Friday, March 2, 2012

Homemade "Wheat Meat" a.k.a. Seitan

Seitan, pronounced SAY-tan, is an ancient meat substitute dating back centuries. Back then it took a lot of work to "wash" a wheat dough to keep just the gluten (wheat protein). Nowadays, we're blessed with the ability to purchase "Vital Wheat Gluten" (get it from the bulk area of your store and you'll save big over buying the prepackaged stuff) to make this meat substitute.

This recipe is a little more time consuming than others that I have posted, but I think you'll like it. It also uses some "unusual" ingredients, but you can order all of them online at Bob's Red Mill if you don't have an easily accessible market like Whole Foods or Oliver's like we do here in California.

You'll notice I do not call for any salt in this recipe; that's because all the salt should come from your simmering broth. Otherwise, you'll have inedible, overly salted fake meat.

*3/8 to 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
*1/4 cup nutritional yeast
*1/2 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
*1 Tbs onion powder
*1 Tbs garlic powder
*1 tsp smoked paprika
*2 tsp ground thyme
*2 tsp ground oregano
*1 tsp ground dry mustard
[alter the spices/herbs to your own liking]
*1-2 cups warm water or flavored low-sodium broth (or regular broth, watered down)
*4 cups flavored broth for simmering

1) Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, using a whisk to make sure all ingredients are evenly dispersed.

2) Using a wooden spoon, slowly add 1 cup of warm water/broth to the dry ingredients, and mix well. Add more water/broth until the dough is an ugly brown sponge-like product. If it looks too wet or sticky, add a little more of the garbanzo flour to even it out.

3) Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The more you work this dough, the more of a meaty texture it will get because the kneading activates the gluten (protein). This is also why you don't overwork bread doughs - tough and chewy not good for bread.

4) Shape into thin patties or nugget shapes and drop into SIMMERING broth. Allow to simmer for about an hour. Keep checking to make sure your liquid hasn't boiled away. Also, keep it on a simmer to gently cook the seitan.

5) Allow to cool and drain in a colander. If the seitan is kind of spongey and wet, simply squeeze out the excess liquid in a flour sack towel.

6) Pan fry, bread, sautee, stirfry, or grill your creation with your choice of veggies, sauce, etc. I like them like chicken nuggets with barbecue or sweet and sour sauce.

This is vegan if you use vegan broth.
This is not vegan if you, like me, like regular chicken broth or Knorr Homestyle Stock.
Beef flavored broth will yield you a more beefy flavored seitan.

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