Intros and Inspirations
I guess I've been making seitan too long since I had to think about where my homemade seitan process began. I found a recipe online and adapted it. This is for certain: the need arose out of thriftiness. Some might say cheap-skate-ness. It's a heck of a lot more economical to make your own, and quite easy. This recipe will cost you about $4.50 for a couple pounds, or .56 per serving. That's crazy!
Since seitan is made from the protein part of the wheat (gluten) it is extremely high in protein. As with all non-animal products, it's cholesterol free.
Finally, it's tasty as all heck and holds up great whether BBQ'd, skewered, or stir-fried. I believe that we as a culture are just at the tip of the seitanic iceberg and more variations are forthcoming. If you have any, feel free to post them below.
My previous recipe called “Saved by Seitan” featuring Chef Shirle and Phil & Brad of Megafaun is also available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-XJjQip44M
This version is not too dissimilar: based on inspiration from this Vegan Sausage recipe I added some friendly Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Flour to the mix and reduced the salt.
History of Dish
“Wheat gluten...is believed to have originated in ancient China, as a meat substitute for adherents of Buddhism....One story attributes the invention of imitation meat to chefs who made it for Chinese emperors who, traditionally, observed a week of vegetarianism each year.”
It is the stuff of royalty!
Yield and Pre-heat
Eight 'servings' of about ½ cup each.
Order of preparation: Start your stock, then stir your dry ingredients together while the stock heats.
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
- 2 T olive oil
- Add to broth: fresh sage, garlic, onion...or whatever spices float your gluten boat
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's Redmill – available in the health sections of most stores)
- ½ cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
- ¼ nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 T ground pepper
Put all the “broth” ingredients in a large pot (I use a cast-iron cauldren) and set heat to medium-high to begin heating.
Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients with a fork.
Once almost boiling, reduce heat to simmer/low.
Scoop out 11/2 to 2 cups broth and add to the dry mixture and stir with your fork as the broth might be too hot (It will be hard to handle with a fork and you will need to switch to clean-hand kneading in a moment.)
Knead by pulling the dough almost apart and together, folding in on itself (see the video if needed). You can also punch it. The idea is to get it very elastic and firm, or as Phil said, “brain-like.” Most recipes call for 5 minutes kneading, but I usually knead for 2-3 minutes only until the desired firmness is achieved and the dough is a big ball.
Once consistency is reached, tear the ball in half. Carefully drop each half into the now-hot broth.
Make sure the heat is turned to low so it just simmers.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then flip. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes.
Since it's summertime, lately I've been going the easy route with these suckers. Once boiled, let it cool and drip-dry in a sieve. Then, cut the seitan ball into small shishkabob pieces, and marinade in your favorite BBQ sauce. Skewer, then place in aluminum foil to BBQ. Right before it's ready, seer on the grill for those pretty lines. This way it won't dry out. Or you can baste them and not use the foil as a random 4th of July party-goer suggested.
Another favorite is to coat them in a mixture of oat flour, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast, then lightly fry in a cast-iron pan. Delicious coating almost like Shake-n-Bake. Which should be the standard of excellence for all foods.
I interrupted Rob's practice to ask him to pose for these seitan shots.
With the flash on:
Another happy customer.
Rob post-bite and prior to throwing seitan chunks across the room after one too many takes of this pose.
Also brought this new version out at parties, and it's a hit. Whether or not the praise is statistically significant is a debate for another blog....or up to you. I'd love to hear your variations. Post them below if you'd like. I want to figure out a way to make seitan have fatty pockets. Any discoveries of how to do this would be worth 1,000 drachmas.