Sunday, June 7, 2009

Making seitan (aka "wheat meat")

A while back I told you that I was going to try a seitan recipe from GOOP. The reason that I didn't do this sooner is that it was that I haven't been able to find seitan. Anywhere.

I started to think that maybe it was something that didn't come ready-made, or at least not in Ottawa. So, I decided to make my own.

There were several different methods that I found on the Internet. I followed these (more or less).

Here are the basic instructions with pictures:

Combine gluten flour with soya sauce and spices until it forms a rubbery ball.

Knead the ball; let it rest for 5 min; kneed again.

Form into ¾-inch thick “steaks.” Note: the seitan will fight you on this.

Boil for about an hour in a broth. I used 8 cups water, ¼ cup soya sauce, ¼ cup ketchup and a few slices of onion. One seitan recipe cautioned to not be alarmed if the seitan looks like “brains” while cooking, so, I remained calm.

Once the steaks were done (or so I surmised) I made the recipe below, adapted from GOOP.



Seitan steaks
½ cup flour
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 pinches salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced thin
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup white wine
1/3 cup water
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


Fill a covered dish or a baggie with flour, breadcrumbs and salt. Shake the seitan around. Sprinkle off the excess flour mixture as you put them in a pan with two tablespoons of the olive oil and garlic. Fry till golden. Set on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the onion, garlic and two more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan you just used to cook the seitan. When the onions soften, add the lemon juice, white wine and water. Add the liquids slowly and reserve a little in case you need to add more. Cook for a few minutes until thickened.

Verdict: Okay. It tasted and looked more like Salisbury steak than anything else, probably owing to my broth, which made it a bit of an odd combination with the lemon sauce.

Also, the seitan was a little spongy, which I heard it should not be, so maybe I didn’t boil it (or knead it?) long enough, or something. I really can’t be sure.

I don’t think I’ll be making this again anytime soon, but I am still on the hunt for the ready-made kind.




ETA: I just tried seitan at a gourmet vegan restaurant and it tasted just like mine. I feel validated.

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