What the heck is Seitan?

Posted on: January 24th, 2011 by admin 3 Comments

When most people hear the word seitan, instantly thoughts go to a demon with red horns. No, its not that…its actually a wheat mock meat that Buddhists have been eating in Asian for centuries. A lot of Asian supermarkets have it canned as “mock duck.” There are several different methods and ways you can prepare seitan. Even if you are an omnivore, I bet the taste of this will surprise and delight you. It even has the stringy, chewy texture of meat without the guilt, baggage, and dietary issues that come with eating it. A lot of people are steering away from wheat based foods because of the gluten-free craze that’s going around. Yes, its necessary for celiacs to maintain a gluten-free diet, but it won’t harm anyone else. Seitan actually contains a lot of healthy, low-fat protein and its way cheaper than buying meat if that’s what floats your boat.

One other ingredient you may not recognize is nutritional yeast. Its not the yeast you use to make your bread. Its a great source of vegetarian B12, and has a cheezy, nutty flavor. Its amazing in popcorn, sauces, and spreads. Red Star has a vegetarian support brand, I just use the nutritional yeast from my local health food store. Bob’s Red Mill also carries it, and most stores carry that brand (I live in Iowa and they have it here).

What you’ll need (I tweaked this recipe a bit from vegweb, here’s the main source: (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=33785.0):
1 cup vital wheat gluten (I use bob’s red mill brand)
3 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 TB canola oil or olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 TB soy sauce

1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the stock, oil, and soy sauce. Add to the dry ingredients and mix till you form dough
3. Knead the dough on a flat, clean surface (I like to use my cutting board).
4. Roll into a cylinder, and cut into whatever size pieces you’d like (thinner is better).
5. Bring a small saucepan to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can serve the seitan like this, or you can saute in a bit of cooking oil to get the skins to crisp a bit. This will give you a meatier texture.

I used this seitan in my “steak” fajita recipe and worked really well. My husband said it was his favorite meal of the week. Fajitas are pretty versatile, but here’s a basic recipe if you want to try out the meal featured in the pictures.

Seitan pieces (recipe above)
3 peppers, chopped (you can use green, red, yellow)
2 jalapenos, diced
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TB chili powder
3/4 cup salsa
1 TB cayenne hot sauce
lots of course, fresh ground pepper (fine ground pepper doesn’t taste as good)
taco shells or tortillas

Saute the peppers, onions, jalapeno, red onion on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add in the spices: chili, garlic, and pepper. Pour in cayenne sauce and salsa. Mix in the seitan after they are golden. Serve on tortillas or slightly warmed taco shells (microwave about 15 seconds on high).

3 Responses

  1. atriskyouth says:

    mmm you need to stop with these seitan recipes. Its making me hungry! This would go great over some white rice. Im going to go around my local markets and cross my fingers hoping I find some. I don't like traveling 30 minutes to a Trader Joes. Since I live in a less affluent area they don't have any of those stores that carry vegan items or healthy lifestyle items. Its just a city filled with fast food chains and liquor stores. :( I need to get some seitan soon.

  2. veggiebeauty says:

    I recommend buying in bulk from amazon, they have good prices if you buy a four pack of gluten and nutritional yeast. That stuff will keep forever, so I'd say go that route. I'm grew up in a town like that, I relate! This recipe is so versatile…you can change up the spices depending on what you're cooking.

  3. atriskyouth says:

    Thats a very good idea. Have you tried Soyrizo? I think its vegan. I gave some to my father and he actually thought it was the real thing. Seeing how we are Mexican and have real chorizo in stock at our house at all times, thats pretty good. I also enjoy the Yves ground beef which I think is vegan as well. Its very quick to cook, and you can throw it together with many things.

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