January 24, 2012

Soy Protein (TVP) Tacos

Nutrela (TVP) Tacos
Growing up in India, I remember a period of time in the middle of the 80s decade when India experienced a major drought. Fresh vegetables and milk products were rare. However, the country managed to get along just fine with very few food imports because of increased grain & legume production. I don't know much about agriculture - so don't know if it was the drought resistant varieties, or if grains/legumes in general require less water to grow. One crop that flourished during that time was soybean.

I vividly remember soy milk being more readily available than cow's milk. And the other absolutely wonderful thing that came out of it ... Soy Protein - "Nutrela" became a family name and a synonym for Soy protein, or Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), as it is called in the US. I remember loving it in granulated, and chunk form. Mom used to make "Nutrela Pilaf" and "Nutrela Curry" and "Nutrela Sabzi" ... we had it so many different ways. Once I moved away from home I somehow forgot about it completely. I saw it in an Indian store about 2 weeks ago and picked up a pack, just for the sake of nostalgia. Then, as I was looking at one my current favorite websites for vegan/vegetarian recipes/advice (Happy Herbivore) - I saw a picture of Chickpea Tacos, and right next to the cp tacos, I saw something that looked a lot like my old favorite. For those of you who don't have the luxury of an Indian food store close by, Nutrela is actually available online at Amazon.com and other brands of TVP can be found in most health-food stores, and also some grocery stores (Kroger, Buehler's, Trader Joe's etc).

I wrote to Lindsay, the author, and she confirmed that those were "TVP Beef Tacos" included in one of her cookbooks "The Happy Herbivore Cookbook"! The recipe is copyrighted, I'm sure, so I can't post it here. Buy the cookbook. It is totally worth it!! I thought these tacos were an amazing combination of my childhood and current tastes. Why anyone would eat beef tacos, when they can eat these, is absolutely beyond me! :)

Nik's Reaction: None :( !! We stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way home. He wanted (desperately) to go to the bookstore and was starving when we got home. He ate his very carnivorous meal (grilled chicken tacos) before I even had the onion diced.

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