Seitan Worship…not for the gluten-free
As we shift more and more back to being vegetarians, I have decided to experiment a bit. When we were in Montréal in the summer, I had seitan for the first time in my life. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical and my expectations were not super high. We were in an amazing Thai food restaurant, ChuChai, and I should have known better by the quality of the food we had already been served – exceptional! Anyway, one of the dishes our group ordered was a spicy “duck” dish…I was enthralled. Very duck-like, without the loss of any quackers. Totally guilt-free!
Now back at home, I decided to try to make my own seitan. Seitan is also known as “mock meat”, as its texture is more meat-like than tofu and through different seasonings, it can be made to mimic most meats. Realistically, it is not exactly the same as meat, but it is a tasty, and guilt-free, alternative. It can be made using regular flour, but that process involves washing the flour repeatedly to remove the starch, leaving the gluten. The gluten, when the seitan is cooked, is what gives it the chewy, meat-like texture.
I found this excellent recipe at the Post Punk Kitchen vegan site: http://www.theppk.com/2009/11/homemade-seitan
IsaChandra’s recipe seemed to me to be the most straightforward and easy to follow. There are also many helpful suggestions in the comment section below.
I will repeat IsaChandra’s recipe below, with some suggestions following with what to do with your homemade seitan.
“1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
For the simmering broth:
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
Fill a stock pot with the water, broth and soy sauce, cover and bring to a boil.
In the mean time, in a large bowl mix together gluten and yeast. In a smaller bowl mix together broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Pour the wet into the dry and combine with a wooden spoon until most of the moisture has absorbed and partially clumped up with the dry ingredients. Use your hands and knead for about 3 minutes, until it’s an elastic dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces with a knife and then knead those pieces in your hand just to stretch them out a bit. Let rest until the broth has come to a full boil.
Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the gluten pieces and partially cover pot so that steam can escape. Let simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn the heat off and take the lid off, let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove from broth and place in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. Slice and use as desired.”
Okay, it’s me again…first of all: DON’T throw the broth away. Store your seitan in it, and use it as you would any stock/veggie broth in your recipes.
This recipe, making three seitan sausage-like pieces, will make 6 servings.
It does look a little unappetizing in its newly poached form, but for recipes you cut it into slices, cubes, etc.
Now you have made your seitan, you can use it right away or store it in your fridge – I would think storage for up to a week is a reasonable amount of time.
My first attempts at cooking it in recipes, both successes, will be posted separately.
Be brave! I am sorry I brushed it off for so long. I am not a super-huge fan of tofu (not that I dislike it, it is just never my first choice), but I do like seitan.