Seitan has been in use as far back as the sixth century and is a low-fat, low-carb, protein-packed plant-based food that can be a great addition to a vegan diet. It is a popular meat-alternative that is obtained from wheat. You might have seen bags of wheat gluten in grocery stores. Gluten is the protein part of wheat and seitan is made of gluten, which is usually available in powder form. This means that if you have a gluten allergy, you cannot use seitan as a meat alternative in your vegan meal plan.
Seitan Based Cuisines
Asian restaurants are the most frequent users of seitan. Moreover, it is used as the base in many meat alternative products that are made commercially. When it is cooked, it takes on a firm and chewy texture that is similar to meat, which makes it a very good meat substitute. Besides, its protein-rich profile makes it a great meat alternative.
It tastes mildly savory when unflavored and some people say that its taste is similar to mild mushrooms or bland chicken. Like when you cook with tempeh and tofu, seitan too easily absorbs the flavor of the dish it is cooked in. Many people prefer using seitan over tempeh or tofu because its texture is much more similar to meat than the others. Moreover, it is very much affordable and is very easy to cook.
You can buy seitan pre-made or in the form of powdered wheat gluten. In the opinion of many users, the pre-made types are the most convenient ones. You can find unflavored and pre-seasoned variants of seitan. Sliced, ground, and cubed seitan are a few of the variants in which seitan can be purchased from grocery stores. No matter what form of seitan you buy, there is no need to drain or press pre-packaged seitan. Moreover, you need not marinate the seitan for longer periods as it easily soaks up the flavor of the sauce.
Using Store-Bought Seitan
Undoubtedly, the refrigerated section of your favorite grocery store will surely have pre-made seitan. Pre-made seitan is very easy-to-use. However, it can contain added salt, sugar, and oils. Hence, you are advised to make a wise decision here. After buying the seitan, you need to slice it or dice it into pieces of the size that you are looking for. After cutting the seitan, you can throw it in a frying pan, with little oil, broth, or water, and then cook it over medium flame for about five minutes. If you are adding the seitan to a dish like a stew, chili, or stir-fry, you can treat it like cooked meat. It will not take much time for the seitan to take the flavor of the dish to which it is added.
If you have turned your adventurous mode on, then how about going for some homemade seitan? For this, you need to get a bag of wheat gluten from the grocery store and follow a simple recipe like the one that is shared below.
A Basic Recipe With Seitan
A basic recipe with seitan is shared below. And if you strictly play by the rules then you can get 12 servings to be exact.
- Vital wheat gluten – 2 cups
- Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
- Marjoram – 1 teaspoon
- Water – 2 cups
- Vegetable stock
- Tamari (vegan sou sauce) – 2 tablespoons
- Water – 6 cups
- Molasses – 2 tablespoons
How To Cook
- Add the broth ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the broth comes to a boil, remember to reduce the temperature so that the broth is just under boiling.
- Mix spices and gluten flour in a separate bowl. Add water to it while stirring continuously until the dough gets a sponge-like texture. Making your dough excessively wet is not the best way of cooking with it.
- Now you can knead the dough for about two minutes to make it more elastic and tough. If you find that the dough is too sticky, you can add more gluten to it and knead again to mix it well.
- Cut the dough into square pieces of size 2×2 inches and then place the pieces into the broth. Some may like to wrap the seitan, but this is not necessary unless you need a specific shape like a sausage. You can then cook the pieces in broth for about an hour.
- After cooking the seitan, you can drain it and then cut it for stews, stir-fry sandwiches, and more.
Above shared are the simple steps to cook seitan to use it in plant-based or vegan diet plans. If you are not allergic to gluten, you can always use seitan as a very good substitute for meat items in vegan meals and the best part of using seitan is that it easily mimics the chewy texture of red meat. Go ahead and get cooking already!