Soya wadi manchurian and collard greens stir-fried with curry.

Indo-Chinese cuisine courtesy of the Hakka Chinese community in Kolkata.  Which may be the only cuisine in the world that combines soy sauce with cheese.  Anyway, I discovered this dish not by researching the Indo-Chinese, but by looking at the shelves of Indian grocery stores, noticing “soya wadi”, and wondering “What on earth are those?”

They’re basically large chunks of textured vegetable protein.  And honestly, they’re a minor revelation – if you’re into substituting tofu for meat in things like flavorful curries, stews, and stir-fries, I’d say it’s time to stop that and use these guys instead.  Enjoy tofu for its own specific texture if you like, but if you’re looking for something that soaks of sauce and has something like the mouthfeel and protein content of meat, this is a far more convincing substitute, and much cheaper than branded meat replacements.  The texture might be a bit distracting in more lightly flavored dishes, though.

The stir-fried collard greens with curry powder may or may not be an authentic Indo-Chinese dish – it was basically a guess based on the Wikipedia article.  It was good though!

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