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Meat alternatives that taste just as good

Updated on: 01 July,2022 10:38 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Suprita Mitter |

A new venture backed by Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma offers plant-based nuggets, sausages, burger patties and momos. Our meat-loving reviewer came away impressed

Meat alternatives that taste just as good

Plant-based chicken momo, smoked chicken sausages, chicken nuggets and garlic schezwan chutney; you can microwave or air-fry the nuggets

For a significant chunk of her childhood, the paternal side of this reviewer’s Bengali family would eat eggs for breakfast, fish for lunch, and chicken or red meat at dinnertime. At restaurants, the vegetarian section on menus would be skipped. This fondness also made life simpler during overseas travel. With such fuss-free eating habits, there’s little that hasn’t been sampled. It is this openness to experimentation that led us to tasting plant-based alternatives but these were more one-off experiences. The idea of converting entirely hasn’t appealed despite watching the popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.

Recently, after coming across Blue Tribe’s plant-based products on an online grocery shopping portal, we decided to give it a shot. The packaging looked exactly like the frozen meat packs displayed beside them. The company was recently in the news after cricketer Virat Kohli and actor Anushka Sharma invested in the venture and also came on board as brand ambassadors since they have adopted a meat-free life.

While there were plant-based chicken and mutton keema, burger patties and pork sausages on offer too, we opted for the chicken nuggets, smoked chicken sausages, and chicken momos. The prices are higher than meat-based versions. For example, a pack of Godrej’s chicken nuggets costs Rs 248 (500 gm) while Blue Tribe’s plant-based version is Rs 295 (250-gm pack); a 250-gm pack of frozen chicken sausages costs Rs 136 while the plant-based version is priced at Rs 350. Healthy and vegan products in India are almost always expensive and such high price points tend to be a deterrent for those keen to make the switch.

The packs come with simple instructions. While some products need to be thawed, others can be pan-fried directly. Choose to microwave or air-fry the nuggets; the sausages and momos can be steamed. The cooking time — pan-fry for three minutes on each side till brown — is similar to their meaty counterparts. All three products fared well on taste and more importantly, got the texture right. While we are not fans of chicken nuggets or its plant-based variant, we leave it to you to arrive at your own conclusion. The pan-fried momos were impressive. With little oil, the portions were crisp and of melt-in-the-mouth texture. The accompanying garlic schezwan chutney has the right amount of spice. Our winner was the smoked chicken sausages; the flavours came close to the real deal such that if someone didn’t tell, you wouldn’t know. We placed them in a bun, slathered some mustard sauce, topped it with onion rings, and it tasted delicious. The website also lists fun recipes to try with these products. 

The products we tried came with a ‘zero-cholesterol’ tag. So are we converting yet? Let’s just say this could be a good first step.

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Cost: Rs 195 to Rs 350 (per pack)

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