Tonight I made seitan!
It’s a vegan protein source made from vital wheat gluten. It can be made in a wide range of textures. There are probably a zillion million fajillion ways to make it. Sometimes you may hear it called “fake meat” or “wheat meat”. I don’t like to eat things that are “fake”, though; I like to eat real food, and seitan is real food. I don’t feel like it needs to pretend to be “meat”, either; I like it just fine as its own thing. There are various recipes that focus on making it taste and feel similarly to the meat of a particular animal; that’s not what I’m really interested in. I like my seitan to just be seitan.*
It came out so well I decided it was necessary to write down what I did, or at least, a general approximation of what I did. I looked at a few different recipes, giggled maniacally at them, and then just started throwing stuff in on faith. This is normally the way I cook, but usually if I’m trying something COMPLETELY new, I at least follow a recipe ONCE.
I made a bowl of dry ingredients: 2 cups vital wheat gluten, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, about a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper. (You can use whatever spices you like. Next time I might try it with another ¼ cup of some other kind of flour too.)
I put about 12 cups of water to boil. I added veggie bouillion cubes – I used the “2-cup” cubes, but I only used 3 (so if you’re following along with maths, you want to use HALF the number of bouillion cubes that you would expect to use for the amount of water…and now having done it, I probably would use even less next time, or go with low-salt bouillion!) . You could also add veggies to your broth if you want to make a proper stock.
I chopped up a medium-sized onion and a bunch of garlic. I chopped pretty coarsely – no mincing today. I sauteed first the onion and then the garlic in olive oil. I added about a tablespoon and a half of tomato sauce. I stirred it. I added a bunch of Bragg’s. I stirred it. I added it to the pot of water.
I added about a cup and a half of water, and a few squirts of Bragg’s, to the dry ingredients. I realized right away that it was too much liquid (hence, the plan to add flour next time); I was basically wringing out my dough as I kneaded it. Knead the dough for a while. I’m not sure how to explain how I knew it was done….you can’t knead it too much, is generally the way I think it goes.
I then ripped my blob of dough into chunks and plopped each chunk in the broth. Remember that your chunks are going to expand a lot while they cook, so keep that in mind as you think about what size to make them. Then I reduced the heat to a simmer, put a lid on the pot, and boiled it for about an hour and a half.
Finally, I used tongs to transfer the boiled seitan to a colander. I used a pot lid to press as much liquid as possible out of the seitan.
Stay tuned…I’ll let you know what I do with it next!
*I don’t hate on fake meat products. I eat them. They’re tasty. I just feel like I’m perfectly happy for them to not be meat, and to just be their own tasty vegan food thing!