This old fashioned Mock Chicken recipe is a firm family favourite.
All of my aunts and cousins will think of just one person when this recipe is mentioned: our Nan MacDonald, Nana Ling's daughter.
Nan Mac, as we all called her, would turn up at our family gatherings with both arms weighed down by her cooking.
You could be sure that amongst the goodies, you'd find these two things: a dish of Mock Chicken and a perfectly baked and decorated sponge cake.
The Mock Chicken disappeared fast. Most of us didn't know what went into, we just knew it tasted great piled on top of a Jatz cracker.
It seems I may have found the source of this much-loved recipe in Nana Ling's recipe book. A recipe for "Mock Fowl".
What is Mock Chicken?
Mock chicken doesn't contain any chicken, but the recipe does include an egg!
It can be used the same way as chicken, and enjoyed with some veges, as a sandwich filling or atop a cracker.
It was popular at a time when chicken and other meats may have been a luxury.
Nana Ling’s recipe is dated December 1941, a time when Australia had just declared war on Japan and learnt that 645 crewmen had been lost with the sinking of the HMAS Sydney following a battle with a German raider off the Western Australian coast.
It’s not surprising that I’ve stumbled across quite a few “mock” recipes in her notebook. Rationing of food and clothes happened in Australia from 1942.
Are we falling in love with this depression-era dish again?
Although it may have been a meat substitute during poorer times, it definitely isn't a poor substitute, taste-wise.
Of course, these days mock meat is popular for entirely different reasons, too.
Many people switch to vegetarianism for weight loss, health-related and environmental reasons.
Perhaps Mock Chicken is ripe for a comeback? I can almost see Nana Ling and Nan Mac smiling at that thought!
Ingredients for Mock Chicken
To make Mock Chicken, you'll need:
- small onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 dessert spoon butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs.
My Aunty Judy also now adds a tablespoon of grated cheese to the mix.
This recipe calls for a peeled tomato.
Peeling tomatoes is a little different compared with peeling your standard fruit and vegetables.
While it may seem a little fiddly, it’s an interesting process and delivers a lovely, clean result. Much nicer than the mushy mess you’d be left with if you attempted this process with a peeler.
Making Mock Chicken
Peeling the tomato
First, prepare a saucepan of boiling water and a bowl of cold water.
Wash tomatoes and remove the stem.
Cut a shallow X in the bottom of the tomato using a small, sharp knife.
Place the tomato into the boiling water and after about 20 seconds the skin around the X should start to split further.
Immediately remove from boiling water and place into the bowl of cold water.
You should be able to remove the thin outer skin of the tomato quickly and easily with your hands.
Once cooled, chop the tomato and set aside.
Cooking it all up
Add the finely chopped onion to a frying pan and cook until clear.
Add butter and tomato to pan and cook well.
Beat egg and add to mixture along with herbs and cheese (if you're adding cheese).
Cook and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Blend a little with a stick blender or chopper if desired to achieve a finer texture or serve as is.
Nana Ling's original handwritten Mock Chicken recipe
Keep scrolling to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the tested and tweaked version.
- 1 small onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 dessert spoon butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 1 tablespoon grated cheese (optional)
- Peel tomato and chop. Set aside.
- Add finely chopped onion to a frying pan and cook until clear.
- Add butter and tomato to pan and cook well.
- Beat egg and add to mixture along with herbs. Cook and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Blend a little with a stick blender or chopper if desired to achieve a finer texture or serve as is.
- Serve cool.
- Let the mixture cool slightly for about 5 mins, then use a stick blender for a few seconds to create a smoother-textured Mock Chicken
- You can also add a tablespoon of grated cheese to the ingredients (Nan Mac did this – maybe their generation had times a little better to add the cheese to recipe).