Friday, May 20, 2016

Cooking Seitan At Home

I've discovered a meat-like protein made from wheat gluten, otherwise known as Seitan. Yes, it's a funny name. I've found Seitan to be the closest plant based protein to meat in terms of texture.

In terms of other plant based protein, Quorn is not as flavoursome or economical as homemade Seitan. I limit soy/tofu from my diet as I've had a few hormonal issues. And I don't enjoy beans or pulses as they are too starchy. When I tried to become vegetarian, I missed the toothsome chew, the juiciness and flavour of meat.

I was put off by Seitan from the Chinese grocery store. It's known as mock meat but the main ingredient is wheat gluten. There was some frozen reptile looking "chicken" and "intestines" resembling turds. The mock duck tins from China didn't look appetising either.

I looked up a few recipes and ordered a bag of wheat gluten from Amazon. I've made it once so far and I'm storing it in the freezer. I use it for stir fries although it can also be chopped up for pasta sauce or chilli con carne.

Making your own Seitan is worth it if you do it in bulk as there's a long steam or baking period. The key is to cook it slow. Otherwise it gets a squishy, soggy sponge texture and the flavour get leached out. To cut down on cooking time, I sliced my raw Seitan into strips and steamed them single layer for 5 minutes. This was faster than cooking a hunk of it for an hour. After cooling, I put the pieces in the freezer. They should be fried for maximum chewiness.

The addition of Worcester sauce, vegetable stock, tomato powder and herbs helped the flavour alot. It was important to add some oil to give it juiciness. While Seitan won't ever taste like meat, (no matter what the recipe says), it's the closest thing I've come across as a substitute. Just make sure to include some nutritional yeast as wheat gluten is not a complete protein.

If you're trying to go meat free, even if it's for one meal a week and you're not gluten intolerant, Seitan is definitely worth a try.

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