Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vegan Seitan Recipe

Vegan Seitan Recipe
Shared by Juan

There are many many ways of preparing seitan. Every recipe I've found was somewhat different. Below is simply my own technique - I'm constantly revising it and experimenting with it, and encourage you to do the same.


wheat gluten flour
whole wheat flour
spices you choose
tomato juice
soy sauce

I've left the quantities out on purpose because apart from the two flours, I don't measure them; I add enough to get a certain effect. You'll see what I mean.

First, mix two parts gluten flour to one part whole wheat flour in a large bowl. For a group of 7 (and intending there to be some leftovers for lunch), I use four (4) cups gluten flour and two (2) cups whole wheat flour. This ratio is the first part you can experiment with; More gluten gives you a tougher "beefier" texture (to the point where it can get rubbery). Less gluten and more whole wheat flour gives you a looser "chickenier" texture (until it falls apart).

Then stir in the spices. These are entirely for flavor, and thus depend on what you're going to be using the seitan for. I tend to always include sage and salt, since they help give a beefy flavor. If I'm using the seitan for "meatballs" for pasta, I'll add basil, oregano, thyme or other italian spices. For General Tso's, I use ginger, anise, and a little mustard. Add whatever flavors you like! The more you add, the stronger the flavor, so I end up adding a lot of sage (probably close to a full cup for the amount of flour above). If the sauce I'm making has a strong flavor, I may not bother to spice it as heavily, since I don't need the seitan's taste to stand out.

Add the liquid. Most seitan recipes use water to make the dough. I use tomato juice (lots) and soy sauce (a little). We make our tomato juice ourselves, and so it has few tomato solids in it; you can see through it. If you're using commercial stuff, I'd water it down until it fits that description. Again, it adds flavor - use whatever you want. For the ratio above, I end up using about 5-6 cups of juice and half a cup or so of soy sauce. Stir the mixture with a big spoon as you add the liquid. There will come a point where you'll have to put aside the spoon and use your hands to knead in the liquid, as it gets doughy fast. Your final result should be a slightly wet ball of dough, so stop when you get that.

Knead the ball of dough for at least 5 minutes - you'll know you're done when there's no part of the dough ball that looks stringy and falls apart.

Grab a big pot and add water to it. We'll be chopping up and putting the seitan dough in it, so make sure it's both big enough to hold enough water to cover it and that you leave enough room when you add the seitan that it won't overflow. Add a little salt and/or soy sauce to the water - it helps keep the spices from leeching out of the dough. Bring it to a boil.

It should take a few minutes for your pot to boil. Let the dough rest a few minutes, then pull out a chopping board and a knife (I use a big butcher knife) and start cutting it into small cubes. Seitan expands as it cooks, so make 'em smaller than bite-size. Your knife will get sticky, but it washes off.

When the water's boiling (or close to it), put in your chopped cubes. Let boil for ~30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure no stubborn pieces are stuck to the bottom and burning. The seitan will sink when raw, float when cooked.

Note: 30 minutes is overkill for boiling seitan. Some recipes call for as short as 5 minutes for chopped pieces. I leave them in for the full 30 in order to be absolutely sure every piece is fully cooked, and to take the time to make a side dish or put the rice on.

After they're done, take the seitan out of the water - you can use a sieve to fish them out if you want to save the water (good soup stock), or just strain it like you would pasta.

At this point, the seitan is cooked, but I prefer a drier texture, so I oil up a couple of big cookie sheets, spread the seitan cubes out on them (doesn't matter if they touch), and put them in the oven at 350F for about 40 minutes (but it can be more), flipping them over every 20 minutes or so to make sure they don't stick to the trays. Another good idea is to fry the cubes in a pan for a crispy outside.

Voila. The seitan is ready to be added to your meal.


Anonymous said...

Awesome recipe! Have you tried the home made corned seitan recipes yet? The recipe is supposedly home made seitan with beet coloring, run through a pasta machine; cut on angel hair setting. I guess the seitan is then bundled with cheese cloth - to kind of resemble the shape of "corned beef" and put in the brine for a couple of days. Most likely great with potatoes and cabbage!

Anonymous said...

I will try this route of making seitan this week. Looks very yummy!

McMama said...

Ok I tried simmering seitan ONCE and failed miserably. I've baked it since. I'm going to have to try this for a different texture, though! Thanks!