Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fried Seitan

I don't remember exactly how I originally came across this recipe at The Voracious Vegan a year ago, but it will always be a favorite. It was one of the very first recipes that actually worked for me the first time I tried it, which gives it huge bonus points, and it's delicious (which also gets a lot of points).

Seitan is basically a dough made with vital wheat gluten, which is wheat flour minus the starch. It's a great source of protein, especially for vegans who are allergic to soy (but, uh, not so great for vegans who are allergic to gluten). It can be seasoned in ways to mimic 'meaty' flavors or seafood if you like those tastes, or if you're cooking for omnivore friends who are skeptical that anything vegan could taste 'good', or if you just want something savory or are tired of people asking you how you get enough protein.

This recipe was taken from The Voracious Vegan, with extra preparation notes by me. It looks complicated, but if I can do it, anybody can. She made sandwiches with hers; I like cutting mine into smaller pieces to make it "chicken nugget"-style. And one time I dipped them in hot sauce and made "buffalo wings". You don't even have to fry these - once the seitan is cooked you can add it straight up to any dish you think would benefit from it.

Fried Seitan
1 ½ Cups vital wheat gluten (one of those little Hodgson's Mill boxes you can find in most groceries these days is right about that volume)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (if you do not have, then just replace with three more tablespoons of vital wheat gluten)
¼ Tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp chili powder
½ Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Worcestershire sauce usually contains anchovies, check the label)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
¾ Cup cold water

5 Cups water
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

For the seitan, combine the dry ingredients first and mix well. Next add the wet ingredients quickly and knead the dough with your hands until everything is worked together. Separate the dough however you want for what you plan to do with it later. If you want it in 'cutlet' style, divide it into the number of pieces you want and shape it how you like. If you want smaller nuggets, you can either do the above and cut the pieces up later, or roll the dough out into a snake and cut it into little discs.

Unshaped ball of gluten dough.

Prepare the cooking broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer in the pieces of dough in the broth, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Stir every so often, as the seitan will float to the top of the broth and you want it to soak in all the flavor it can.

I forgot how much gluten was in just one of those boxes of it, and wound up making a double batch. Oops.

Once finished, drain the broth and allow the cooked seitan to cool. You can either stop here and use the seitan as is (stir-fry, roast it, make tacos with it), or go on to deliciously fry it.

Further ingredients and preparation:
Dredge the seitan in the wet mix first:
¼ Cup water
¼ Cup non-dairy milk
3 Tbsp stone-ground spicy mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
dash of lemon pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (you can replace with flour, but if you do make sure to up the spices a bit)
½ tsp cumin

And then dredge the cutlets in the dry mix:
1 and ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (omit if you must, replacing with flour, but up the spices)
1 tsp paprika
3 tsp baking powder

I triple-coated mine in the dry mix, and it seems to work well. Fry the dredged cutlets or nuggets in peanut oil (or vegetable oil if you are allergic) on medium heat until they're golden brown and crispy. That's it!

With everyone else here being such a great photographer, I sometimes feel anxious posting images taken with my puny cellphone. I promise these taste better than my pictures make them look!

These are soo good. One final trick that you can do with them is to make vegan hot wings out of them if you'd like. The only reason I didn't this time is that I'm out of veggie margarine. Enjoy!

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