Monday, November 23, 2009

Seitan - The Vegan Wheat Meat

Wheat gluten, also called seitan (pronounced (say-tahn), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.

Wheat gluten, although not as well known, is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy and/or stringy texture more like that of meat than most other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Simulated duck is a common use for wheat gluten.

Drooling yet ...

I don't expect you are, but I have to say, some of the recipes that I have been coming across with this ingredient have been more than mouth watering.

Instead of searching for this elusive product all through the isles of Whole Foods, like my co-worker Janelle did this past weekend, I think I am going to attempt to make my own. The recipe for pan seared seitan with mushroom gravy I found looks dead easy and if its even 1/2 as tasty as the author makes it out to be, I'm bound to enjoy.

Plus I like the idea that you can flavor the gluten during the kneading process by adding herbs and spices of your choosing, like blending in paprika, cayenne, fennel, garlic, and Italian seasoning for a "sausage" flavor.

Mmmm, there goes the good old imagination ...

Homemade Faux Meat

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 1/2 cups cold water
7 cups vegetable stock

•Place the whole wheat and unbleached flour in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine both types of flour.

•While stirring, gradually pour enough water into the flour to form a sticky dough that can be kneaded. Knead for 15 minutes.

•Cover the dough with cold water, place in the refrigerator, and keep submerged for at least 30 minutes.

•Transfer the dough from the bowl to a colander and place it in the sink.

• Under cold running water, carefully knead the dough, rinsing out the starch and bran.

• After several minutes of cold water rinsing and kneading, the gluten will start to stick together. Alternate between room temperature water and cold water rinses while continuing to knead the dough until it has a firm, rubbery texture.

•In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil.

•Pull pieces of gluten into small billiard-size balls. Drop the gluten into the liquid, one piece at a time, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

•Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.

•Store in the refrigerator or freezer, submerged in the broth.

Makes 1 1/4 pounds

Here goes nothing :)

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