You say Say-tan, I say See-tan. It doesn’t matter how you say it – well, at least not to me! But this plant based protein staple needs to be part of your repetoir, if it isn’t already …
Fondly known as “Wheat Meat” by most plant-based peep, Seitan is created by mixing Vital Wheat Gluten Flour with Water. If you check the ingredients of most commercial plant-based meat substitutes – such as Field Roast or Gardein – they are either made of soy or gluten, or a combo of both. Some might argue against consuming ‘processed’ foods, but I guarantee you that these ‘veggie meats’ are less processed than most meat on conventional supermarket shelves. And it’s a healthier, kinder and environmentally conscious choice.
Did you know?
14 pounds of Wheat, fed to a cow = 1 pound of Beef.
1 pound of Wheat = 1 pound of Seitan.
And we wonder why people are starving in the world … Crazy, isn’t it ??
Vital wheat gluten is a super-fine, powdery flour that is all gluten and very little starch. It’s not technically flour itself, but it’s made from the natural protein found in the endosperm of the wheat berry. The ‘flour’ is hydrated to activate the gluten and then processed to remove everything but that gluten. It’s then dried and ground back into a powder.
It is exceptionally high in protein. A 1/4 cup serving, which has only 120 calories, contains 23 whopping grams of protein! That meets a recommended daily protein requirement for many people.
Wheat Gluten can be used to make Seitan, but it can also be used by bakers to improving the elasticity and rise of their dough and the crumb and chewiness of their bread loaves. Most baking sources recommend about one tablespoon gluten for every 2-3 cups of flour.
Basic Boiled Seitan
Although being a vegetarian most of my adult life – 25+ years now – I only began making my own Seitan a few years ago.
And I can clearly recall my own first go at it. Wikipedia says that Seitan: “is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.” I think I did a bit more research, and that’s exactly what my friend Rob and I did … We took a bunch of regular all-purpose wheat flour, and wrung it out in water – which was a real workout by the way – until the flour finally formed up into a rubbery type of substance. I rolled it out as best I could, wrapped it around some stuffing, then put it in some water to simmer. In the end, we could have been eating shoe leather for dinner. Thank goodness for my gracious guest and helper!
I’m glad that I didn’t stop there, because today’s Wheat Meat – made from store-bought Gluten Flour – is tender, juicy and moist. And it’s SO easy … No wringing necessary !!!
Homemade Seitan can be as easy as combining 1 cup vital gluten flour with 1 cup water, quickly kneading it, then simmering it in water for an hour. But just as Emeril Lagasse likes to say “I don’t know about your ‘____’, but mine doesn’t come pre-seasoned!” Same goes for good Seitan. It’s all in how you season it.
Most recipes call for simmering seasoned Seitan in seasoned broth or water. This produces meat-like patties or chunks that can then be sauteed and used just like you would, say a chicken or a veal cutlet, or used as beef tips in stew.
I’ll post my own recipe for Basic Boiled Seitan below. Some of my favorite ways to use it include Seitan Picatta, Wheat Meat Diane over Mashed Potatoes, and the Re-Vealing Paprikash.
But today, I’m also going to share with you another way to prepare Seitan, which turns it into a product reminiscent of ham or salami. No pig needed !!
This delicacy comes from The Post Punk Kitchen, invented by Chef Lachesis, partner of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who is the author of the famed Veganimicon Cookbook. One day, Lachesis just felt like boiling seitan was “all wrong”! So instead, she spiced up her wheat gluten, mixed it with a tomato based liquid, then rolled it into a log, wrapped in aluminum foil and baked it for an hour.
In Veg*n circles, this method quickly became known as O’Seitan O’Greatness.
Isa notes: “Not since Jennifer Schmoo invented Vegan Twinkies, have I seen a recipe make the blog rounds like this one.”
The O’Seitan O’Greatness recipe is no longer found on the PPK web, but it can be located by clicking on the link below to SparkPeople.com. I’d post it here, but I like to give credit where credit is due, and avoid copyright issues.
I decided to try the O’Greatness in Isa’s “Seitan Chops Smothered in Apples and Ginger”.
I cut some of the log into slices, submerged them in veggie broth, covered the dish, and simmered the ‘cuts’ in the oven for 3o minutes or so.
What came out was delicious “Hammy Chops” and a residual gravy.
I then coated them in breading as instructed in the recipe, and pan fried them.
They were served under the delicious baked Ginger-Maple Apples, topped with crispy caramelized shallots, and served with a ‘helping’ of roasted baby carrots, sauteed red swiss chard, and simple brown rice.
Easter Supper won’t get much better than this!
I hope I’ve encouraged you to try making your own Seitan, Boiled or Greatness Style.
Oh, and BTW, I do believe it’s officially pronounced “Say-Tan”. But then again, I’m pop, not soda, VEE-gan, not VAY-gan 😉
Enjoy! And Happy Easter !!!
( . .)♥
c(”)(”) The Twisted Vegan
- DRY INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning, ground
- ½ teaspoon sage, ground
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- WET INGREDIENTS:
- ⅔ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
- 1 teaspoon steak sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- SIMMERING BROTH:
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Dry Ingredients: Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Wet Ingredients: Mix together the wet ingredients in a small bowl (or blend in magic bullet).
- Combine: Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir together with a wooden spoon. The dough should be firm, but workable (slowly add a bit more vegetable broth if needed - I've found that the gluten will stop absorbing liquid when it's happy). Knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes, or until a cohesive dough is formed. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine the simmering broth ingredients in an 11x13 glass casserole dish.
- Make the Patties: Divide the dough into 4 equal sized portions. Place each dough ball between two sheets of wax paper or thin plastic cutting boards. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until ¼" thick. The cutlet will be elastic and spongy, and will shrink back somewhat after rolling and during cooking.
- Fry the Cutlets: Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side.
- Braise the Cutlets in Broth: Submerge the cutlets in the simmering broth. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 1 hour, turning once.
- Remove from the oven, and let the seitan cutlets cool in the broth. The cutlets can be stored in the refrigerator in the broth for about 10 days, or freeze in the broth for up to 6 months. Dry off the seitan on paper towels before using in a recipe that calls for sauteing. The seitan cutlets can also be cut up into chunks for stews, just like you would beef.