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A little over a month ago we reviewed Sweet Earth Foods' Korean Japchae and Pasta Puttanesca, with thumbs up and down respectively. This week we have two more bowls that are vegan versions of well-known dishes: Korean Bulgogi and Indian Butter Chicken.
The Korean dish Bulgogi is most often thought of as being made with strips of beef, but I've also seen versions with strips of pork. Here Sweet Earth has decided to use their "Awesome Grounds", which are primarily made of textured pea protein.
Our first thought on taking this dish out of the microwave is that there doesn't seem to be very much food for something that has 430 calories (along with 730mg sodium and 3g fiber).
While brown rice is the first ingredient, there doesn't seem to be very much at all - perhaps three tablespoons? The vegetables - red bell peppers, purple cabbage, and matchstick carrots - certainly take up the most volume in this dish, with the "Awesome Grounds" coming in next. The rice, while well cooked, seems more of an afterthought.
The vegetables still have some texture, but the star of the show is the sauce: it smells sweet and savory, with ginger, tamari sauce, and garlic, then a bit of spice with the chilis adds just a touch of heat. The "Awesome Grounds" do a fair imitation of ground beef if you pay close attention, but it's more like eating a bowl of chili than bulgogi. If that doesn't bother you, this may be for you.
We should note that on the back of the package it says, "Perfect for lunch, snack or dinner." This is not a snack. At 430 calories, this is a meal.
Next up is the Butter Chik'n (240 calories, 550mg sodium, 6g fiber).
This dish was particularly disappointing.
Butter chicken is a dish with a rich tomato, onion, butter, and cream sauce. This hardly has any sauce at all.
There's a little bit of white rice topped with Sweet Earth's Chik'n along with peas, diced onion, chickpeas, and the ubiquitous matchstick carrots.
What sauce there is has OK flavor (sweet cooked onion, tomato, turmeric, and cardamom), but there's simply not enough of it to qualify as any sort of Butter Chicken, let alone any other kind of curry.
To add insult to injury, the Chik'n will fool absolutely nobody. Its flavor is closer to tofu than anything chicken-like and the texture is somewhere between thick rubber bands and the pink erasers I used in grade school. Definitely leave this one on the shelf. Not good for a snack or a meal.
Posted: June 25, 2021