I’ve never made seitan before much less knew what its ingredients consisted of. Upon research I’ve discovered that its simply vital wheat gluten, the natural protein (75%) found in wheat. Vital wheat gluten is known as the “meat” made from wheat, a vegan/vegetarian cutlet with the consistency of meat and the versatility of grilling, steaming or simmering.
When making homemade seitan it is important to purchase vital wheat gluten flour and not just wheat gluten flour. This is because vital wheat gluten flour contains a higher consistency of protein, at least 75%, whereas wheat gluten flour has slightly more gluten than regular flour and produces a texture similar to that of chewy bread and not seitan.
Commercially prepared seitan can be found at grocers and natural food stores in block or strip form. Making your own isn’t too difficult, if you can knead dough you can make seitan.
For my first attempt with homemade seitan I chose, Seitan Coriander Cutlets to use in a Mediterranean recipe. These cutlets blend well with Middle Eastern, African, and Indian cuisines too.
Seitan Coriander Cutlets
makes 4 large cutlets, enough for 2 entrée recipes
Terry Hope Romero
1 1/2 cups cold vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed or grated with a Microplane grater
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour (Bob’s Red Mill produces consistent results)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 350°. In a 1-quart measuring cup or bowl, whisk together vegetable broth, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, and tomato paste. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, coriander, and cumin. Form a well in the center and pour in the broth mixture
Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together; as the flour absorbs the broth, a moist dough will rapidly form. When all of the broth is absorbed, use both hands to fold the dough in a kneading portion for 2-3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then divide into four equal pieces.
Tear away four pieces of foil about 12 inches wide. Spray the dull side of each piece of foil lightly with olive oil or canola oil cooking spray. Shape a piece of dough into an oval on the oiled side of the foil and pat it down to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch. To seal a packet for steaming bring the two opposing ends of the foil together and fold over the top by 1/2 inch, then fold once more to form a tent over the dough. Fold and seal tight the remaining ends; the result should be a foil pouch with an ample amount of space above the dough. The seitan will expand as it steams, so it’s important to leave some space in each foil pouch. Repeat with the remaining seitan portions.
Place the foil packages side by side directly on a baking rack positioned in the center of the oven. Bake for 32-34 minutes; seitan should be firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool, still wrapped in foil, on the kitchen counter for 45 minutes before using. For best flavor and texture, cool the seitan to room temperature, keep it wrapped in the foil, store in a tightly covered container, and chill overnight. If desired, freeze seitan and use within 2 months; to defrost, leave in the refrigerator overnight. This recipe takes well to variations. Omit the ground coriander and cumin and add the following when mixing the dry ingredients.
Herbes de Provence Seitan: Add 1 tablespoon of dried, crumbled Herbes de Provence blend.
Curry Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of any curry powder.
Garam Masala Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of garam masala spice blend, wither purchased or homemade
Mediterranean Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of dried crumbled oregano plus 2 teaspoons of dried crumbled rosemary. Increase garlic to 4 cloves total