Mumbai: In one way, India is not new to the idea of plant-protein at all. Across the country, we eat what is commonly known as ‘dal chawal’ or lentils with rice. Lentils can extend to beans or even peas – together known as legumes.
Rice or wheat or millet or any other grain is an excellent complement to legumes in that it functions as a complete protein providing all essential amino acids.
So this simple combination, which can be had on any corner of the country, is the real nutritious and democratic food of India. It is also entirely plant-based if it is cooked with any of our indigenous oils such as mustard, sesame, or coconut.
However, while we all love our simple homemade food, increasingly, we want variety and we expect more of a surprise from our food. That is where Greenr has been innovating over the last four years with plant proteins.
We had been observing a global movement towards plant-based living/eating for the last two decades. This has only picked up more momentum with vegan and vegetarian food increasingly going mainstream in much of the Western developed world.
Closer to home, we are already the largest vegetarian country on the planet. However, as they say, familiarity breeds contempt. We have learned to almost despise vegetarian food, especially when ‘eating out’.
This is what we are attempting to change – we are making vegetarian sexy again! The buzz is also helping with celebrities like Virat Kohli, Aamir Khan, Kangna Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez having gone or been vegan for some time now.
In the western world, especially North America and Europe, when someone decides to go vegan or vegetarian, they still can have cravings for meat. Even non-vegetarians would like to eat more plant-based, but are unable to forego the pleasure that they derive from their carnivorous preferences!
Hence, much of the food innovation in the West has focused around making plant-based protein that mimics the taste, texture, and consistency of chicken, pork, or beef.
The latest food technology in this area uses highly complex methods to mimic or recreate a plant version of the meat or what is now increasingly also being referred to as plant meat.
Here in Asia, driven by the Buddhist influence in places like Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong, among others, we have known of mock meat for several decades. This simpler mock meat, as opposed to the more complex western plant meat, is made primarily of either gluten or soya.
*Disclaimer: This article has been contributed by Co-founders of Greenr cafe - Mohit Yadav and NItin Dixit. The facts and figures appearing in this article do not reflect the views of Deccan Chronicle, and Deccan Chronicle does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same....