Carolina soy curls with salad and potatoes. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Have you heard of soy curls? Wheatsville Coop just started carrying them (I’m taking all the credit for this since I requested them. So what if 20 other people did, too?) If you haven’t used soy curls before and you live within driving distance of Wheatsville Coop in Austin or Ann’s Health Food and Market in Dallas or Waxahachie, buy some ASAP. Otherwise, they can be bought from the Butler Soy Curl website. If you go in with a group of friends so you can split the shipping, they can be very cheap.
So what are soy curls? They’re similar to textured vegetable protein (TVP), except they’re better in every way. To start with, TVP is made from defatted soy flour. When oil is extracted from soy beans, what’s left is a flour made up of the protein and carbohydrate of the soybeans. This is just formed into TVP shape. Soy curls are made from whole soy beans, so you’re getting a less processed product.
Also, TVP has a beany taste. Often this can be covered up with strong flavors (or maybe some people like that taste?). I think soyrizo made from TVP is pretty delicious, but any recipe less flavorful tastes off to me. Soy curls, on the other hand, don’t have any beany taste. That means they can handle more delicate flavors.
And finally, TVP chunks look like dog food. Don’t tell me you have noticed! Soy curls look like food meant for humans.
But really the best part about them (and this is mostly true for TVP, too) is how versatile and easy to use they are. Just rehydrate with vegetable broth or something similar, and you can use them in just about any type of cuisine.
I realize this all sounds like an infomercial, but well, I love soy curls like Vince loves his nuts. So, if you pick up your phones now, you’ll also receive these free ideas about how to use your shiny new soy curls.
Barbecue soy curl sandwich. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
- Add a few handfuls of soy curls to a saucepan. I usually go for one or two handfuls per person. Cover 1/2 way with your favorite barbecue sauce and the rest of the way with water. Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then serve with cole slaw on a sandwich. The whole meal can easily be made in half an hour.
- Rehydrate soy curls in your favorite broth for about five minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can (you can reuse the broth in soup). Saute in oil with fajita seasonings, then serve with tortillas and all the fixings.
- Rehydrate soy curls in your favorite broth for about five minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Chop, and then use in your favorite chicken salad recipe.
- You’ll notice that soy curls might crumble in the package a bit, but don’t fret about it. Toss any leftover bits at the bottom on the package into a pot of soup with carrots, celery, and noodles and you’ll have super easy chick’n noodle soup.
- Check out Vegan Diner and Vegan Brunch for recipes that use soy curls. The smokey soy curls in Vegan Diner are vaguely reminiscent of barbecue or bacon and totally delicious. And the Courico Tacos in Vegan Brunch are indescribable.