Hieronymus Bosch and TVP Chunks

While I was talking to my brother on the phone the other day, we were sharing our recent Netflix viewings and he mentioned he’d been watching a very good show called Bosch.

“You mean, as in Hieronymus Bosch?” I asked (with great excitement since, as a teenager, I’d been rather obsessed with the painter).

“Yes–that’s right! Hieronymus Bosch!” he said. As he continued to praise the show’s merits, I looked the show up online.

“It’s about a detective named Harry Bosch!” I said.

“Yeah–it’s short for ‘Hieronymus’,” he said.

“I ASSUMED it was about the painter!” I said.

“Oh jeez….of COURSE you did,” he said with disgust.

Anyway, we’ll get back to Bosch in a moment, but last week we stumbled across this product in Superstore, and James was intrigued enough to buy a couple of boxes:


It’s basically TVP (or Textured Vegetable Protein), which I’d tried a few decades ago…with little success. However, James thought it might be worth a try, so I consulted a gazillion recipes online and came up with one that I thought might work. I also read about a few failures and watched a few videos and eventually came across this rather simple recipe that turned out very well indeed. It’s from  The TVP Cookbook.

Chinese BBQ TVP Balls

Combine in a two-quart saucepan:

  • 2 cups TVP chunks
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 TBS. ketchup

Simmer for twenty minutes.


Whisk together in a small saucepan:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Five-Spice Powder



Bring to a boil, mix in the TVP chunks (and ketchup-water mixture), and remove from heat.

This next step is very important: systematically squish down the balls with a potato masher (this is to ensure that the mixture displaces the water in the TVP chunks). I added this step because of various information I’d read online.


Let sit for thirty minutes and then bake at 350 for thirty minutes.


I’ll admit that my hopes were VERY low for these, but they were surprisingly good! The chunks are very chewy and the sauce is super tasty. They would be delicious in a stir fry!


And now back to Hieronymus Bosch–the 15th-century painter, not the 21st-century police detective.

As I was trying to figure out what to do with the TVP, I suggested to James that the TVP box looked like a Bosch painting–like one of his paintings with a bunch of odd, misshapen faces all smushed together.

James gave me that special quizzical look until I showed him the box and pointed to what looked like a man’s face poking above the label.

He raised an eyebrow, heaved a sigh, and (deciding to humour me) took the box to look more closely.

“Oh, yeah, I see,” he said, “and there’s a singing pig off to the left.”

I love that man.

I’ve inked in a few (including the singing pig) for your reference!






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