Spiced Seitan

Seitan is an amazing food. It is the basis of most all fake meats and replicates the texture of meat nicely. On top of this, it is jam packed with protein and is super versatile. However, I understand that if you have never made seitan or fake meat before, it could seem a little daunting. I, myself, did not try making seitan until my mom had made it for me multiple times and insisted I should do it myself, citing how easy it is. She bought me a huge bag of vital wheat gluten and a bottle of liquid smoke and sent me on my way. 

The rest is history. I have made all sorts of seitan and fake meat — from vegan short ribs to homemade fake chicken nuggets, I’ve done it all. It is well worth the bit of effort it takes, and oftentimes a seitan recipe is big enough to be used in multiple meals. This recipe here is without a doubt one of the easiest seitan recipes. This cooking method used is inspired by a recipe in the book Hot Food Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota. You simply combine the ingredients and throw it in the oven! 

Now, to make seitan there are a few key ingredients that are not typical pantry staples. First and foremost, vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is a simple flour product. Flour is mixed with water to activate the gluten, then the starch molecules are washed off with water. The result is just the gluten protein. It is then dried and ground into a fine powder to produce vital wheat gluten; when mixed with water the gluten is once again activated. We will also need liquid smoke and nutritional yeast, which can be found at natural food stores. 

The seitan in this recipe is spiced to be used in middle eastern type dishes. In the coming days and weeks I will be uploading recipes in which I use this seitan. This recipe produces a large amount of seitan. It can be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 6 months. If you haven’t already done so, I hope you try your hand at making some seitan! 

Active time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celery powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 3 cups mushroom broth (or vegetable, but mushroom preferable) 
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine the vital wheat gluten, the nutritional yeast, the salt and all the spices. Whisk them together to make it homogenous.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine the broth, vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, tomato paste and the liquid smoke. Whisk thoroughly. 
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula. Once thoroughly combined, place the dough onto a dry, clean counter top. The dough will be fairly wet, that is ok. Knead it for about 30 seconds to give it a bit of structure. Roll it into about a 10 inch log. Get tin foil, preferably heavy duty, and roll it up tightly and twist off the ends, like a jolly rancher. This can be a bit tricky as your dough is quite wet, but use the tin foil almost as a tortilla if you were making a burrito. We want it to be almost completely sealed off so the moisture will not escape. 
  4. Place the seitan wrapped in tin foil onto a baking sheet. Bake it for 45 minutes then rotate it using thongs and bake it another 45 minutes. Let it cool overnight before using it in a recipe. Enjoy!

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