Home of M’sian for herbal meat substitutes made from jack fruits – Health Guild News


In recent years, there has been an increase in meat alternatives as people began to look for healthier eating options or adopted vegetarian or vegan lifestyles. The market is growing undeniably.

We’ve already seen meat pies made with more common ingredients, such as beans, tofu, mushrooms, and various vegetable proteins, to name a few. While not a new discovery, jackfruit it is still to be used as an alternative in Malaysia.

There they are some F&B establishments like Sala KL i PC Studio Cafe they already make their own jackfruit meat substitutes for dishes. However, it is currently not being mass-produced by Malaysian brands for regular consumption.

That’s why this duo of husbands and wives are behind the startup Nanka they have taken it upon themselves to be pioneers.

Set to convert meat consumers / Image Credit: Nanka

From fruit to chicken

“Growing up, I’ve been exposed to Indian and Malay dishes prepared with jack fruits, so I’m not particularly unfamiliar with the idea,” founder Syafik shared with Vulcan Post.

“In fact, if you go to the open and fresh markets, you can see supermarkets selling what we call vegetable jackfruit, which is what some Malaysians use as a vegetable component in their cooking. They are always the immature, whitish and sticky version of the jack fruit ”.

He explained that when the jack fruit is in this state, it is almost tasteless and chewy until you cook it with spices. Nanka minced jackfruit is also made with green fruit, so you won’t taste the sweetness a ripe would have.

In the past, when some people tried their burgers at an international Zumba event, Syafik shared that most of them were incredulous to know that 70% of their pies were made from jackfruit.

Perfecting pasta during R&D (left) and a close-up of the texture of cooked minced meat / Image credit: Nanka

Target meat consumers as well

Normally, the main audience for meat alternatives are vegans and vegetarians, but Syafik wants to aim beyond that group of people. Therefore, not all of their meat is completely made with jackfruit, like the ones they brought to the Zumba event.

Both minced chicken and beef are made with 70% jackfruit and 30% meat. They have a 100% vegetable made from a mixture of food and mushrooms, which Syafik found more difficult to develop during its R&D.

Hoping to attract meat consumers with their meat substitute / Image Credit: Nanka

“Our intention from the outset was to encourage fellow Malaysians to eat a healthier diet, which means reducing meat and avoiding highly processed foods. Naturally, our target market is those who eat meat,” he explained. Syafik.

“Mixed meat versions are there to prepare you to gradually eliminate meat intake with the psychology of ‘if you still want to eat meat, at least try to eat less.’

He also clarified that his mixed meat choices are made with lean cuts and not stuffed as internal organs, as do some minced meat distributors, and that they come from all their local fruits.

A first version that tasted good biryani

If my calculations are correct, the formulation and recipe we are using today would be the 167th version over the 5 year period, ”Syafik reflected on the joys of being at F&B.

“I still remember our first version of the jackfruit vegan pies, which tasted too much biryani! Too many species were added to naturally extend the shelf life.

The flesh of the meat was not fantastic either because it always broke when they tried to turn it around. There were times when the dried fruit also had an incomplete bleaching, which resulted in a sour taste.

A (well-intentioned) burger cake maker even told them they should choose to create a new Malay appetizer. But Syafik did not want to give up just that dream.

Over the years, they began to establish relationships with friends and supporters that helped them improve their texture, shape, and taste, little by little. They were cooks, food technologists, ingredient specialists and even housewives with heritage recipes.

“We’ve had so many trials and errors mixing all kinds of natural ingredients imaginable, experimenting with different types of mushrooms,” Syafik recalled.

Clippings from your R&D trip / Image Credit: Nanka

Meatless is not necessarily cheaper

Each standard package includes 4 pies of 80 g each. The 100% vegan is priced at RM 18, while the chicken and beef ones are RM19 and RM20 respectively. As expected, of course, this is not as cheap as real meat pies, which usually cost less than RM10 to get more pies.

Editor’s note: The images of this piece that Nanka has provided us correspond to the old containers that indicate “70 g”. We clarified with the team that their updated packaging will reflect the new weight of 80 g.

However, it is important to keep in mind that, like any novelty in the market where demand is not yet very high, these products will cost more than their more conventional counterparts. Education would be key to spreading this understanding, as Nanka still struggles with people’s assumptions that their products should be cheaper.

“Maintain the demand for [a] the plant-based diet among our consumers is a challenge, because this could be a product that interests them and they want to try, but they will return to the meat once the temptations return. McDonald’s queue doesn’t get any shorter! “Syafik said.

Rendang, meatballs and burgers are some of the things you can do with your meat / Image Credit: Nanka

But consumers here in the Klang Valley have been receptive so far. Some positive feedback they receive regularly about their pies is that they are very filling due to their rich fiber content.

Now Nanka has a balanced mix of B2C and B2B customers, which include 5-star hotels, vegetarian cafes, restaurants and cloud catering providers. Its most popular cloud kitchen vendor is located in Publika’s Me.reka space, Mount Kiara.

In addition to the burgers, customers have used their meat in pasta, pool beans (the Malay version of an Arabic dish made with beans) and sandwiches.

Jackfruit is just the beginning of your journey to create herbal meat alternatives. Nanka is already involved in joint ventures with other meat and crop meat companies to further develop its product line.

In addition to meat, Syafik is considering introducing vegetable-based dairy products such as butter and egg puree. He shared: “Personally, I have problems with dairy intake, so this would be the next logical step for our burgers.”

  • You can find more information about Nanka here.
  • You can read about more articles on food technology we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Ahmad Syafik Jaafar, founder of Nanka

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