Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seitan's Fingers

I made seitan for the first time over the weekend, and I'm fairly happy with the results -- considering it was my first time. I looked at a whole lot of recipes online until it dawned on me that I probably had several recipes in my own home. Sure enough I did, both from Isa Chandra Moskowitz -- one from Veganomicon and the other Vegan with a Vengeance. The recipe from Veganomicon is actually adapted from her original recipe in VwaV, but I decided to go with the original. Looking back now, I think I needed to let the gluten firm up more before boiling it. The outside ended up being a little spongy, and I lost quite a bit to the water/bouillon, but the inside was nice and firm. Next time I will take pictures since I wanted guideposts to see what it should look like each step of the process. Once I was finished, my two cups of vital wheat gluten turned into about 32oz. of yummy seitan. I put all the crumblier pieces in a baggy in the freezer to make ground "beef" later, and kept the rest in the refrigerator in its broth.

John worked late that night so when he got home I was debating how to serve my new seitan. There was a recipe for jerk seitan in VwaV that I knew I wanted to try but it needed to marinate several hours in the jerk sauce, so that was out. I decided just to fry it up, like chicken. I searched online and found a recipe for breading that sounded tasty. It required 4T of nutritional yeast -- which would have been about all the n.y. that Brandon had left and I don't want to be that kind of roommate -- so I only used 1T and subbed flour for the rest. It was my first attempt at frying something I had breaded myself, and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy everything went. The breading stayed on (for the most part) and once fried up the inch thick slices of seitan looked like chicken fingers. John whipped up a batch of homemade mac & cheese and decided to open up a can of chipotle peppers for some added spice, though he underestimated the powerful punch of those little peppers and used three where two -- or even one! -- would have given plenty of flavor. But it was definitely the most flavorful mac & cheese he's made, and I hope he tries again. The seitan fingers were tasty, and only a little spongy inside the breading, and the texture inside was meaty, just as promised. We did end up drizzling them with John's homemade peanut sauce because the breading wasn't especially flavorful, which I blame on using flour rather than nutritional yeast.

A few days later I made the jerk seitan from VwaV and WHOA! It was amazing!For a side dish I made "rice and peas" -- "peas" really being kidney beans -- that included coconut milk, thyme, and cinnamon, and topped with toasted coconut. Bad blogger that I am, I forgot to take pictures before John and I scarfed it all down. Next time, I promise.

Today I wanted a big lunch since we have plans for the evening, and I wanted to use up the last bit of seitan in the fridge. There wasn't much -- about 8oz. -- so I knew I'd have to go heavy on the sides. After the delicious Russian Cabbage Borscht yesterday (post coming another day), I had some beet greens that needed to be used as well. I wanted to try my hand at frying again, and greens would go well with fried anything. I rounded it out with my own version of a recipe I found on for mashed potatoes that were then baked with sautéed onions, shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, and vegan bacon bits. I couldn't find the original recipe I'd used for frying last weekend so I did more searching and found one much, much, much better: Chicken Fried Seitan from the Voracious Vegan. I was really intrigued by using mustard in the wet ingredients, as well as the combination of spices in both wet and dry. Since I didn't have much seitan I decided to double-dip the pieces, and I'm glad I did, as it added needed bulk.The seitan fried up even nicer than it did the first time with even less trouble with breading. They tasted like chicken nuggets, only better! The mashed potatoes were delicious -- only needed salt and pepper, which I somehow forgot to add before throwing them in the oven -- and were just like eating a baked potato. As tasty as everything was, I think the beet greens were my favorite. I used a recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison for collard greens but using beet greens instead, and they were to die for! Onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes sautéed in butter before adding the slightly boiled greens -- yum! I think beets will be a new addition to my garden this year.


  1. Holy crap, that fried seitan looks amazing! You should make that next time I visit.

  2. YUM! Seitan AND chipotle mac n cheese? Can I come over for dinner?