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Munchy Mushroom Magic
Quorn products in general
Member Name: jokoo
Quorn products in general
Date: 04/03/04, updated on 04/03/04 (3731 review reads)
Advantages: Low in fat, Good texture, Versatile
Disadvantages: Not the cheapest
I do not buy a lot of pre prepared or processed food, but Quorn is one of them. If you have not tried it before you would think that all Quorn is the same, tastes the same but it does not. The Quorn which imitates red meat is different from that which is meant to be a substitute for chicken. Personally I prefer the white Quorn it really does have the texture and taste of chicken, but I prefer not to think of it as a meat substitute more as a food in its own right. For example you get Tofu from soya beans which you can cut into blocks and fry, and it?s the same with Quorn. It is made from a mushroom protein rather than soya beans and is processed into a variety of products, including burgers, pieces, fillets, nuggets, slices, pate, sausages, mince and a wide selection of ready meals.
I think that the Quorn mince is an excellent ingredient for all kinds of recipes ranging from the more obvious spaghetti bolognaise and shepards pie to something you may have created yourself. It does not behave like meat mince and you have to be careful how you use it, for example if you get a handful of minced meat and squash it in your hand you can mould it into a burger, this will not work with Quorn it will simply ooze through your fingers. The texture is different and you must treat it in such a way to get the best out of it. I have found that the mince does not have a lot of its own flavour, but on the upside it will take on the flavour of anything you care to cook with it. For example the use of a stock cube in cooking is the most obvious idea, and then if you want to add garlic, herbs and spices etc the mince will soak up these flavours like a sponge. It is the ideal ingredient for someone who likes to create their own recipes. The one thing about frozen Quorn is that unlike many vege minces is that it is not dehydrated which means it tends to have more texture and is firmer than a re hydrated mince, like beanfeast for example which is a bit sloppy, and to be fair not
very tasty. I have never tried any of these minces without some kind of vegetarian gravy, or sauce to pull the whole thing together, to be honest I do not think it would taste very nice. It does not stand up very well on its own.
The main area of interest to anyone on a diet is that Quorn is low in fat. I know for a fact that it can contribute to weight loss because I myself nearly a stone in weight whilst eating Quorn as part of a reasonably controlled diet over a period of a couple of months. I should have told the manufacturers before I started, they might have paid to use me as an experiment. They may even pay me now if I keep telling people what a marvellous slimming aid it is! I do not want to give anyone false hope you are not going to start shedding pounds the minute you start to eat the stuff, but I did notice the difference, also you do feel like you have had a proper meal, not like some of these weight watchers things in a tin which have no flavour and to my knowledge even less nutritional value.
Comparatively speaking I think Quorn mince stands up very well against the other vegetarian minces for example Realeat do a similar mince. I actually prefer the Realeat version but that maybe because I have had enough Quorn to last me a lifetime, and you have to try other things as well. Its purely a question of personal taste. A 300g bag of Quorn is about £2.30 which is a competitive price compared with other vege mince, Realeat for example. I do not compare it with the price of minced meat because I prefer to see it as a separate product.
There are also Quorn pieces which are great for stir fries. Treat them like you would chopped meat or tofu, fry them quick, with other vegetables etc and add your own sauces. The fillets, nuggets, sausages all good replacements for their meat equivalents, but I prefer to treat Quorn as a foodstuff in itself, and not just a replacement for meat. I think this is the best use of this product,
you can be more creative, in a culinary sense. Quorn is great for marinades, because it does not have any real flavour of its own. You can use your favourite marinades and sauces and transfer them directly to Quorn recipes.
I have tried a multitude of meat protein substitute foods, and Quorn ranks amongst the best of them. It has the firmest texture and the widest versatility, the quality is there with Quorn, and with everything that has quality, it comes at a price. It can be expensive if you do not shop around. I have found that buying groceries like these are often found cheaper on the Internet. For anyone who is not used to a vegetarian diet and is looking to convert, the usual lacking element which is noticed is of course is the absence of meat. Red or white meat is a valuable source of protein and if you suddenly chop it out of your diet and just eat what is left, ie a few vegetables, and a bit of sauce maybe you are going to become malnourished in a very short space of time . Converting from a carnivorous diet to a vegetarian one (healthier by the way) is not something to be taken lightly, and can cause health problems if you are not careful. You can not just chop out a huge source of protein replace it with a few lettuce leaves and expect everything to be alright, it will not be. You will feel tired, hungry and under nourished, that is where these meat style substitutes come into their own. They replace the protein usually provided by the meat content of the diet in a way which is acceptable and apart from a few taste differences perhaps you could not tell the difference. There is a tremendous choice of protein substitute foods available, and I am not saying that Quorn is necessarily the best but I like it and think it is worth a try if you have not tried it. Another point on the vegetarian issue, some people would say that Quorn and its competitors is not a real food, it is synthetic and only a junk food substitute for vegetarians. I do
not hold w
ith this argument as for example, tofu which is equally a manufactured food has been part of the oriental diet for as long as their culinary tradition has been in existence. Tofu is a manufactured, extracted, source of protein and is presented in a similar way. Quorn is a similar type of foodstuff only it is taken from mushroom protein rather than bean curd. I think that long term however if you are using this type of food as part of a vegetarian diet, in place of meat you need to carefully work out your new dietary requirements or you may run in to nutritional problems.
Having said all of that Quorn is marketed in some part as a fun food and I suppose it is. It is a good replacement for those chicken Mcnuggets etc, made from highly questionable food sources, ie animals raised in unsanitary and inhumane conditions which has been much in the news and consumer programmes recently. All that meat produced junk food is of highly questionable quality whether you are a vegetarian or otherwise, it has been for a long time. This Quorn product may not be the only alternative to an increasingly questionable animal based industrial food production diet, but I think it ranks among the better ones in an increasingly competitive vegetarian foodstuffs industry.
There is also a quorn.com web site, the official home page for Quorn where you can find a plethora of recipes, nutritional information and miscellany of information regarding the product. Thai Quorn mince, stir fry Quorn mince with Singapore style noodles, Quorn mince and cauliflower bake, Sizzling Quorn fajitas just a few picked at random. There are recipes of the week and also an archive of recipes which have been collected over recent years. Well worth a visit if you are thinking of adding this product in to your diet. It is a bit more exciting than your average nut roast, and a lot more healthy than you usual grease burger.