Seitan – Delicious Protein, Tasting Better than Meat

Seitan – Delicious Protein, Tasting Better than Meat

In the context of sustainability and solving the world food problem and diminishing our footprint, there is quite likely nothing that can beat seitan.

Seitan is a very high protein, meat-like product that is made from the gluten from wheat flour. It is very easy to make yourself, you need nothing else than wheat flour, water, a few bowls and dishes and your hands. Making seitan is a simple, natural process, traditional for the Far East. Seitan is available in health food stores, but making it yourself is easy, quite relaxing (!), very cheap and very tasty. Once done, it can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, which makes it very convenient in case you have little time t0 cook, yet want a proper meal. In our family of meat-eaters, we actually like it better than most meats, and is served at least twice a week in various ways.

* Seitan can be used instead of minced meat in burgers, lasagne, meatballs or any recipe you would ordinarily use minces meat. No-one will notice the difference.

* The slices can be barbequed or fried. You are the one who seasons them according to your taste, just as you do with e.g. chicken.

* Seitan is the first protein I came accross that actually wins the competition in taste and texture with fried bacon!

Basic recipe for the gluten:

Ingredients: 1 kilo sifted wheat flour for about 400 gr. gluten

Preparation: Sift the flour first, so that the bran are out. Then in a large bowl,make a dough of flour with enough water for the dough not to stick to the hands, it should feel like an earlobe. Knead it for 10 – 15 minutes to get a slightly elastic ball. You may want to do this in a food processor, if you do not have a lot of time. However, sticking your hands in a bowl of sifted flour is a joy!

Let the dough rest under water for at least 10 minutes, then take it out of the water and divide it into four manageable pieces. Take a piece of dough, and knead it under water in the bowl until the water become milky white: this is the starch coming out of the dough. At first the dough will begin to fall apart, with the gluten being set free: gluten being elastic, white, thread-like particles in wheat, now mixed (with bran, if you have not sifted the flour first) and starch. Throw out the milky water and fill the bowl with fresh water and continue kneading and replacing the water until the water does not become milky anymore.  After a while you can form it in to an elastic ball. (If you have not sieved the flour when you started you’ll need to get rid of the bran now. You can do this by kneading the dough under a running tap.) When all the dough has been treated this way you can now form a “bread” of all the gluten and slice this in slices of about 1 cm.

Dip the slices in boiling water and cook until they float. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Now they are ready for further processing.

Storage:

This can be done in the freezer, or (for about a week) in a closed jar in the cooking water in the fridge.

Recipes: 

SEITAN I 
3 cups of gluten (prepared above)
10 cm kombu *
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 a 1/2 cup shoyu * or tamari * (Japanese soy sauce)

Put everything in a pot and add water untill the gluten are almost submerged. Cook for 1 to 2 hours. If you want to keep the seitan longer take more Japanese soy sauce and let it simmer until all moisture is gone.

* Japanese product, available in health food stores

SEITAN II 
3 cups of gluten in 1 cm slices
cooking oil
10 cm and kombu* and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger;
1/4- 1/2 cup shoyu* or tamari*  (Japanese soy sauce)

Dry the pieces of gluten thoroughly with a cloth. Deep fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and cook them as in the previous recipe. Use more shoyu* or tamari* to balance for the oil.

VARIATION:

Use fresh or dried herbs, onion, garlic etc. to taste to season the broth.

* Japanese product, available in health food stores

SEITANBURGERS 
200 g seitan or 1.5 cup ground seitan
0.5 cup finely chopped onion
0.5 cup finely chopped parsley
1.5 cup fine oatmeal

Grind seitan fine to ‘minced meat’. Mix all ingredients and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then shape into burgers, pressing them firmly.

Bake in until golden brown with a crispy crust. Serve with grated radish or daikon (long white root with radish flavor, available in health food store and sometimes on the fresh food market), or some pickled horseradish (jar from the grocery store) and a few drops of shoyu* or tamari*.

Variation: Add 2 tablespoons crushed roasted sunflower seeds to the ingredients.

SEITANSNACKS 
200 g seitan or 1.5 cup ground seitan
0.5 cup finely chopped onion
0.5 cup finely chopped parsley
1.5 cup fine oatmeal

Oil for frying

Grind seitan fine to ‘minced meat’. Mix all ingredients and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then shape into balls, pressing them firmly.
Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown with a crispy crust. Serve with grated radish or daikon (long white root with radish flavor, available in health food store and sometimes on the fresh food market), or some pickled horseradish (jar from the grocery store) and a few drops of shoyu* or tamari*.

Variation: Add 2 tablespoons crushed roasted sunflower seeds to the ingredients.

All recipes are from “Koken voor je leven”, by Nora Goud, a book that unfortunately is not available anymore in the Netherlands. 

Note: Seitan, made from the gluten product sold in health food stores cannot compete with the seitan you make yourself. Do yourself a favour, make the seitan when you do have some time and store it in the fridge in order to use it as any convenient food. If you don’t have time at all it is tastier to get the seitan from the health food store.

Over Annemieke Akker

As of 1988 I have been working with people who truly wish to be WHOLE/HEALED and wish to start living from their Essence. And in life encounter things that help to make a leap in consciousness or are wholesome for body and mind. The information I find most interesting and the stories that I want to share, are published on this blog.
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