April 27, 2009

Soya Wadi

Today's exotic ingredient is Soya Wadi. Wadi are chunks of TVP, or textured vegetable protein. Honestly, they look like dog food in their dried state, but when cooked they look like, uh, wet dog food. But don't let their appearance fool you; they absorb whatever flavor the cooking broth offers, and they take on a texture reminiscent of meatballs or chunks of meat. This makes them perfect for stews and stir fries.

Wadi is popular in Northern Indian cuisine, which explains why I have only found these in Indian markets. But as always, Amazon comes through, and you can order some here: Textured Vegetable Protein Chunks, 1 lb.

They may be strange and hard to find, but they are yet another good source of protein for vegetarians, and they can be a remarkable meat substitute when refactoring old recipes to meatless versions.

I find cooking them at high pressure for 8-10 minutes in a pressure cooker with a flavored broth to be the best way to cook them. Otherwise, you will have to simmer them in a pot for 15 minutes or so. I believe they can also be thrown into a crock pot, but I have no experience with cooking them that way.

Despite wadi's Indian character, I use them in all sorts of cooking. Today, I will present them in a Thai dish. I generally like Thai food, but many dishes contain meat and/or fish sauce. Therefore, I have to make many substitutions to get them "Evolved". Soya wadi makes a good substitute for pork, which was the original centerpiece of this dish.

Coconut Curried Wadi and Mango

To prepare the soya wadi, boil or pressure cook 1 cup of soya wadi in a cup of beef or chicken broth for 10 minutes.


1 c prepared soya wadi
1 T oil
1 t curry powder
1 c snow peas
1 t red curry paste
1/3 c coconut milk
1 mango, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
2 T shredded coconut


1. Put the wadi into a bowl and sprinkle the curry over it and blend well.

2. In another bowl, mix the coconut milk and red curry paste.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the wadi and snow peas and stir fry for 3 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk mixture to the pan and simmer. Stir in mango and cook for another minute.

5. Serve over hot rice, and sprinkle with the shredded coconut.

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