Modern Indian delights made with TiNDLE

28 Jul 2021

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Chef Sowmiya from Kechil Kitchen

Chefs around the world are experimenting with plant-based dishes now more than ever before. By adding more vegan dishes to their menus, they are able to attract a wider audience of patrons, as well as groups that need to cater to different dietary needs.

Of course, with new ingredients come new challenges. Chefs need to find out if these new alternative proteins cook in the same way as ingredients they are used to. A little creativity and R&D is required in order to create winning dishes.

Sowmiya Venkatesan is a plant-based chef in Singapore who collaborates with restaurants to help narrate food stories using specially created plant-based dishes.

Sowmiya’s professional culinary journey was kicked off when she competed on Masterchef Singapore. Following her success on the show, Sowmiya started Kechil Kitchen, an enterprise focused on making meatless and plant-based options accessible to everyone. A chef by default and storyteller by design, Sowmiya is always looking to make a difference in the way people ‘think, eat and make food’.

In her menus, she tries to champion locally grown, sustainable and biodiverse plant-based ingredients. “I am always looking to offer interesting plant-based dishes that all diners would want to try, regardless of their dietary lifestyle”, she says.

Last year, Sowmiya was involved in working with Next Gen Foods, a Singapore-based startup, on the R&D of TiNDLE, a new plant-based chicken product. During the creation of TiNDLE, Next Gen engaged several highly-regarded chefs who shared their feedback and input during the various stages of the process. What makes TiNDLE unique is its one-of-a-kind blend of plant fats—they have trademarked this “special sauce” as Lipi™. Made with non-GMO ingredients, TiNDLE is also certified as a “Healthier Choice” option by the Singapore Health Promotion Board.

Sowmiya enjoyed working with the new protein. “TiNDLE serves the purpose of being a product that’s chef-friendly. There are lots of opportunities for chefs to use TiNDLE for their dishes and creations. For me, the product scores very high in texture, taste and versatility.”

Sowmiya most recently used TiNDLE in new recipes she developed for Fennel by Komala Vilas, a Gen Z and Millennial targeted Indian-vegetarian restaurant in Singapore. "The biggest achievement that they’ve nailed with the product is that it truly tastes and smells like chicken, which is why when I have included the product in many dishes at restaurants I work with, I’ve always gotten very positive feedback.".

Rasam Chicken Mini Burger at Fennel by Komala Vilas

She demonstrated two of the dishes for us (to see more of her making these, check out this video). The first dish is a Rasam Chicken Mini Burger. This was a delicious, spiced fried “chicken” burger. The exterior of the patty was slightly crunchy, thanks to the Aval (flattened rice) coating, and the interior was juicy and flavor-packed because of the spices, oils and finely chopped vegetables added. The TiNDLE meat was spectacular in carrying and combining the unique flavors from the Rasam powder.

Kefir-Curry Vegetarian Chicken Satay

With brands like TiNDLE creating more meat-free options, it is exciting to see how the industry will continue to grow and evolve in the years to come. It is equally thrilling to see how chefs from around the world are coming up with new and unique dishes based on these new protein alternatives.

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