Mock meats could be such a debatable topic for most vegans. Some say it’s a great vegan option for those who miss meat while others advocate sticking to celebrating food that does not resemble an animal product. While I love to celebrate vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and nuts, I don’t mind mock meats. As vegan blogger, Ketty at Luminous Vegans, puts it: “I went vegan for the animals, not because I didn’t like the taste of eggs, meat or cheese.” Touche Ketty, touche.
Speaking of taste, I find that some vegan Filipino dishes do need mock meat to have that authentic taste and look. Filipino dishes like Tapa. Unlike the Spanish meaning of tapas, (which means small plates of snacks and appetizers) Filipino tapa means salt-cured, thin slices of meat. It’s usually served at breakfast, often with garlic fried rice and fried eggs. In fact, the original -silog combo is with Tapa, known as “Tapsilog” (“tap-” is for Tapa, “-si” for fried rice, and “-log” for fried eggs”).
In the Philippines, you could find Tapa eateries aka “Tapsihan” at most urban cities. They’re usually open 24 hours to cater to workers who have graveyard and morning shifts. You could also find it at major food chains and restaurants although there’s nothing like getting it from a “tapsihan“.
To veganize Tapa, I resort to mock meats. No mushroom, jackfruit, tofu, or tempeh could resemble it. Take heed, not all mock meats are created equal so be wary! Some are made with gluten, some with soy, some are genetically modified, and some are not even vegan! You could find egg whites in some non-vegan mock meats. I recommend to always check the ingredients list and kindly confirm with restaurant servers if the vegan dish is indeed vegan.
Several months ago, I was introduced to a company that represents Maisen USA at Expo West in Anaheim. They were marketing seaweed snacks called Sea Veggies and mock meats called Maisen Vege-Protein. Recently, they followed up with me and sent me samples of their products. I learned that Maisen Vege-Protein has only two ingredients -brown rice and non-gmo soy. It’s plain, unseasoned, with no additives or preservatives. My kind of mock meat! With these in hand, I thought of making Tapsilog.
- 1 cup dried, unseasoned non-gmo soy fillet or chunks
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I prefer the brand, "Datu Puti") (see note below)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon melted refined coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed and minced
- Except for the oil and garlic, put everything in a small pot and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir or flip fillets occasionally. Turn off heat.
- Transfer fillets to a plate to cool down.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium size pan over medium heat. Once hot enough, pour oil.
- While waiting for the pan to get hot, pat fillets dry with paper towel. Squeeze out any liquid (be sure the fillets are cool enough to touch).
- Once oil is hot enough, saute garlic until golden brown.
- Fry the fillets until they have darkened in color and hardened in texture. Add more oil if necessary.
- Turn off heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with vinegar dipping on the side.
For the Vegan “Egg” Scramble recipe, click here.
For the Garlic Fried Rice recipe, click here.
Right now, Maisen deals only with restaurants and the food service. Hopefully in the future they will sell directly to consumers. In the mean time, you could double-check the mock meat of your choice. I prefer the ones that are not seasoned yet so you could customize it especially for recipes like Tapa. Feel free to shop around and choose wisely. It’s best to have a go-to, if you need to make something “meaty” without the meat, either for yourself or an omnivore friend.
Note: All views are my own. I was not compensated by Maisen USA or Sea Veggies.