Soya bean has taken the place of meat in the diet of Chinese, Japanese and other Asiatic. Its notable characteristics are its large proportion of assimilable protein and fat and its lack of starch and small content of sugar. Textured or texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP), soy meat, or Soya meat is a meat analogue or nutritious meat extender made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It is quick to cook, with a protein content equal to that of the meat it is replacing, and contains no fat. It is prepared from defatted (DOC) Soya flour by the process of extrusion cooking. During the process, the protein in the flour undergoes structural changes and forms a fiber like network. When soaked in water, the texturized nuggets absorb the water and develop meat like and chewy characteristics (hence the reference to “vegetarian meat”).
They are a rich source of protein. Among the vegetable proteins they contribute a maximum level of 50% protein. As they are free from cholesterol they are also commonly used as meat substitutes.
It is used in cooking especially as a protein rich substitute for meat. It is not to be confused with hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is commonly used as a source of glutamate in various seasonings and imitation sauce. Textured vegetable protein is a versatile substance, different forms allowing it to take on the texture of whatever ground meat it is substituting. Using textured vegetable protein, one can make vegetarian or vegan versions of traditionally meat dishes such as chili, spaghetti bolognese, sloppy joes, tacos, burgers, or burritos.
Textured vegetable protein can be found in natural food stores and larger supermarkets, usually in the bulk section.TVP is also very lightweight, and is often used in backpacking recipes. TVP is often used in prisons for several reasons: its low relative cost, high protein, and low fat qualities make it ideal, as does its relatively long shelf life, which allows institutions to buy in bulk.
TVP is very useful when it comes to Kosher kitchens. As it is of vegetable origin, it is by itself Parve (non-meat and non-dairy). The use of TVP as a meat replacer can allow cooking of protein-rich main dish along with dairy products, ideal when there is only one set of cookware which cannot be used to cook both dairy and meat. It is very common for a daycare in Israel (which is obligatorily kosher) to use TVP as lunch base.