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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seitan (A Meat 'Analog')


My son was inquiring the other day about making seitan (pronounced say-tan). Seitan is a low calorie, high protein wheat gluten of which you make a dough to simmer in a broth; it can then be used in a variety of ways (sliced, chunked, ground) . Tubs of the flour are available at Fortino's in the organic section, Bulk Barn, Goodness Me and the Horn of Plenty. There are packaged, prepared setian products sold at Goodness Me and Horn of Plenty, but they are expensive for the portion size. Making your own seitan is very inexpensive and fairly quick.

As the adjective 'analog' implies, seitan has similar properties to traditional meat in dishes. It can be used in a stew (Affinity serves a mouth-watering stew with seitan chunks), ground up for chilli's or spaghetti.

Should you be looking for a meat substitute, try the following recipes.

First step is to make the Gluten dough:

1 cup of instant gluten flour
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Add water to gluten flour and salt.
Using your hands, mix quickly to avoid the flour clumping.
Knead gently into a flat dough of about 2" thick.
Steam or boil dough for 30 minutes
for making into Seitan by following the recipe that follows.

Making Seitan:
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 chopped onion and 5 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger and thyme
2-4 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

Heat both oils in a pan, saute the onions, garlic, ginger and thyme
until onion is tender. Add the water, tamari and gluten.
Bring mixture slowly to boil and simmer over a very low heat
for about 45 minutes. After the seitan is ready, any broth that
didn't get absorbed may be thickened with arrowroot, cornstarch
or flour as a gravy to serve over the seitan.

(For other recipes and information about Seitan, click on the post TITLE to be connected to a site devoted to Seitan or 'kofu' as it is also known.)

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17 comments:

Fresh from the Source said...

I haven't made seitan because the way I was taught, though enjoyable, it took a long time. This looks very easy. And, thanks, for naming the local distributors, including the places that aren't so expensive. I'll try this recipe.

Compassionate Consumption said...

Hello 'Fresh...',
I think I know what you mean by the "long time" method. If you do check out the link I attached to the post title, you will be redirected to a Seitan devotee site. The seitan recipes I have read used the gluten flour. However, traditionally or should I say authentically, you can use regular flour (as the site will explain). Come to think of it, I am now remembering a Chinese cooking class I took a couple of years back. The chef made the dough for the dim sum in exactly the same way...flour, pinch of salt (I think) and water...Voila... this nice stretchy dough.
The times I have made seitan, I was not too excited about the end result. In retrospect, I think the magic bullet is in the seasoning.
So, armed with new resolve, I am going to make a batch this afternoon. Will add critiquing comments once tasting is complete.
Thanks for your comment!
Michele / Prasad

seriously amused photoblog said...

I made seitan for the first time ever a few weeks ago and find it easy to make (quick and easy gluten flour method you mentioned on top). Next time I'll try your broth recipe.

By the way, I don't know if you've tried this, but I've coated seitan slices in flour and then fried them. They're great in sandwiches and with pasta. I also find that adding dry roasted dulse to sandwiches makes a tasty difference.

As a new vegan, I'm always looking for new ideas. Much to learn, discover and enjoy...

Compassionate Consumption said...

Dear Seriously.....
Thank you for your excellent suggestion; this sounds yummy (referring to the seitan slices). Funny you should mention dulse...I just got back from groceries and I purchase some sea vegetable (looks like dried rhubarb leaves in the package) to add to the broth that I will be cooking the seitan in. Dulse, if I recall correctly, is usually a little on the rubbery, moist side. I take it then you are roasting it a little and then adding as garnish to your sandwich. I really like the idea of this, even though I have not acquired a taste for dulse (yet)! Thanks for your comment.
Michele

knarf said...

As Seriously Amused's life partner, I can attest to the yumminess (is that a word?) of roasted dulce. It's very salty on it's own, but as a garnish in a stuffed pita it adds a really interesting texture and salty taste.

-Frank

Compassionate Consumption said...

Hi Frank,
Salty...yes, that's what I remember about dulse - I was given a pinch to chew on (like a wad of tobacco) many years back when my husband & I were in NB. Being a polite, young lady at that time, I smiled and made all the yummy noises in front of the store clerk who gave me the sample, but really, I wasn't too impressed. Can't remember now whether I swallowed it or waited to dispose of it once outside the store. Anyhow all tastes are acquired and I have not given up on dulse or other sea weeds.
Thank you for your added testimonial to the tasty seitan slices!
Cheers!
Michele

seriously amused photoblog said...

Hi Michele,

To be honest, dulse straight out of the bag doesn't do it for me. Not yet anyway. But, after it's dry roasted it's great sprinkled on top of salads, pasta, etc. I've only started using dulse in the last few days, so I'm still experimenting.

Another idea with seitan: Last night I diced up some of the seitan I made the other day (it was boiled in plain water) and cooked it up with garlic and onions. I threw in all kinds of spices (I was winging it without a recipe and think it was a combination of cinnamon, salt, paprika and nutmeg.) We stuffed pitas with it, along with homemade tomato sauce, roasted veggies and some roasted dulse. It was a fairly quick meal and no animals were harmed (okay, I managed to burn myself, but what's life without a dash of drama?).

Take care,

Judy

Compassionate Consumption said...

Wow!! This sounds excellent and my kind of cooking too Seriously / Judy! I am trying to move away from the old high school "home economics" where I learned very well to follow a recipe. Fairly straight forward, very little risk and usually a good outcome. But as you say where's the fun, the drama? I am only now just starting to combine spices and sweet vs sour, etc. The only problem is trying to repeat or document what you did, especially if you produce a real winner!!
As always, thank you for your comment - I hope that others find your suggestions helpful; I certainly do!
Michele

seriously amused photoblog said...

Hi Michele,

I know what you mean about how we were taught to cook (follow rules) in home ec classes. It's only now in my middle years that I'm realizing how right brained I am and when I get into flow mo, cooking (like anything else that's creative) can become a meditative experience. I tend not to follow recipes religiously, adding stuff according to my preferences, food allergies and what's in the fridge... Things rarely turn out the same way twice in our home and fortunately, Frank is really open to that.

I'm glad my suggestions help. I'm doing my best to keep things interesting and not get into a rut because one can OD on hommous and baba ghanoush. At the same time, I don't want to live in the kitchen either.

Have you checked out http://urbanvegan.blogspot.com/? I haven't tried any of her recipes yet, but everything looks yummy. In the next new days I want to try out her recipe for cauliflower-chickpea tagine and eventually the "un-fried" ice cream.

Take care,

Judy

seriously amused photoblog said...

Here's a fast and simple recipe (based on a recipe from I don't know where, but with changes I made yesterday).

Spicy Chickpea Soup
6 green onions
20 oz chickpeas with liquid
1 T coconut butter or olive oil
2 T flour
2 C vegetable stock or water
1/2 t ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 C coconut milk or cream
1 T lemon juice

1. Trim, wash and slice onions. Mince 4 t of the green tops and set aside for garnish.
2. Set aside 4 T of the chickpeas for garnish. (optional)
3. Saute green onions for 2 min. Stir in flour and blend well. Gradually stir in stock. Add chickpeas with their liquid and cook, stirring until thickened. Add cumin, cayenne and pepper. Gently boil 10 min., stirring occasionally.
4. Just before serving, stir in cream and lemon juice. Reheat and ladle into soup bowls. Garnish each serving with the reserved minced green onions and chickpeas.

Yesterday when I made the soup I didn't have any coconut milk or cream handy, so I used 2 1/2 C broth and added about 2 t shredded, unsweetened coconut. I also chopped up some dulse that's been around forever and added that instead of salt.

If there's a problem with the recipe, please let me know. I'm pretty tired this morning so I might have included a few typos along the way.

By the way, weekend mornings we like to start the day with a fresh fruit salad with whatever we have around and sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut and or raisins on top. I haven't made uncooked applesauce in ages, but that's nice on top, as well.

Bon appetit!

Judy

Compassionate Consumption said...

...and a recipe to boot! Thank you Judy for your recipe and included substitutions. I found in a small health/organic shop in Dundas powdered coconut milk in large package. Very handy to use when required in a recipe. Anyhow I really like the ingredients in your soup and will give it a go - soups are one of my favourite quick dinners combined with some good bread.
Kind regards,
Michele

Fresh from the Source said...

Keeping with the seitan meat theme, you may want to check out this site - http://vegandad.blogspot.com/2008/09/hickory-smoked-veggie-turkey-lunchmeat.html. It is one of my favourite sites our ot North Bay.

Also, Judy, the Spicy Chickpea Soup sounds delicious.

seriously amused photoblog said...

Hello Michele,

Nothing like soup and fresh bread! Every week I make a pot of something different.

Thanks for the tip about the powdered coconut milk. I had never heard of that before. I have a recipe for making coconut milk from dried unsweetened shredded or grated coconut in one of my fave cookbooks How to cook everything by Mark Bittman. (One of these days I want to take a look at his vegetarian cookbook.)

Fresh from the Source, the great thing about this soup is that it is delicious and fast to make with few ingredients.

By the way, I tried the recipe for Cauliflower and chickpea tagine the other day from http://urbanvegan.blogspot.com/ and it was very tasty over top millet. I let it cook overnight in a slow cooker (on low) and it worked out well.

Take care,

Judy

Compassionate Consumption said...

Judy,
Have you ever considered tandem blogs? Along with your photography blog, how about a vegetarian/vegan cooking blog? Your enthusiasm is obvious!
Michele

seriously amused photoblog said...

Hello Michele,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm dealing with long term (and some short term health issues), so I don't have much energy. When I'm finally better, I'm going to need to focus on making a living again.

Take care,

J

Snodgie said...

Wow! Your blog is fantastic. I found it when I looking for info on seitan. The recipes sound absolutely delish and divine! I will have to try them.
If I find a good vegan recipe I will share it.
Do you like capers? I wonder if you can use minced seitan with capers, sundried tomatoes in oil, dulse, bread crumbs and other ingrediants to make "no"fish cakes. Hmmmm....! Maybe I'll try it once I make some seitan!

Compassionate Consumption said...

Dear Snodgie,
Thanks for sending me your comment! It's been quite a while since I have posted to my little blog. Funny thing this cyberspace....just when you think your voice has faded far, far away, some one else's voice calls out! Good luck with the seitan.
Bye for now,
Compassionate Consumption