I prepared a soya chunks stew a couple of nights ago with the intention of bringing it to the office for lunch. Recently, my colleague Andrea transitioned from being a vegetarian to embracing a vegan lifestyle. He often struggles with finding suitable lunch options, so I thought a soy stew would be an excellent choice for both of us.
I prepared the stew with minimal confidence, anticipating it might turn out less than appealing, as raw dehydrated soy stew isn’t exactly known for its aesthetic charm – it actually resembles dog food, to be honest! Surprisingly, when I microwaved the Tupperware container in the office kitchen, my colleagues were immediately captivated by the delightful aroma wafting from the dish and eagerly awaited the chance to sample this peculiar vegetarian fare.
I would not recommend a soya chunks stew to anyone who normally can eat meat, because it is objectively a strange food: the raw morsels have a really unappealing odor which might deter you from even trying to prepare the dish, and the texture of the finished product is strangely spongy, not what you would expect from a stew. I must say, however, that everyone loved the dish, even the most unrepentant carnivores like my friend Manuel, so here it is. Just don’t judge it by comparing it to actual meat, because clearly, the comparison is unfair. If your conscience allows you to eat beef you should take advantage of it, but if you really want to experience the thrill of spongy, chunky soya stew, do it with my recipe, which is at least simple and flavorful.
Rosemary and tomato soya chunks stew
- 500 g tomato purée (or chopped canned tomatoes)
- 200 g dehadrated soya chunks
- 2 large potatoes, cubed
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp dried powdered rosemary (or a nice sprig of fresh)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Rehydrate the soya chunks by placing them into a bowl of warm water and letting them soak for 30 minutes. During this time, consciously divert your thoughts from the dog-food-like appearance of soya chunks, and begin preparing the sauce for the stew.200 g dehadrated soya chunks
- In a non-stick pan, combine onion, garlic, and olive oil, sautéing the mixture on medium heat. Once the onion has softened and turned clear, add tomato purée, potatoes, rosemary, a pinch of salt, and a cup of water, and let simmer for about 15 minutes.500 g tomato purée (or chopped canned tomatoes), 2 large potatoes, cubed, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 onion, thinly sliced, 1 tbsp dried powdered rosemary (or a nice sprig of fresh), 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Grab the rehydrated soya chunks, give them a gentle squeeze, and add them to the pan, adding more rosemary if the sauce is not flavorful enough. Rosemary plays a crucial role in elevating the dish, so do not hesitate to use it generously, especially if you have powdered dried rosemary on hand.
- Some might argue that a simple stir at this point suffices to deem the mission accomplished. However, I maintain that the soya. chunks should simmer in the sauce a bit longer to eventually soak up some flavor. Periodically, add a little water to the pot to prevent the sauce from drying out too much, and let the soya chunks cook for at least half an hour.
- Once the potatoes reach perfect tenderness and the soya stew has absorbed some of the sauce, taste and adjust the salt if necessary.