Ever imagined eating a chicken tikka or a mutton curry in vegetarian avatars. This eatery in Gurgaon has introduced a spread of chicken and mutton dishes with vegetarian ingredients.
When Rajiv Wadhwa dreamt of opening his restaurant, he wanted to offer dishes that were not attempted before. Though he introduced a spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, the pandemic taught him an important lesson. He realised that more than the flavour, people were looking healthy and plant-based alternatives in their food.
“Vegetarianism was becoming increasingly popular at that time,” he says.
Keeping the market trends in mind, he thought of introducing mocks meats that are made from plant-based ingredients. For his venture, he replaced chicken and mutton with soya. His eatery, Soya Moya Chaap, specialises in serving dishes made from soya. The dishes under this category have the same taste as that of a mutton and chicken preparation.
Soya has always been used a perfect replacement for chicken. Its soft and chewy texture brings it closest to any meat. In India, people refrain from eating meat, due to health-related reasons and their religious or cultural beliefs. Understanding this, chefs at Soya Moya Chaap replicate the flavours and textures of chicken and meat in dishes categorised under the mock meat category.
“Typically, a dish is prepared in the same manner as a chicken or a mutton-based dish is prepared. Our chefs even use the same spices in marination in both the cases. The only difference is that a vegetarian chicken and mutton dish is made from soya. There is no change in the ingredients or spices that are used in the marination of soya or chicken. If we use mayonnaise, we opt for vegetarian mayonnaise,” he says.
After the marination, soya pieces are roasted in a tandoor. Sometimes, to enhance the taste of curries, distinct spices are added to soya-based meats. This is one of the reasons that mock meats not only draw interest from vegetarians but also meat eaters, who are curious to understand their flavours and preparation.
For instance, the flavour and texture of chicken achari tikka is replicated in soya achari tikka and that of chicken/mutton curry is replicated in soya-based chicken and mutton curry, which tastes just like a chicken/mutton.
“Since we use the same spices in a tandoori preparation, the chicken-like taste comes from the marination. However, in a soya-based chicken and mutton curry, we add a few additional spices to replicate the flavour of chicken in soya-based dishes and enhance its taste, making them flavourful,” he clarifies.
Soya Moya Chaap has more than 25 dishes under its mock meat category. It also serves other non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. However, in the kitchen, chefs ensure refrain from using the same vessels for a vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparation.
They follow protocols while preparing the vegetarian version of a chicken or mutton. Rajiv explains that separate counters are used for making meat and mock meats so that preparation is devoid of the use of eggs and meat.
With so much variation, the brand also wants to introduce fish using plant-based ingredients. However, chefs are still exploring the perfect ingredient that can replicate the texture and flavours of fish in the vegetarian format. “In North India, people like relishing Amritsari fish. However, we want to have vegetarian fish dishes in Bengali and south Indian flavours. Since we have not mastered in these dishes, we are not serving them. But we are looking for ingredients that can replicate the flavour of fish in a vegetarian option,” he shares.
While Rajiv's team decides the new addition in the mock meat category, do try the ones already available in the eatery's mock meat. Let us know if you could find their mock meat any different from the real chicken or mutton.