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The Pride of your kitchen

by Shaan Bajaj

Three vegan and vegetarian restaurants bring you exciting new recipes using FIRST PRIDE’s latest plant-based products.

By Shaan Bajaj

Being a vegan or vegetarian in Bangkok has truly never been easier. The city is now home to a plethora of vegan restaurants, while the shelves of supermarkets and convenient stores sell a variety of delicious plant-based products made to mimic the texture and flavour of meat. From mock chicken, pork, beef and more, you can sample the ones you like without harming an animal. However, it was not always like this. Growing up vegetarian was tough and it was easy to feel like I was missing out on something. However, thanks to the current thriving vegan scene and brands like FIRST PRIDE, I don’t feel that way anymore.

One of my personal favourite plant-based brands recently is FIRST PRIDE. Their crispy Popcorn Bites (THB 99) and spicy Larb Bites (THB 99) are always on my grocery list. It’s the perfect snack to nibble on, whether I have friends over or plan to spend an evening watching the latest episodes of Never Have I Ever (2020-) on Netflix. As part of their latest J Series which is allium-free, FIRST PRIDE is launching two products that can be used for cooking, Crispy Katsu (THB 89) and Cooked Mince (THB 89). These two plant-based meats are easy to cook with, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen. Find them at your closest supermarket or order online via Shopee or Lazada.

The Crispy Katsu imitates the flavour and texture of the Japanese katsu, a breaded fried meat cutlet, while retaining a juicy and tender meat texture. Use it to cook a heartwarming katsu curry or get innovative in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the Cooked Mince is a very adaptable option that can be used in many different recipes. They are both healthy alternatives to meat, as they contain 0 percent cholesterol, and no preservatives or artificial flavours. They are also high in protein and fiber. So even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian but would like to be a little more health conscious, this can be the ideal alternative without having to compromise on flavours. To really showcase their potential, we sent these products to three chefs of popular and well-loved restaurants from within the Thai-Indian community. Find their recipes below:

HARSHA SETHI
Founder of Vistro
Product sampled: Crispy Katsu
Recipe for: Katsu don bowl

INGREDIENTS:
• ½ onion, sliced
• 1 ½ cups of Kombu Dashi stock
• 3 tbsps shoyu sauce
• 1 tbsp mirin
• 2 tsps grated ginger
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 3 cups cooked Japanese rice
• pinch of black pepper
• 1 tsp corn starch mixed with water (slurry)
• salt
• cooking oil

Toppings:
• 2 pcs FIRST PRIDE’s Crispy Katsu
• ⅓ cup edamame (frozen bag, shelled)
• ½ avocado, sliced
• pickled ginger
• shredded cabbage
• nori sheets, sliced
• chilli oil
• black and white sesame
• chopped spring onion
• cucumber (optional)
• Sriracha mayonnaise

INSTRUCTIONS:
• Add the edamame to a grill pan with the soy sauce. Once grilled, remove from the pan and toss in chilli oil of choice
• Slice the avocado and the onions, and set aside
• In another small pan, bring three cups of water to boil with the Kombu dashi stock, and add the soy sauce, mirin, onions and ginger, and bring to a boil until onions are translucent
• Add the sugar and corn starch slurry
• Heat a pot full of oil until about 180 degrees. If the Katsu floats in five seconds, then it is ready, and fry the Katsu until golden
• To assemble, fill the bowl with rice, and top with, in order: the sauce, onions, Katsu strips, edamame, Sriracha Mayo, and extra sauce. Sprinkle the sesame, spring onions, and nori on top.

Watch the recipe below.

THITIMA SUDECHAWONGSAKUL
Co-founder of Carrots Bangkok
Product sampled: Cooked Mince
Recipe for Tikka masala tacos

INGREDIENTS:
For the masala meat:
• 150g FIRST PRIDE Cooked Mince
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ tbsp garam masala
• 2 tsp chilli powder
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp minced ginger
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• salt to taste (just a pinch)
• 1 tbsp coconut oil

For the pineapple salsa:
• 100g pineapple, chopped
• 15g shallots, chopped
• 2 stalks coriander
• 10g jalapeño, chopped
• lime to taste
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp coriander powder
• ¼ tsp pepper

For serving (serves 4 mini soft tacos):
• vegan yoghurt/mayonnaise
• refried beans
• corn tortillas or soft tortillas, round vegan naan or pita bread

INSTRUCTIONS:
• Lightly sauté the Cooked Mince along with all the ingredients for the masala meat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste
• Combine the chopped ingredients for the pineapple salsa in a mixing bowl, then add lime to taste
• Warm the tortillas, then add the refried beans, masala meat, pineapple salsa and vegan mayo/ yoghurt. Garnish with sev, pomegranate and coriander.

Watch the recipe below.

GAURAV KEJRIWAL
Founder of Saras
Product sampled: Cooked Mince
Recipe for: Minced chilli

INGREDIENTS:

For the batter:
• 2 tbsp corn starch
• 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp ginger paste
• ½ tsp garlic paste
• ¼ tsp crushed black pepper or black
pepper powder
• ¼ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
• salt as required
• ¼ cup water, or add as required

For the mince:
• 3 tbsp oil
• 200-220g Cooked Mince,
preferably cut into bite-sized pieces

For the chilli mince gravy/sauce:
• 2 small spring onions, or ⅓ cup chopped spring onions
• 2-3 green chillies, slit or sliced
• 2 tsp ginger, fi nely chopped
• 2 tsp garlic, fi nely chopped
• 1 small to medium capsicum, or ½ cup sliced green bell pepper
• 2 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp red chilli sauce
• ¼ tsp black pepper powder
• ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
• ½-1 tsp sugar, or add as required
• salt as required
• ½-⅔ cup water or add as required
• 1 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2-3 tbsp water
• ¼-½ tsp rice vinegar or white vinegar (optional)
• 2-3 spring onion greens, to be added later

INSTRUCTIONS
For the mince:
• Heat oil in a frying pan
• Add FIRST PRIDE’s Cooked Mince
• Fry until mince is crisp and golden
• Remove the fried mince cubes and place them on kitchen paper towels for the extra oil to be absorbed.
For the batter:
• Add the corn starch, all-purpose flour, ginger, garlic, crushed black pepper, Kashmiri red chilli powder, and salt to a bowl
• Add ¼ cup water or add as required, and mix well to get a smooth batter without any lumps
• Add mince cubes in the batter and coat them with the batter

For the chilli mince gravy/sauce:
• In the same pan as used earlier, add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Stir-fry on a medium to high flame for a few seconds
• Add the spring onions and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes on a medium to high flame
• Add the capsicum and stir-fry on medium to high flame for 3-4 minutes, leaving the capsicum only slightly cooked
• Lower the flame and add the kashmiri red chilli powder, soy sauce, and red chilli sauce, and stir
• Add water and mix well. Simmer on medium to medium-high flame
• Meanwhile, mix the corn starch and water in a small bowl. Mix well to get a smooth paste with no lumps and add this corn-starch paste to the gravy
• Add sugar and salt, and mix well and simmer till the sauce has slightly thickened and the corn starch has cooked
• Add the fried mince cubes and mix
• Switch off the flame and add rice vinegar or white vinegar (optional)
• Garnish with spring onions

Watch the recipe below.

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