Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 14, 2007: Mexican mock meat (and more!)

This is a hodge-podge of a Mexican-inspired meal that evolved from a number of ingredients that Michael and I have picked up over the last few months. Remember the crazy-rich dulce de leche I bought from Casa Iberica a while ago? On the same visit I found a little tetra-pack of tomatillo broth, while Michael got keen on dried black beans. Michael transformed those little black pellets into the refried bean mush above, and I set to work on a taco thing. The broth was more like a thick sauce, so it became the main binding for our taco filling. Substance and spice came from some TVP mince, finely chopped onion and the Spanish Creole Adobo spice mix we bought at the Food & Wine Festival (containing "spices including cumin, smoked and sweet paprikas, chilli, garlic"). This would have been a pretty tasty taco if we'd stopped there, but the wow! ingredient for me was the Old Time Bakery organic corn tortillas we got from Macro Wholefoods in Richmond. These have a wholesome and filling taste and texture that leaves the processed brands at Safeway for dead. Now I want a packet of these preservative-free wonders in my pantry at all times! The meal was completed with a dollop of the salsa I bought at the Allergy Block Open Day, and a handful of salad. If you're interested in recreating any of this at home, here's a haphazard guide:

Re-fried black beans
Soak the dried beans in water for 2-4 hours. Drain, then simmer in fresh water for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Drain again, then follow Michael's previous recipe for refried beans.

Rehydrate a cup of dried TVP mince in a cup of hot water and leave for about 10 minutes. Finely chop a small onion, grate about a cup of cheese and prepare a side salad while you wait. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a frypan, then add the onion and fry for a few minutes, until soft. Add the TVP and stir it around to combine it with the onion and heat it through. Add a couple of teaspoons of taco spice mix and stir to coat the mincy mix in flavour. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of broth and simmer for 5 minutes.

Briefly heat some tortillas in a dry frypan or a microwave to soften them. Spoon a layer of the taco mince on half of the tortilla and top with grated cheese. Fold over and serve with a side salad and salsa.


  1. Never tasted a tomatillo. What's it like?

  2. To be honest, the broth was pretty salty so not the greatest way to get my first taste of tomatillo! It was a little bit like a tomato, less acidic and "greener" (if green has a taste!). I'm still keen to try a fresh one, but probably won't buy the broth again - any uniqueness of flavour got lost in the mix.

  3. when i was vegetarian some years ago (it lasted only two years), i decided that all meat was to be avoided--mock and otherwise. until today, i don't quite understand the point of mock meat.


  4. Hey solvent_d, I think a person's reasons for being vegetarian can affect their opinion of mock meat. I'm vego for ethical reasons (inhumane treatment and environmental impact) and I still liked the taste of meat when I quit it. I have fond memories of various meat-based dishes from my childhood and any mock meat I eat is usually a variation on them. This way I can have my nostalgia and eat it too!

    There are plenty of reasons why a vego might object to mock meats. The main ones I can think of are:
    - they might not like the taste/texture of meat;
    - they might believe that all meat-eating is wrong and disapprove of imitations of meat;
    - they might be vego for health reasons, and mock meat is fairly processed and salty.

    I think it's pretty harmless as an occasional food, but I can understand why it weirds a lot of other people out. :-)

  5. I love mock-meat...sorry I'm a bit weird! :)

    I'd also be keen to try out some tomatillo although isn't that a type of big green tomato? Is it anything like a pepino? We used to have a vine growing in our backyard when I was a kid and it tasted very tomato-ey!

  6. Hi M's Nemesis! I just had a look at wikipedia - tomatillos, green tomatoes and pepinos are all different species but they come from the same family Solanaceae (aka nightshade). So we should track them down and taste 'em all, I reckon. :-)

  7. I love the mock meat! I always use Vege-Mince in Tacos with all the extra trimmings because I don't like the taste of minced beef - this is a great recipe!
    BTW, it looks like blogger have turned off the ability to leave comments on your newest two posts. They did the same for me, you can turn it back on, by turning to the relevent edit post page.

  8. Hi Freya and/or Paul! Thanks for stopping by, and for pointing out the commenting problem - hopefully it's all fixed now, but we'll keep an eye on it. :-)

  9. Hello!
    Just wanted to ask where to buy TVP in Melbourne?
    In Finland, where I come from, it's sold in all supermarkets but here I haven't seen it anywhere.
    I would be more than happy to hear some tips where to start my TVP-hunt. :)

  10. Hi Eluna!

    I usually buy Planet Organic brand vegetarian mince from my local Safeway supermarket, in the health food aisle. They used to sell Sanitarium brand TVP but I haven't seen it for 6-12 months. :-/

    I have also bought Lotus brand TVP from Allergy Block. I think it might also be sold at Organic Wholefoods stores. Otherwise, keep hunting at other health food and organic-friendly shops. Good luck! :-)