Seitan, not to be confused with Satan, is quite of used as a meat replacement in vegan cookery and provides one of the main sources of protein for vegans along with beans and lentils.
Seitan is not ideal for everyone though because it is made from wheat protein, gluten, which unfortunately is not something everyone can eat due to an intolerance many have with gluten products, but even those that aren’t.
Seitan is great only as part of a balanced diet, not as the main part of it because whilst it provides a lot of protein it also lacks many other essential nutrients.
The wheat is the meat.
The word seitan has an origin of a number of words: sei meaning “made of/correct” and tan which is the first part of the Japanese word tanpaku which means protein.
So Seitan basically means made of protein.
My husband can be quite picky about his food and likes a certain texture to the food he eats. This is why I have been experimenting with a number of cooking methods for seitan to try and create something that is acceptable.
Seitan can range from being firmer in consistency to soft and airy, much like puffed tofu or of course somewhere between these two states. The important thing to know is that depending on how you like it or what the recipe requires you can make seitan to match and you can of course flavour it how you wish.
Seitan is merely the vessel that you will use to carry the flavour of the dish.
We have in our travels tried many seitan based dished at many restaurants and my husband seems to it seems like seitan that is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes I previously described. So today that is what I attempted to do, and the dish I decided to replicate using it was buffalo chicken wings. Often in vegan cookery cauliflower is used in this dish and whilst it makes for an amazing option here (will follow the recipe for those on a gluten free diet), seitan is also something that works very well, and if you can get the consistency right I am sure will make you very happy.
So here is my personal take on this dish.
…for the seitan…
100 gr Vital Gluten
30 gr Dehydrated Soy Mince
Spices and Flavouring*:
1 1/2 tbsp Meat Seasoning Powder
1 tbsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tbsp Pepper
1/2 tbsp Dried Sage
1/2 tbsp Pea Protein
1/2 tbsp Soy Milk Powder
…for the sauce…
1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
5 tbsp Water
1 Spring Onion
*use the one you like, those listed are not mandatory.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and add as much water as required to bond the seitan together.
Take roughly 1 tbsp of “dough” and shape into wings.
Now we need to boil the nuggets into a very rich vegetable broth; you can use whatever vegetables you have at hand plus some tomato paste, soy sauce and a bit of kelp.
For mine I used 1 onion, 1 carrot, a couple of dried shiitake mushrooms, some parsley, kelp, soy sauce and tomato paste in 1 liter of water.
Then simply simmer the broth for abouth 30 minutes after it starts boiling.
Next step is to boil seitan bites for at least 20 minutes.
To obtain two different consistencies I boiled a few wrapped in foil, and the remaining as they are.
Here you can see the two different textures obtained:
On top those wrapped in foil.
Here is a picture of one wing who was boiled in foil…
…and next one was boiled with any wrap.
To make the sauce simply combine the two sauces, water and chilli, and heat on a stove for 5 minutes stirring all the time, or simply microwave for 2:30 minutes at 800W.
Toss seitan bites in the sauce and arrange them on a baking tray.
Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes, until caramelised.
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh spring onion on top with a side of lime and coriander rice, in tacos, with some guacamole sauce or just as finger food.