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Cooking Experiment: Seitan

Disclaimer: Seitan is made with vital wheat gluten and just as the name implies, its derived from wheat.  If you are gluten sensitive or your doctor/nutritionist advises against wheat products, this is NOT a recipe for you!  I, on the other hand, have the opposite issue and am sensitive to soy and need a new form of meat alternative.

Seitan is a meat alternative used a lot in Asian cooking.  Previously, I’ve always used tofu as my faux meat of choice as its easier to come by, I can blend it into smoothies and…well, to be honest, I never realized how utterly simple Seitan is to make!

Seitan can be created with as few as two ingredients: vital wheat gluten and water.  To make the most basic recipe slowly poor water into one cup of vital wheat gluten until it begins to become a dough and no powder is left.  You’ll need to mix it by hand and not with a processor as it tends to make it rubbery.  Once you have the dough, tear it into cutlets and boil in water for about an hour or until it expands fully and is firm.

Yeah… that easy!

Naturally I see things like this as a beautiful, clean, fresh palette with which to create some truly interesting dishes.  So for my first experiment with Seitan, I’ve decided to go all carnivore-like and make it beefy!  Here’s what’ I’ve done:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 packet of brown gravy (roughly an ounce)
  • Garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup (approx) Beef Broth (vegan beef flavored broth is also good)
  • Broth or water for simmering
  • Options: Soy or Worcestershire sauce added to the broth

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl add all dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Slowly add the broth to the powder until the all the powder is formed into a dough.  I started with a knife to mix it at first then quickly moved to kneading the mixture.
  3. Knead until mixed well.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large pot, add enough broth/water (or mixture of both) to cover the dough and leave plenty of room for expansion (it will expand to about 1/3 its size).
  6. Simmer for about an hour or until seitan has fully expanded.
  7. Cook according to the recipe (fried, browned, baked, etc.)
  8. Or freeze in an airtight ziploc bag or container until ready for use.

Results of my first attempt at seitan?

Wonderful!  It came out a bit chewy but looks and smells just like ground meat and tastes quite good!  We have a WINNER!

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