Quorn is the vegetarian source of protein you’ve been waiting for. It’s not mock meat, but its not flavourless soy chunks, either. Here’s a little more about this meat-free ingredient, and their collaboration with Arbite.
Allow me to start this post with a confession: I am not one that can go meat-free for long. I am known to stand in the chicken rice queue for a while longer than permissible, so that I have 5 minutes to practically inhale the chicken rice and rush back to work.
Having said this, I recently decided to try a meat-free meal featuring Quorn’s range of alternative proteins. I mean, what’s the harm there? I was quite convinced that it was going to be awful – until it wasn’t and I went in for seconds. See? Read on.
Primarily, we get our protein from meat sources, and vegetables are more high in other nutrients as opposed to protein (there are exceptions to this statement, such as soy and chickpeas. I’ve said it so please don’t come after me with a pitchfork).
On those days when I choose to eat a vegetarian meal, I normally find myself straying more towards actual vegetables. The reason behind this is simple – i prefer to eat vegetables when i want a vegetarian meal.
Quorn is setting about to change the perception of people like me (I know you’re out there) to believe that there are vegetarian forms of protein that can be delicious, healthy and great for the environment, too.
Although a meat eater myself, I know that our environment is in serious danger because of the meat industry. Here’s a teaser: a 2013 Study found that 92% of fresh water was used for farming, with one-third of that amount being used to produce meat. Livestock farming produces 20% – 50% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation for farmland procurement also adds on to this statistic, making the the planet an unhappy place. In sharp contrast, vegetables emit a MUCH smaller volume of greenhouse gases.
Quorn, as a meat-free protein source, produces 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions than meat options; and has a water footprint ten times smaller than beef which typically requires 15,000 – 20,000 litres of water per kilogram (YIKES).
Now we get to the part that matters the most (not saying that the environment doesn’t; but this IS a food blog, so bwm): TASTE. I went to Arbite for a tasting, as they are doing a special menu in collaboration with Quorn available daily except Wednesdays. While sharing mutual love for honest and sustainable food consumption with Quorn, Chef Marc of Arbite also recognises the versatility and tasty quality of Quorn products, which leave no unpleasant aftertaste unlike other meat-free products in the market.
This could be because of the main ingredient in Quorn products: mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is procured from a type of fungi grown on soil, much like its cousins shiitake and truffle. Once harvested, the fungi is then fermented which converts the carbohydrate into a protein. This process also gives it the texture of meat, which can then be used in cooking.
Fermentation also changes the chemical components of the fungi, making the end product nutritious. Mycoprotein contains high amounts of protein and fibre, essential amino acids and can even help regulate hunger and appetite. It is also completely void of cholesterol, and can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, benefitting the heart in the long run.
The Quorn Menu @ Arbite
My tasting at Arbite helped refresh my perspective on vegetarian protein options. To start with, I recommend the pop quorn – addictive little ‘nuggets’ of Quorn chunks deep-fried in a tempura batter till crisp, then coated with a honey-butter-marmite sauce.
After this, ease into the Hainanese Fillet Rice Bowl, Chef Marc’s take on the classic local favourite – Chicken Rice – with Quorn Fillets. Not everyone will be able to recreate the delicious texture of the fillets at home, as they are sous-vide for three hours, but everyone will be able to relate to the rich and wholesome flavours of the dish that hit home.
The Rendang Mac & Cheese is quite popular at Arbite, I am told. Chef Marc put a Quorn twist to this signature, using the Quorn Swedish Style Balls as feature in the dish. The real takeaway from this tasting way how versatile the Quorn ingredients were, and how much I didn’t even feel like I was eating a meat-free meal – that’s makes it easier for those who are wondering HOW they will ever be able to go meat free, I hope.
Going meatless is not just for the sake of animal rights, but it can also do some good for our environment. Think how much of an impact it will have if each of us decided to take 1 meat free meal a week?
Of course, my fascination with Quorn does not end there. I am working on a few recipes and will share them with you as soon as they are ready, next month. Or should I say, next year? I try to be funny…
Watch this space for recipes.