, some vegan meat-producing companies use beet extracts, whereas some use iron-rich color compounds.
Leghemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein compound present in the roots of legumes is also widely used to make vegan meat. It is a red color pigment that gives vegan meat the desired color of animal meat.
TEXTURE AND CONSISTENCY:
The texture of plant-based meat is one of the most vital features. As we know, animal meat is more elastic and protein present in it gives the meat more flexible and binding properties. Plants, on the other hand, have more firm and inflexible cell walls. They lack binding qualities and crumble easily.
The difference in their texture creates more challenges for manufacturers. To give vegan meat a chewy and elastic texture and a juicy consistency is a task. A lot of research goes into finding good plant protein sources that be molded like animal protein. Even the fat content and quality of both plants and animal varies. To replicate the texture and consistency, soya bean, wheat, pea, potato protein, and coconut oil is used by various producers.
SMELL AND TASTE:
Another important aspect of animal meat is the smell it has and of course the delicious taste that people crave for. Plant-based meat-producing companies cannot afford to compromise on the taste and they have to match it with animal meat. Now taste is a trade secret that companies do not wish to disclose.
Both natural and artificial flavors are used. However, manufacturers prefer to use natural flavors over artificial ones. Flavoring compounds are extracted and added to the plant protein to give it the desired meaty taste and smell. Years of research are required to attain the exact taste of meat, and there is always room for improvement.
PROCESS OF MAKING VEGAN MEAT IN A FACTORY
When vegan meat is manufactured in a factory, different plant ingredients are taken in a definite proportion and combined together. The main ingredients that go into the making of vegan meat are soybeans, potato protein, water, flavored nutrients, cellulose, and coconut oil. Soya bean is the core ingredient that is rich in protein and gives a good chewy texture. Potato protein and water binds everything and cooking them helps in holding moisture. This helps in making vegan meat juicy.
To get the red color of meat, an iron-rich red color compound that is plant hemoglobin or leghemoglobin is used. Fermentation with the help of yeast is the process used to produce this coloring compound. Fermentation makes the compound redder and more flavorful. When mixed with nutrients, this compound gives a salty and meaty flavor too. Next, cellulose is added to the mixture. It also binds everything together. Lastly, coconut oil is added to retain all the flavors that develop in the process of making vegan meat.
Once all the above ingredients are taken in the right ratio, they are mixed in a giant mixer. Then after the mixture is fully ground, bricks or patties of it are made. Finally, vegan meat is frozen at a very low temperature and packaged properly before they hit the market.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MEAT AT HOME?
You can also make vegan meat at your home using wheat flour that is a good source of protein. Wheat flour is used to make seitan that is a great vegan substitute for animal meat. Seitan is wheat gluten that looks and tastes like meat but is fully vegetarian.
To make seitan at home, you need to get wheat flour and add water to it. Then knead the flour to make a dough out of it. The next step is to massage the big wheat dough ball for almost 30 minutes and rinse it in water. This will separate the gluten from the flour. It’s a tedious process and to make cooking easy, now wheat gluten powder is widely available in grocery stores. Alternatively, you can also use soy flour or chickpea flour.
To make vegan meat, take half a cup of flour and add some salt and a cup of water to it. Add more water only if required as you need to make a firm dough. The next step is to knead the dough for about 5 minutes and let it rest for the next 5 minutes. Your vegan meat is ready, cut it into small or medium-sized pieces.
Now make a broth or gravy of your choice. Add salt, garlic, pepper, onion, and other herbs and veggies that you like. Simmer the vegan meat pieces in it and give it a good boil. Your delicious vegan meat is cooked. There are different recipes that you can prepare with seitan or soy and chickpea dough. All of them are nutritious and give you the look, taste, texture, and chewiness of meat.
So, this is how vegan meat is prepared. Now that you know how to make vegan meat, try it, and enjoy delicious recipes with your loved ones. Do let us know your experience below!