TVP, a popular vegetarian meat substitute
, comes in many shapes. Most common is the granule, which consists of irregularly sized chunks ranging from split pea to peanut size. When reconstituted, this can stand in for hamburger or chicken or tuna, depending on how you flavor it. TVP granules are available at most health food stores
, either in bags or in bulk. Other, rarer forms are slices or rounds, which tend to be cheaper by weight than the granules, but you have to go to an Asian grocery store
to find them.
You can drop plain TVP into highly flavored stews, where it will provide chewy pieces with a meat-like texture and soak up the flavor of the broth. Unadulterated TVP, outside of stew, has a strange, soy-wrapped-in-plastic sort of taste, which I've found can be minimized by reconstituting it in lots of liquid, which I then discard. The reconstituted TVP should then be flavored with something that masks any remaining TVP-ness, like soy sauce, veggie broth, sesame oil, vinegar, or various combinations of the above, or any other flavorings you choose. If you sautee the TVP until crisp after flavoring it, it's even better.
Avoid immersing pre-flavored TVP in anything liquid until right before you eat it, because the flavoring will leach out into the liquid, leaving you with relatively tasteless, but chewy, chunks.