Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tofu Tuesday - Homemade Seitan

When you are trying to become a vegetarian it is important to try out lots of different "meat alternatives". After all, woman can not live on tofu alone. So, you've got your beans and your grains, your tofu and your tempeh. What else? Well, there is this other thing called "seitan". Ya, just a horrible name, isn't it? Doesn't it make you just want to run out and try some?

Yes, I'd like some seitan, please, with a side order of hospitalization.

I completely understand how you feel, because I've been totally afraid to try the stuff myself. But, recently I decided to get over my fear and try it already. I mean, other people have ingested the stuff and lived to tell the tale, right? So I got my package of ready-made seitan (which came already prepared and marinated in its own sauce) at the health food store and I mixed it up in a stir-fry of veggies.

And, you know what? It was good. No, really. I'm serious. Even Dave and the girls liked it and it didn't have to be all small and hidden (the way I usually have to prepare tofu for them) in order for them to like it. It had a nice, meaty, texture and the sauce tasted great. Wow. This was fantastic news. Fantastic until I re-read the label on the package and discovered that it had actually expired almost a year ago.

So now, we all just sat and waited for the dreaded "burps" to come on. But, I mean, it's wheat gluten. How does wheat gluten go bad? It was in a sealed package. In the fridge. But, sure enough, there was that horrible expiry date glaring at us (I glanced at it in the store and it registered in my brain as being about to expire in a couple of weeks...not that it had already expired 11 and a half months ago). Luckily, the evening passed, and the morning came, and none of us were any worse for wear. However, I decided the best way to make sure my seitan is fresh from now on is to make my own. There are many recipes around for homemade seitan. This one is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's famous book, "Vegan with a Vengeance".


2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a Microplane grater
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
12 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce


In a large bowl, mix together vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, and all-purpose flour. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients through the lemon zest.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until spongy and elastic. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, stir together the ingredients for the broth in a large saucepot (do not boil the broth at this point).

Roll the dough into a log shape about 10 inches long and cut it into 6 pieces of roughly equal size. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the broth be very cold when you add the dough, which makes for a nicer texture and ensures that the seitan doesn't fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring the broth to a boil.
When the broth has come to a boil, set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the pieces every now and again.

Turn off the heat and let the broth and seitan cool for at least 30 minutes. This will produce a firmer seitan. It is best to let everything cool completely before removing the seitan from the broth.

What you do next depends on the recipe you are using. If storing the seitan for later use, slice it into bite-size chunks, put it into a sealable container, and cover with broth. Seal the container and place it in the fridge for up to five days.

See, homemade seitan that is fresh and tasty. Not so scary after all is it? Well, not unless you are a celiac.

For more Meatless Meal ideas, just click on the sweet little block of Tofu below.

Brought to you by...
Kaci@Ellyphant & Kelli@Gohn Crazy

Have a great day!


Kaci said...

Delish! :)

Shan said...

Blogging two days in a row


making your own seitan! Go you! I am in awe of your mad skillz!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh I've actually really wanted to try it. I'm so glad you posted a recipe how to make your own. I'll definitely be trying this! Thanks!