All Hail Seitan!
That’s Seitan (SAY-TAN) not Satan.
If you have Celiac disease (allergy to gluten), steer clear seitan as it will suck up your soul! But for everyone else, seitan is a meat substitue made from wheat but should not be confused with flour or bread. It can also be called ‘wheat meat,’ or gluten. Gluten is just another word for the protein that specifically comes from wheat. When you make seitan, you are literally extracting the protein from wheat by rinsing away the starch and leaving the high protein gluten behind. How much protein you ask? The protein in seitan is similar to that in beef. Steak and seitan both contain about 16g of protein per 100g. This is twice as much as an equal amount of tofu and 40 percent more than is supplied by two eggs. Wheat gluten on it’s own is low in the essential amino acid lysine. But, lysine will be supplied by cooking gluten in soy sauce or veggie broth or by combining it with lysine rich foods like beans. (But remember: not every meal has to have complete proteins! Read Why Vegan?! to find out more). And while a 3.5oz steak comes with 11.5g of saturated fat, 58mg of cholesterol, and nearly 300 calories, seitan contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, and only 120 calories per 3.5oz serving. It may sound strange to those who have never tried it, but seitan takes on a surprising texture; very similar to the look and feel of cooked meat.
You may be able to find seitan at your grocery store, such as West Soy’s brand, but it is probably even easier to make it at home! Use a box of vital wheat gluten or whole wheat flour. My favorite method is with using a box of Hodgson Mill’s Vital Wheat Gluten (see below). You knead the gluten (1 cup) into a dough by combining it with spices, water or veggie broth (3/4 cups), and soy sauce (2 tbsp). Knead it about 10 times, or until it is a very rubbery consistency. Then cube, slice, or cut the gluten into pieces. Throw it into a pot with 4 cups of veggie broth. You can add more soy sauce to this broth and/or more spices too. Let it simmer, covered for an hour. Keep in mind: the pieces will expand a lot as they absorb moisture! The seitan is done once it has firmed. You can add it to salads, pastas, stews, chilis, stir-fries or any dish that uses meat!
What’s great about making seitan yourself is that you can add whatever spices you want! If you are planning to use it for an Italian dish, use oregano and basil. For a Thai dish? Use tumeric or ginger. Or, come up with your own creation. The possibilites are endless!
Naturalie’s Note: Seitan can also be frozen and thawed before use. So make an extra batch!
Get some vital wheat gluten from the link below and start kneadin’!