Seitan is a thing I had never heard of until going vegan. For the uninitiated, it’s essentially wheat gluten made into a solid form that can use in similar ways to meat. Apparently it is often used in Asian cookery. I had seen it for sale ready-made in health food shops, but hadn’t tried it. A few days ago a friend shared a recipe for making it at home. It looked straightforward so I thought I’d give it a go. I was tempted to try it in the slow-cooker, so also found this recipe, but in the end I didn’t have time so did a mixture of both recipes.
The starting point for seitan is vital wheat gluten – I think this is basically wheat flour with the starch removed, and it’s about 75% protein. I picked this up at Alternative Stores in Newcastle. It was less than £5 for 1kg, which was good value. I used 270g for this recipe and it made loads, so this isn’t an expensive recipe.
I added nutritional yeast, bouillon powder, onion powder and garlic powder and mixed it up. Using the dough hook attachment in the food processor, I added the wet ingredients (water, soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice). After a couple of minutes I had a springy, stretchy dough. Quite strange stuff! I divided it into two loaf shapes.
I boiled up a broth using water, soy sauce, bouillon powder, garlic, onion and some herbs. I reduced it to a very low simmer and popped in the seitan. I gave it 45 minutes and then 15 minutes to rest in the broth, before removing it and letting it drain.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to serve with this, and in the end it was a case of using up what we had in the cupboard. I roasted some charlotte potatoes and shallots along with some olive oil, cider vinegar, sage and nutritional yeast to make it all more interesting. I’ve been really enjoying the lemon and olive kale recipe from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook that I wrote about previously so added that to this meal too.
The broth looked too good to waste, so I added some arrowroot powder to thicken it up into gravy. While the kale and potatoes were cooking I sliced the seitan and pan-fried it.
Wow! This stuff is amazing. Chewy, dense and flavoursome – I really liked it. It’s not like eating meat, it’s more like the kind of dumplings you get in some European countries. I made too much, and am now feeling really stuffed! Pan frying it was really good, I loved the crispy texture it gave it.
I can see this working in lots of different ways. Kebabs, burgers, pies and stews would all work. I can also see it being good cold. Lots of possibilities with flavours too – chili, BBQ, herbs. I shall definitely be making this again!