March 15, 2016 by Virginia James
Did you know you could create your own mock-meat? I recently discovered the power of ‘Seitan’ (pronounced like satan), and all of its nutritious benefits!-Thanks to a fellow blog reader, of course. I must admit, I’m no stranger to trying new things. Often I’ll try something even if I just know I’m going to regret it. So it was no surprise that when I made this, I was the first one to grab a bite.
So, what is Seitan?
It is basically a mock-meat which is made from Vital Wheat Gluten, which is the isolated protein found in wheat. It was pretty much the number one meat substitute for buddhists back in the 6th century… so yeah, you could definitely say this is NOT something new. The oldest reference to wheat gluten appears in the Qimin Yaoshu, a Chinese agricultural encyclopedia written by Jia Sixie in 535. It is derived mostly of the wheat gluten with little to no starch.
Okay, so it’s been around for quite a while, but… what’s so great about it?
Well, in terms of a vegetarian/plant-based diet, it makes for a great substitute for meat. And in terms of your average western/American diet, it offers lots of added nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium and with 21 grams of protein per serving, how could you go wrong?
Okay, I get it -it’s good for you… but what does it taste like? …Well, it really depends on how you like it. You can make seitan yourself by buying the vital wheat gluten and creating the ‘dough’ to cook, fry, season it however you’d like; you could also buy it already prepared. It comes in ‘chicken strips’, ‘pulled pork’, and ‘deli slices’ (find it in the tofu section at the market)…to name a few. It has the same flavor-absorbing component that tofu has, so it really just tastes like whatever you put on it, making the possibilities endless! That’s part of the reason I’m glad I discovered this -it allows me to expand my culinary creativity :).
So, How do you make it? I really want to emphasize that you can pretty much manipulate the flavor here; more than you would with a piece of chicken, which is what makes this so much fun to work with. Not only can you manipulate the flavor, you can manipulate the texture as well! What I’ll be writing up on this post, is a recipe for ‘Crispy Seitan Tenders’. Keep in mind, you could always save yourself a few steps by going out and buying prepared seitan in strip form and skip a few steps. But me? No way! I love to get my hands dirty in the kitchen.
Why should I eat it? If you’re vegetarian/vegan, it’s a great meat alternative. If you’re a carnist/omni meat eater, it’s a cheaper way to enjoy some chicken tenders. Seriously. One box of this has 2-4 servings, depending on how you use it…. and only costs about $3-depending on the style you buy. But prices for chicken, on the other hand, have been rising every year -and keep going up! On top of that, supply can be affected by seasonal diseases such as the bird flu -yuck!
So, let’s get our hands dirty and get started!
First, let’s make that Seitan. The following recipe for Seitan is the basic recipe that can be found in the back of a Bob’s Red Mill bag of Vital Wheat Gluten:
Basic Seitan Ingredients
- 2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
- 1/2 tsp. Sage
- 1 tsp. Marjoram
- 1 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 2 cups Water
- 6 cups Water
- 2 Tbsp Molasses
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Bring to a boil the water for the broth, molasses and soy sauce.
Mix together the gluten flour and spices. Add water to mixture and stir into a sponge-like dough. This should not be excessively wet. Knead dough a minute to make dough tougher and more elastic. Cut into 2 x 2 inch pieces and place into boiling broth. Cook in broth for about 1 hour, lowering heat as needed. Drain and use seitan for a stir-fry, sandwiches, stews and more. Makes 12 servings.
For the Crispy Seitan Tenders
Now that the seitan is prepared, let’s get cracking with making them into chicken tenders (almost).
What you’ll need:
- Non-dairy milk, as needed (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- Flour, as needed to coat the fingers
- 1 cup oil to deep fry- I used canola oil
- Bread Crumb Mixture:
- One cup vegan bread crumbs (or bake a basic pizza dough and stick in blender/food processor)
- 1/2 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper (or both!)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (our best friend!)
- When your seitan is done either slice into strips or tear into pieces – really it just depends on how messy you’d like to get 🙂
- Pour oil into a pan and put on medium heat and let it warm up while you prepare the rest
- Prepare your bread crumb mixture by mixing all ingredients listed above in italic
- Dip each piece of in the milk
- Coat in the flour on both sides
- Press each side firmly down in the bread crumb mixture
- Drop into the oil and fry until both sides are browned
- Take out with tongs (this is easiest, trust me!) and place on a plate or bowl to cool. If you feel the oil is in excess, line the plate/bowl with paper napkins to absorb.
- After cooled, serve over mixed greens and top with a handful of clover sprouts.
Serve on a salad, make into sandwiches, or just dip into your favorite sauces and enjoy every bite!
Did we just make that?! You have a lovely dish of prepared mock-meat without all of the preservatives and added sodium that store bought wouldn’t have! What more could you ask for?
I wish I would have heard of Seitan much sooner- this is one of the best mock-meats you could possibly eat- especially if made by hand with the Vital Wheat Gluten. It is extremely nutritious, and with the added Nutritional Yeast, we get the added B vitamins that my veggie peeps need 🙂
Would I make it again? Most Definitely!
Recipe Score: 10/10
Want to de-veganize it??
I’m not the kind of person to keep my recipes only for veggie people. I’m not greedy! To keep your meat, skip the seitan and use actual chicken strips, and serve with bbq sauce on the side.
I hope you enjoy! …and as always, contact me HERE with any questions, comments, or other recipes on the web you’d like me to try out!