(Homemade Soy Milanesas)
Adapted and translated from desbarrigarse.blogspot.com
If there is one food that I miss as a vegetarian it’s milanesas; therefore, it is only fitting that the last meat meal I had were my mom’s spectacular milanesas. For those of you who don’t know, milanesas are a staple of the Argentinean cuisine. Originally from Italy (cotoletta alla milanese) it is a breaded slice of meat (beef, veal, chicken or pork) and is a personal favorite of all Argentines. Thankfully for the increasing number of Argentine vegetarians, the soy milanesa was invented, which, you guessed it, is made out of soy instead of meat. More commonly they are made with soybeans but the thing is that you have to soak them for about 12 hours. This recipe is much easier and faster since it uses soy flour instead of soybeans.
Yields 10 milanesas
- 1½ cups soy flour
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup warm water or as needed
- ½ cup oats
- Preheat the oven to 450F (232C). Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
- Mix the soy flour, whole wheat flour, pepper and parsley in a large bowl.
- In the center of the mixture, form a bowl-like hole. Slowly pour the water into the hole. After each addition, mix it with our hands until it forms a ball but no longer sticks to your hands. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let rest for a half hour.
- Place the oats on a plate or shallow container. Once you have let the mixture rest, roll it into balls of about 150 grams each and flatten into oval patties. Press each patty into the oats so that both sides are covered and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overbake as they may become quite hard and dry.
Comments: I was very pleased with my vegetarian milanesas. They actually tasted very similar to those I have had back home. Still, I would like to try other recipes to compare. When forming the patties, you can wet your hands to prevent sticking. I used old-fashioned oats but if you prefer you can also use oat flour or process the oats to form a powder. In Argentina, milanesas are typically served with fresh cut French fries, mashed potatoes or even pumpkin puré. At home we usually just have them with salad. We also have several variations. One is milanesa a la napolitana, which is topped with tomato sauce, ham and cheese; if you are vegetarian you can omit the ham or get vegetarian deli meat instead. Another variation is milanesa a caballo where the milanesa is topped with a fried egg (not a fan as I don’t like plain eggs).
Update April 2016: After taking a couple of quarters off of school, I returned to college in late March for the Spring quarter. I basically shop at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any soy flour to make soy milanesas. I started looking through the alternate flours they had at Whole Foods to see what I could use instead. I was between garbanzo flour and vital wheat gluten. In the end I chose vital wheat gluten because of its higher protein content (it has even more protein than beef!). The vital wheat gluten gave the milanesas a chewier consistency and they obviously taste differently. I actually think I prefer the vital wheat gluten milanesas but some may not like the chewy consistency. Try out both and see what you prefer!