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Savory Homemade Seitan

May 1, 2011

Finally, weather is lovely in New York!  Trees and shrubs are in full bloom with a delicate rainbow of pastels and I can finally see green grass sprouting in the former muddy sloshes.  I believe this calls for a picnic!

Nothing says picnic like  barbecue seitan sandwiches.  Seitan is an all natural “wheat meat.” A food that is made of wheat gluten, the protein from whole wheat flour.  Combined with seasonings and some liquid, seitan is boiled, then ready for consumption. Although you can go further with the cooking and fry it, add it to stew, barbecue it etc.  The texture can be chewy or tough, depending on how it is cooked after the boiling process.  And by tough, I mean, you may need a steak knife for this vegan dish!  Sound complicated to make?  Well, it’s absolutely not!

There are actually two ways to start making seitan.  You can make your own wheat gluten from scratch by separating the starch from the protein of  whole wheat flour.  Separation is done by kneading and rinsing dough under running water.  This process can be time-consuming and a little messy, but there are plenty of good “how-to” videos online.  If you go through this process, you’re a champ!  The second option is simply to purchase vital wheat gluten from the market.  Brands may vary in price, but I purchased a 22 oz bag (5 cups) of Bob’s Red Mill at the regular local grocery for less than $7.

Seasoning seitan can be done almost anyway your heart desires.  Go wild.  My friend Patrick helped get me addicted to nutritional yeast, so for me it’s a vital seasoning.  If you’ve never used nutritional yeast, go for it!  It’s not the yeast used to make breads rise.  In fact, it’s inactive, but primarily used as a seasoning because of it’s nutty, cheese-like flavor. Beware that making seitan will cause your whole house to smell like gravy/brothy goodness.   Neighbors may inquire. 

Savory Homemade Seitan
Serves 10-12

2 c. vital wheat gluten
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 tsp marjoram
1 c. warm vegetable broth
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. water
3 c. broth
4 c. water
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped or minced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat part of a knife blade, skin removed and left ‘whole’
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1: In a large bowl, mix gluten flour with nutritional yeast and marjoram.
2: In a medium or large bowl, stir together 1 cup broth, soy sauce and 1/4 cup water.  Slowly stir the broth together with the gluten mixture. Once the mixture thickens, use your hands to knead into a dough that is tough and elastic, but not too sticky, about 2 minutes. Form into a loaf and set aside.
3: Meanwhile add remaining ingredients (below the line) to a large cooking pot. Heat on the stove at medium-high.
4: With a serrated knife or kitchen shears, cut the seitan loaf into 1-2 inch chunks or 1/2-1 inch thick slices.  (Note that the seitan will enlarge during the cooking process, so don’t cut the pieces too large.  Also, do not pile the seitan pieces as you cut them.  They have a tendency to stick back together.  Keep separated until placed in the broth.)
5: Place seitan pieces into the broth mixture on the stovetop. Cover slightly and bring to a boil.  As soon as it begins to boil, turn down the heat and simmer 1 hour.  Stir occasionally.  (Make sure the broth does not boil again, as it will alter the texture of the seitan.)
Use a draining spoon to remove seitan. Set broth aside for another recipe (ie gravy, stew etc).  Seitan is now ready to be sautéed, fried, baked, added to stew or made into a sandwich.

* For a Quick BBQ Seitan Sandwich…
1: Heat 2 teaspoons-1 Tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Sauté  4-6 large seitan slices until browned on both sides.  Smear both sides of seitan with your favorite barbecue sauce.  Cook on both sides about 30 seconds, then remove from heat.  Add to a bun with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2011 4:09 pm

    Yay nutritional yeast! I owe my sister Meredith for recommending that to me.

    Anyway, these look awesome.

  2. thesavvystudent permalink
    May 3, 2011 7:38 pm

    These photos are absolutely beautiful and the meal sounds good too!

  3. May 3, 2011 11:15 pm

    I can’t wait to try this. I haven’t made my own seitan yet because it always seemed like so much work. I love the shortcut about using the vital wheat gluten.

  4. May 4, 2011 9:13 am

    Using molasses probably really makes this recipe. Awesome photo.

  5. Cat from Measuring Spoons permalink
    May 18, 2011 2:45 pm

    This looks delicious! I think I’m going to have to add you to my google reader, as we seem to be on the same page with a lot of things. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Whisks & Chopsticks permalink
    May 21, 2011 11:39 am

    My Mom makes something similar from scratch too. She uses high gluten flour. She “washes” it several times and let it dry before cooking. Fry it then stir-fry with vegetables or uses it in curry dishes. Very tasty.

  7. June 3, 2011 11:30 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try seitan but I can’t find it in a store– so maybe I will have to try your recipe!

    • June 4, 2011 10:25 am

      If you find vital wheat gluten, making your own seitan is very easy and you can control the flavor. Let me know how it goes if you try it!


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