After months of patience-testing following the Seven Sharp TV segment, quite a hype was created in anticipation of the release of new New-Zealand product: SunFed Meats ‘Chicken-Free Chicken’…
As imaginable, when the date finally clocked over to July 29th; a Saturday in New Zealand, the first thing on my mind was how fast could I get dressed and get to the supermarket. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one desperate to get my hands on this vegan ‘meat’, made from pea protein; there was only two left when I ran into Countdown, before 11am.
Greedily buying up the last two remaining packets, I quickly swiped the credit card and was on my way to try out the ‘Chicken-Free Chicken’, scheming which would be the best way to use it. According to makers, Sunfed Meats, their ‘chicken’ product can be used in place of animal chicken for any recipe; oh the possibilities!
Opting to simply pan-fry the chick’n in some vegetable oil and spices then add to a curry, I re-created ‘butter chicken’ and used the remaining pieces that didn’t fit in the pan in place of ‘fried chicken’ in some burgers.
But, does ‘Chicken-Free Chicken’ live up to all the hype?
In short, yes. (But it needs one healthy serving of sauce/moisture!)
I got my family to try the ‘meat’ too and gathered feedback from my connections online; fan-girling over all our future cruelty-free meals in which ‘Chicken’ can now be an ingredient. It was a hit! Non-vegans said they couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t real chicken!
‘Chicken-Free Chicken’ flakes apart like animal chicken and is ‘fleshy’ and ‘stringy’ alike the meat however it didn’t taste as ‘chicken-y’ as we were expecting. The taste was somewhat unusual but the texture is convincingly accurate. When flavoured with classic chicken combinations such as ‘honey’ and lemon or apricot, the taste and texture are pretty much spot on with the real-deal.
One thing to note is that it is a little dry and roughly 150g (half the packet) of ‘chicken’ quickly soaked up the moisture from 1.5 cups of curry sauce. The absorbency makes this product the perfect accompaniment to sauce-based meals (and may even benefit from a more than hearty dose)! So, similarly to how you probably wouldn’t eat animal-chicken without something to go with it, I wouldn’t advise eating Sunfed Foods by itself either.
What I loved is that this product is packed with protein and is so filling! 1 x the 300g packet would easily fill up the bellies of 3-4 ravenous human beings so you may want to be less than generous with your portion sizes (I learned the hard way!).
For your perfect Friday-night chicken replacement, this product would be delicious when crumbed and deep-fried, alike schnitzel. Or, sautéed and added to a flavoursome saucey-dish such as dahl or spicy curry… or deep fried and dunked in mountains of BBQ dip….. basically you’ll be spoilt for choice.
On the whole, I would happily serve this in place of chicken and will certainly be purchasing again. (And again).