My experimenting with creating seitan has finally produced some great results! Here’s what I’m now doing for the “perfect” seitan:
- 1 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
- Seasonings (see “Hints & Tips”)
- Liquid (see “Hints & Tips”)
- In a bowl add the Vital Wheat Gluten and your seasonings.
- While stirring, slowly add the liquid until it you can no longer stir the mixture and it requires kneading.
- Continue to knead the mixture, adding liquid until it is a dough-like consistency.
- Add a little more liquid to make it a wet dough without dripping. This should allow elasticity to be less rubbery and much easier to break apart but not crumble. If it crumbles or becomes too wet, add more VWG by the teaspoon until corrected.
- Tear the dough into bite-size pieces (see “Hints & Tips”) and drop into bowling water.
- Allow to cook till fully expanded (roughly a half hour). Check the seitan after 20 minutes by tasting it, if it is no longer chewy and breaks apart in your mouth with little effort, its done.
- Remove from heat and strain seitan.
- You can now freeze the seitan, eat it as is, sautee or fry it. (see “Hints & Tips”)
Hints & Tips
Seasonings: I’ve discovered that you can easily flavor seitan with gravy or seasoning mix packets! Want something for burritos, add a packet (or equivalent spices) of taco seasoning. Want something a bit more “beef flavored”, try brown gravy mix! I’ve made a wonderful zesty, lemon & pepper seitan that is amazing in spring salad or over buttered pasta! Add oregano, thyme and basil for a more “Italian” taste! The only limitation is your imagination.
Liquid: Like the seasonings, the liquid you use for the seitan also affects the flavor. You can try broths, sauces (yes, even pre-made sauces such as spaghetti sauce), fruit juices (imagine some apple-mango seitan in your salad, cottage cheese or even in your salsa!), purees (try tomato puree for making meat balls), etc. Again, your only limits are your imagination and what’s in your pantry!
Size Matters: I’ve discovered that when cooking seitan, its better to keep the pieces bite size. Not only does it drastically reduce the cooking time (nearly in half), it allows you the ability to taste the seitan as its cooking to ensure it doesn’t get rubbery. Also, it allows for easier storage.
Cooking Tips: After boiling seitan, you can enjoy it as is, freeze it or cook it again later for a firmer feel. If you decide to cook it further, keep in mind that further boiling of the seitan will make it rubbery as will over frying it. I’ve found that adding a thin layer of oil to a pan and cooking the seitan for a few minutes that way gives the best “feel” without getting rubbery. DON’T BROWN! Browning seitan makes it very chewy!