Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seitan: the wheat meat

(You might want to sit down for this post, it's a long one)

Seitan is one of a handful of mock-meats that can be interchanged easily for meat in a recipe. I find it desirable because of its density and texture, which sets it apart from tofu which can be softer and more fragile. Seitan is just wheat gluten that is seasoned and cooked. It's made by washing away the starch of wheat flour with water until just the insoluble, elastic gluten is left. It is often hidden as a thickener in your food and you don't even think of it (I'm looking at you ice cream!).

In my world, Seitan takes a back seat to more accessible, less expensive, and more healthful meat substitutes like tempeh and tofu. Even the biggest grocery chains carry tofu readily. And I hesitate using the word "substitutes" because I am not looking for seitan to replace the void of a piece of meat. I appreciate seitan, for what it is, how it tastes and how it can be used in different recipes; not because of how closely it comes to beef.

It's been a while since I made something entirely new to me. So today I am excited to be making my own seitan. Really, the only thing I needed to do was buy some Vital Wheat Gluten from the store. Then I added water and spices from a recipe I found on the Post Punk Kitchen website. Besides some important details about temperatures and cooking, the whole process is fairly easy. I'll use photos to document my process:

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Once everything was mixed I formed it into a log and cut it into 3 parts and boiled it in veggie broth. This part looked pretty unattractive, I admit.
After cooking, then cooling, I sliced the seitan and browned it in nonstick pan. Then I scrownged together some burger material and made this delicious dinner sandwich!(The above photo is before I browned the seitan. I'm questioning even putting this photo up because it looks so weird)The final product tastes remarkably like meatballs or a burger, while the texture is firm yet chewy. This is definitely the seitan I know. I look forward to branching out with the seasoning and shaping of this seitan. Sausage links, watch out, I coming to get you!


bree said...

Seitan sammie, I coming to get YOU!
Captcha: blessne

Randi said...

well, okay. i'm going to leave the typo because it's kinda funny now. but i am still horrified that i can never catch all the typos no matter how many times i review.

Alan said...

+5 Insightful. Recipe?!


casey said...

next time you make this, I want some! or I want to try making it!