Today is the final day of Vegan Month, so I decided to go out with a flourish: by making homemade seitan from scratch.
Now, please bear in mind that I have never eaten seitan. Or even seen it. It’s very difficult to make something when your brain has absolutely no idea what the thing should look like.
What is seitan?
It’s a vegan protein source often called “wheat meat”. It is made from vital wheat gluten (gluten is after all a protein – the protein in wheat, rye, barley and some other grains I can’t remember right now). Needless to say, seitan is not going to be good for coeliacs or Crohn’s sufferers.
But I have no reason to avoid gluten, so off I went to my local independent healthfood shop (holla Folkestone Whole Foods who were extremely helpful, and even high fived me!)
I used the basic seitan recipe from Fit Pro Client Recipes (which also has various recipes for how to use your seitan once you’ve made it). But, me being me, I adapted it a bit. Oh, and totally forgot to add one ingredient (I found it under my jumper halfway through).
Here’s how the seitan happened.
- 140g wheat gluten
- 5 “normal” spoons of nutritional yeast (meant to be 3 tbsp but I don’t own any tbsps)
- 1.5 vegan stock cubes (recipe called for various amounts of “broth” but I just used stock cubes)
- 2 “normal” spoons of olive oil (meant to be 1 tbsp)
- 8 “normal” spoons of soy sauce
- 8 “normal” spoons of lemon juice (meant to be 2 tbsp but I like lemon)
- 2 garlic cloves (not very well chopped – I should have crushed them)
- Various herbs and spices: paprika, black pepper, coriander.
- Fill a pan about 6″ with water and add one of the stock cubes and 1/2 of the soy sauce. Set this boiling whilst you make the seitan. (This is the broth that the seitan will “steam” in to cook).
- In a big bowl, mix the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and spices/herbs.
- In another bowl, mix the 1/2 stock cube with cold water, add the other half of the soy sauce, the garlic, the olive oil, and the lemon juice.
- Pour the liquid into the dry mix and mix it about with a wooden spoon. It will clump together.
- Then get in there with your hands and knead it. It gets really bouncy and weird. Knead for about 3 mins.
- Cut the dough (are we calling it dough? We are now) into 3 with a sharp knife.
- Take each piece in your palms and knead it a bit more, then form it into whatever shape you want. I went for “patties” but I guess you could make sausage type things?
- Lower your seitan into the boiling broth, then reduce it to a simmer. Put a lid on the pan but leave a gap for the steam to get out.
- Simmer the seitan for 45 mins, turning it occasionally. Then turn the heat off and let it sit in the broth for 10 more mins. Then take it out and put it on kitchen towel.
- Then… use it!
This makes it sound a LOT more complicated than it is. It’s easy. It took me about 15 mins (plus the steaming time). It’s essentially: dry mix, wet mix, combine them, knead it, steam it.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t calculate it. Sorry. But seitan is obviously high in protein (the highest protein non-animal source?), and the only added fat in this recipe is from the olive oil.
Wowsers! I am seriously impressed (so was the dog, as you’ll see if you have a chance to watch my Insta story in the next few hours).
It looks like meat.
It slices like meat.
It has the texture of meat.
It’s chewy like meat.
It doesn’t taste like meat, but then again there is no single “meat” taste anyway, is there?
It tastes… hearty, and chewy, and of all the flavours you add to it. I guess you could make a more spicy version, or one with Thai/BBQ/Indian (etc) flavours to suit. You’d also use your seitan like meat – in a dish – so more chance to flavour it then too.
But honestly I just ate a couple of slices once it had cooled down, just like this. OK I’d just got home from the gym so I was hungry, but hand on heart I enjoyed it.
So – thank you to the people who challenged me to make seitan during Vegan Month! I’m really glad I did, and I will make it again.
Final Vegan Month round up post to come tomorrow. It’s been fun!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.