Seitan is a versatile and delicious complement to many vegetarian and vegan dishes- especially meals that play off traditional meat-based recipes. In many areas, seitan is readily available in supermarkets and co-ops. But it is also fun and easy to make on your own.
An extra advantage of making your own seitan is that you can add your own flavor accents to the basic recipe and make it into whatever you want it to become. But before we get into all the many variants you can try, let’s tackle the basic seitan recipe.
There are two main ways to prepare seitan: boiling and baking. We’ve had great fun with both techniques, but this recipe will be boiled. Boiling the seitan gives you two chances to enhance the flavors of your seitan: once when you make the dough, and then again when you boil it.
Making seitan is a lot like making bread. You’ll add water and other ingredients to flour, knead it and shape it, and cook it. Unlike most breads there is no yeast, baking soda or other leavenings. Also, unlike most breads we will cook it by boiling. Seitan takes about 10 minutes or less to put together and boils for about forty-five minutes, so the whole process can be done in an hour.
Tip: Depending on what you plan to do with it, you should probably make your seitan in advance, maybe even a day ahead. Slicing chunks of boiling hot seitan is not easy (or particularly safe).
- 2 1/4 cups Gluten Flour
- 2 t Fine diced garlic or garlic powder
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 Cup Water
- 10 cups water
- 3 T Soy Sauce
- 1 T Vegan Boullion
- Mix flour, garlic, soy sauce and 1 cup water in a bowl. Knead two or three minutes into a dough.
- Shape into a ball. Try to make it as smooth as possible so it holds together in the water.
- Bring 10 cups water, 3 T soy sauce and boullion to a boil.
- Put the ball of dough in the boiling water and simmer for 45 minutes.
Tip2: Gluten Flour, or Vital Wheat gluten is more expensive than All Purpose flour, but you get a lot of seitan out of each batch, so it will last a long time. It is available at most grocery stores and food co-ops. Bob’s Red Mill is one brand that is available in many places.
When forming your dough (Step 1 above) you can add flavors to suit your needs. Making a mexican dish? Add mole sauce or chili powder right into the seitan. Making Italian food? Add some oregano. Do you want your seitan to sub for chicken? Add some vegan “chicken” flavoring to the mix. The sky’s the limit- be creative!
One add in that works for all versions is Nutritional Yeast. This inactive yeast enhances the flavors of many vegan and vegetarian foods. If you can, replace 1/4 cup of flour with Nutritional Yeast- you’ll like the results.