Monday, February 13, 2012

Sophie's Kitchen - Vegan Calamari

Vegan Calamari? It sounded kind of weird, but I tried it anyway...and loved it! Sophie's Kitchen is a Taiwanese-based company that is producing vegan seafood. The inspiration came from the founder's daughter who loves seafood, but has an allergy to it. So instead of giving up the tastes she loves, Sophie now enjoys the vegan versions of these products without the cruelty!

Sophie's Kitchen makes a variety of vegan seafood products such as squid rings, shrimp, prawns, and fish filets. I have only been able to find their calamari in my local Whole Foods so this is the only product I've tried thus far. The products are sold in the frozen section and it appears their distribution is expanding.

I started off by putting the frozen calamari on a pan, then put it into the oven. I didn't notice that you are supposed to thaw it in the refrigerator first so it took a bit longer than it should have to cook. After about 20 minutes, it appeared to be done.

I plated it with some marinara sauce and dug in. It was really weird, but only because I've never tasted anything like this. The breaded calamari was firm, but chewy. The rings are made of konjac powder, which is derived from the root of a plant native to Japan, China, Korea, and Indonesia and is used widely in Japanese cuisine. The multigrain breading made of wheat, rye, barley, millet, and flaxseed tasted great around the konjac-based squid ring. I dipped it in Mia's Kitchen marinara sauce, one of my favorites, which complemented it well.

Here you can see the konjac rings through the breading

So the question is: Does it taste like real calamari? I have no idea because I've never tried real calamari (I'm proud to say). Is it good? Yes! I really like that is a completely different taste than anything I've ever had.  It is funny though that the konjac powder has very few calories yet the box of calamari has 26 grams of fat!  But, you probably won't eat all 18 or so squid rings in one sitting either.  I'm excited that there are new vegan seafood products on the market and will definitely be buying this again soon! I can't wait to try their other products too!

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