Seitan - The Vegetarian Meat

It's one of the best kept secrets in the world of vegetarians.
Well not anymore!!
I have made it my mission to tell the world about this fantastic meat alternative.
If you like fake meats then you are just gonna love this stuff!! Seitan (pronounced say-tahn) is by no means new. It has been a staple food among vegetarian monks of China, Russian wheat farmers, peasants of Southeast Asia and Mormons for years.
Seitan is derived from the protein portion of wheat. It stands in for meat in many recipes and works so well that a number of vegetarians avoid it because the texture is too "meaty."

Personally I stopped eating meat because I abhorred the cruelty and suffering involved - it had nothing to do with not liking the taste or texture of meat. And at the end of the day IT ISN'T meat.

Gluten can be flavoured in a variety of ways. When simmered in a traditional broth of soy sauce or tamari, ginger, garlic, and kombu (seaweed), it is called seitan. But I refer to all flavoured gluten as seitan as it just makes life easier.

Making seitan couldn't be easier and I've included my tried and tested method for you to have a go at yourself.

Gluten flour can be purchased at most health food shops at a very reasonable cost. Of course ready made seitan can also be bought but for twice the amount of money and less than half the fun. I have found that until you become familiar with the texture you are aiming for during the mixing and kneading process, the results will vary somewhat but don't let that put you off - I have done the trials and errors for you and if you follow my methods to the latter you will get perfect results everytime. Gluten containing more water or stock which has been kneaded less tends to get puffy instead of being dense. Some people prefer the less dense result, I know I do.

The added benefit of using this method is that you can flavour the gluten during the kneading process by adding herbs and spices of your choosing other than the traditional ginger and garlic. You can use poultry seasoning or chicken flavour broth powder to make a "chicken" flavoured seitan, or a blend with paprika, cayenne, fennel, garlic, and Italian seasoning for a "sausage" flavour.

Flavouring is limited only by your imagination.

Once made, seitan can be stored in the refrigerator for up to about a week. Individually-wrapped cutlets can be frozen for up to a month or more without a loss in texture or flavour. It is best to thaw them before using. Seitan's versatility lies in the myriad forms it assumes during the cooking process. I find baking to be the most effective. But it can be boiled, braised or cooked in a pressure cooker. Each version yields a different texture so you might want to experiment with this as well. Oven braising produces a texture similar to the chewy texture derived from simmering and baking produces a light texture that works well when grinding or grating seitan.

Making seitan and gluten will open up a new horizon for you in the world of vegetarian cooking. It is terrific in so many recipes from pies and stews to stir fries and casseroles.


Quick Homemade Seitan

Dry Ingredients
1 cup wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsps pepper (I use white)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary

Liquid Ingredients
3/4 cup Bisto gravy (made really thick)
2 Tblsp Tamarind Sauce
2 Tblsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tblsp Soy Sauce
1 Clove of garlic squeezed through a garlic mincer
2 Tblsp Water

Method
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, really well. Mix liquid ingredients in a separate bowl then add to dry ingredients. Whisk well with a fork so as everything is incorporated and forms into a dough. Knead dough for a few mins.

Double wrap in lightly oiled tin foil. If you want to shape the dough into a sausage then do so, rolling the foil round tightly and then twisting the ends.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees for 90 mins - turning over halfway through. Unwrap the seitan and leave to cool completely.

This is delicious sliced and used in sandwiches or in a salad. I cut half of mine into chunks and used in a casserole.

Seriously yum!!


How to make seitan How to make seitan How to make seitan How to make seitan
Sausage Dough Ready for the oven YUM YUM!
Shaped differently