We've christened the Thursdays in MoFo Funny Thursdays. The day where we’ll be trying a whole variety of mock meats. Well four anyway. A lot of people ask (or rather tell) about mock meats. Surely vegetarian food should be about veggies rather than over processed blah blah pretending to be blah blah.
I’m not one of those people. I know that especially non-veggies aren’t going to be converted to my views on this but I think mock meat is damn useful. It can give people a taste of their childhood, substitutes easily so you don’t feel left out and, most importantly for me, it’s just fun to try new things and experiment. Today's dish combines all of those things.
Zhejiang Mein is, and I'm no great authority so I'm stealing this knowledge from the introduction to the recipe, a Taiwanese dish. It's name means 'mixed well sauce noodle'. And it was absolutely one of my favourite dishes in my last year of uni. I made it for myself a lot. I even made it for a boyfriend. The intense chilli bean sauce gives it a great depth of flavour and the meat makes a meal out noodles and broth.
But you know what? Meat sucks. I don't want beef. I have no desire to eat a cow. So after a couple of failed attempts with Quorn which acted like a sponge and then gave me a stomach ache (and it isn't even vegan) I thought I'd throw in the towel on Zhejiang Mein.
Then I saw the new Linda McCartney veg mince which didn't give me a stomach ache, is suitable for vegans, didn't soak up vast amounts of water and had both a decent taste and texture. I substituted 100g of it for the minced beef in the original recipe from China Modern. Just make sure you 'brown' it first to help seal it a bit and replace that chicken stock with veg stock and it's perfect.