02 August 2015

The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook | Satay Soya

Once you do away with meat from grain-fed beasties (so once you do away with meat, then) and remove tomatoes and peppers from the equation, the day’s main meal suddenly becomes much trickier to plan. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of cuisine out there that isn’t built upon inflammatory ingredients – you just need to know where to look, and how to adapt it. Let’s start by looking to the East…

One of my favourite Asian dishes used to be satay chicken, or, better still, satay chicken skewers, which I could eat a near infinite amount of on a Friday night. These dishes’ signature peanut sauce is easily mouldable into an anti-inflammatory form, particularly when fortified with generous amounts of garlic [the ultimate blood sugar regulator and booster of heart health and immunity] and ginger [according to Mens Health, gingers inflammation-fighting properties are double-blind proven], which also give the meal its flavour in the absence of nightshades. 

When married up with natural soya protein and a load of crunchy vegetables, this “satay soya” manages to satiate even my illimitable Friday-night takeaway appetite. Of course, being homemade, it does so without leaving as much of a fatty footprint: the dish’s fats are healthy ones, it’s reasonably low in carbohydrates (unless you were to serve it with wholegrain rice or noodles, which you’ll need to add if you’re doing a bulk-up) and, like all my main dishes, it’s high in protein.

150g (dehydrated) natural soya protein [£1.89 per 375g dehydrated, so 76p]

100g crunchy peanut butter  [89p for 340g, so 26p]

50g ginger [59p per 125g, so 24p]

100g carrots [27p per 500g, so 5p]

250ml skimmed milk [89p per 2.72l, so 8p]

75ml dark soy sauce [47p per 150ml, so 24p]

370g beansprouts [49p]

100g mange tout [79p per 150g, so 53p]

4 garlic cloves [around 8p]

1tbsp (15g) unrefined cane sugar [£1.38 for 500g of Billington’s, so 4p]

TOTAL COST TO MAKE TWO PORTIONS: £0.76 + £0.26 + £0.24 +
£0.05 + £0.08 + £0.24 + £0.49 + £0.53 + £0.08 + £0.04   = £2.77


Weigh out 150g of dehydrated soya protein and place it in a small pan.

Holland & Barrett sell natural soya protein either as chunks or minced; nutritionally the stuff is identical, but there’s obviously a difference in texture. I prefer chunks in this dish to emulate the feel of chicken, but it’s just as tasty with mince. I wouldn’t recommend using mycoprotein (such as Quorn) or even soya-based supermarket meat substitutes as they are all heavily processed and likely to contain inflammatory ingredients.

Fill the pan with cold water and place it on the hob on the lowest heat.


Take out a larger pan and heat a little coconut oil in it. Once the oil has melted, throw in the beansprouts and mange tout. Shred 50g of the carrots and throw those in too. Cook until the vegetables are crunchy and brown.

Red onions and kidney beans also go particularly well with this dish, but these aren’t accounted for in the nutritional information / costings provided. If you are planning to use them, throw them into the pan at this stage.

Take the hydrated soya protein off the heat and drain the water. If you are using minced soya protein, take care to use a sieve rather than a colander. Note that the soya has almost doubled in mass.

Add the soya protein to the large pan with the vegetables.


Whilst keeping an eye on the vegetables and soya protein, place the remaining ingredients (50g ginger, 50g carrots, 250ml skimmed milk, 75ml dark soy sauce, 4 garlic cloves, 100g crunchy peanut butter, 1tbsp unrefined cane sugar) in a blender and mix them until you are left with a sauce of suitable thickness for you.

Those who prefer a thicker sauce needn’t add as much milk or soy sauce at this stage. Those who eat only whole foods, or would enjoy a more authentic Asian sauce, should use 10og oven-roasted peanuts with a little rock salt and coconut oil instead of ready-to-go peanut butter.

If you are feeling really adventurous or health-conscious, you could even use oven-roasted almonds in the place of peanuts. Though peanuts taste better to me, particularly in this dish, almonds have a more favourable protein to fat ratio.

Once the vegetables are crunchy and the soya is lightly browned, stir through the sauce until everything is well-coated.

Cook on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes before serving up.