seitan

All posts tagged seitan

Green and Red PeppersReady for man food with

Hegan Thursday Seitan Kebobs

So, you’re probably wondering what “Hegan Thursday” is.  Well, for the first time today, I was exposed to the term “hegan,” which is a man who has adopted the vegan lifestyle for health reasons.  Mrs. WellDone doesn’t care for the term, but I think it’s brilliant since there are far fewer male vegans than female.

Plus, I like hegan since it evokes all sorts of manliness and grunting and all that good stuff.  As far as I am concerned, if you’re going to go vegan, intense manliness is just a good a reason as any!!  (Second only to perhaps health benefits.)

Anyway, since I’m always devilishly trendy (or not, depending on your definition of trendy), I’m going to do my best to support all the hegans out there with man food done meatless.  Like today’s kebobs.

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Before my descent into veganism, I used to love to make short ribs and pork and roast in the slow cooker.  As someone does not eat meat, I can still savor the memory of pork so tender it had to be scooped up because it would fall apart when pricked by a fork or delicious beef ribs done low and slow.

But alas…I am vegan.  Which means Time to Get Creative.

So I’ve been thinking about how to make vegan slow cooker recipes for a while now.  Up until now, my go-to veg ingredient for slow cooking has always been potatoes.  Really waxy potatoes I can slowly break down over a couple of hours.  Still, that’s largely just applying a technique, it is not really doing any good to the potatoes which eventually break down and become a mush and I just wanted more.  Which led me to my old standby: seitan.

I figured I would start with one of my favorites: “beef” short ribs.  This is a dish that does really well slow cooked, not so much because the protein needs the flavor, but the sauce needs time to meld together.  Oh, and don’t be afraid.  There are a lot of ingredients, but it’s really an easy recipe.

Braised Chinese “Beef” Ribs

For the seitan:

  • 1 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

For the flavorful cooking liquid:

  • 1 cup of low sodium tamari
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sambal olek (sriracha hot sauce can be substituted)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 green onion whites, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced lemon grass
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger

Garnish:

  • Green onion tops sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut oil

To make the seitan, preheat the oven to 300.  Add the dry ingredients into a Kitchenaid mixer.  Stir with a fork.  Then add the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate the tomato paste.  Mix for 5 minutes.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand for another 60 seconds.

Cut into strips and put onto a buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Yes, they will be dry and yes they will be hard, but that is the point.

All of this can be done the day before.  If doing so, let the seitan cool befoe putting into a container so that it does not steam up the bag.  Store in the refrigerator several days.

When ready to make the braising liquid, all the ingredients except the garnish go into the slow cooker with the seitan.  Cook for 4 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with greens and drizzle a bit of peanut oil over the “ribs.”

See, I told you it was easy!

This is my entry for the iBuyBarbecues grill contest.  This recipe makes “faux” hot dogs from seitan, a dough made of wheat gluten.

Chipotle Seitan Sausages

    1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    2 tablespoons chipotle powder
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1/2 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon paprika
    1 1/2 cups cold water
    4 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes
    juice of 1 lime
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

In a Kitchenaide mixer, add all dry ingredients and mix with a fork.

Dry Ingredients in the Bowl

Then add the wet ingredients.

Knead on low for five minutes and then remove the resulting dough from the mixer.  Continue to knead by hand for another minute or two.

How Seitan Looks Out of the Mixer

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll by hand into hot dog shapes.

One piece of Seitan rolled.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes and then take to a grill to finish.  Baste with ketchup or adobo sauce before serving in a bun and garnish the way you would any hot dog.

The Finished Product With Garnish

 Braggs Amino AcidsIn my recipe for seitan, I listed Bragg Liquid Aminos as one of the ingredients.  Everyone’s favorite Domestik Goddess then asked what exactly they are.

I thought it would be a good thing to talk about since until only the last few weeks did I actually become aware of how to cook with them.  Even then I went ahead and did a little research into what they are since all I knew is that they are a replacement for soy sauce in a number of recipes.

What I found is that Bragg Liquid Aminos is a raw, fermented soy-based sauce.  While the sources I looked at would not break down exactly how they are made, it is basically thought to be a chemical process in which the proteins in the soy are broken down with an acid and then nutralized (likely with baking soda.)

In practical use, Bragg Liquid Aminos is a very deep, salty sauce.  First and foremost, Bragg Liquid Amino acids taste like heavily concentrated soy sauce.  It is also slightly bitter and I think has an almost alkaline aftertaste.  Still, the sauce brings a lot of flavor to the party and is useful in a number of dishes.  It still hasn’t unseated tamari (low sodium, right Sue?) as my weapon of choice when it comes to making most Asian foods, but there are times when I will use it, especially when that is what the recipe calls for.

So last post, I talked about making my own seitan so that I could fry it up and make “buffalo wings.”

Here are the seitan wings I made:

Seitan "Buffalo" WingsIt’s kind of hard to see, but they turned out really well.  There was something about the light, moistness of the homemade seitan that turned into juicy wings (well cubes…I guess.)

It was very simple to do.  You can pretty much use any chicken wing recipe you want, but substitute my seitan recipe instead.

Or you can use the following recipe:

You will need:

To fry the seitan

  • 1 cup of All Purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion power
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 batch of seitan cut into boneless buffalo wing sized pieces
  • oil for frying

To make the barbecue sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (I perfer Oklahoma Joe’s Night of the Living B-B-Q sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons of sriracha
  1. Make the barbecue sauce by mixing both ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. 
  2. Add all ingredients for frying except the seitan and the oil in a plastic bag and shake thoroughly to mix.
  3. Put the seitan pieces in the plastic bag a few at a time and shake to cover in the flour/spice mixture.  Shake off excess flour.  Remove from the bag and put aside to set.
  4. Bring the oil to temperature over high heat or in a fryer.  Test the oil by putting in a small piece of seitan.  Bubbles should form around the seitan.  If bubbles do not form, the oil is not hot enough.  Wait a few minutes and try again.
  5. When the oil is ready, add the seitan in small batches and fry until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
  6. Put the seitan on a cookie cooling rack and let the oil drip away.
  7. Once the seitan has cooled, put it into a plastic bowl with a lid or a plastic bag with the barbecue sauce.  Shake to cover.

Give it a try.  It’s a pretty unhealthy way to eat a pretty healthy food (seitan), but with football season here, you have to live a little bit!

Part of my challenge with vegetarianism, especially as I head towards more strict vegetarianism, is getting protein.  For the human body to function, even at rest, the USDA recommends 50g of protein per day.  For those who do not eat meat,  ingesting that much protein can be tough, especially when many vegetarian sources of protein (notably beans) do not contain complete proteins and must be paired with other foods to get all the required amino acids.

The go-to protein food for many vegetarians is tofu.  Which is great, but the problem is that the way I like it (firm or extra firm tofu put into stir fries or fajitas) takes about 2 hours to do right.  When the boy is hungry, that’s way too much time.

Enter Seitan (pronounced, unfortunately, as say-tun or as everyone’s favorite bringer of evil, Satan.)

Seitan has allowed me to keep my vegetarianism once already and may be what lets me stay vegetarian a second time.  The first time occurred maybe two months after I decided to stop eating meat.  I had taken my son to a restaurant for dinner and sat down next to a man enjoying a slab of ribs.  The smell of the sauce from those ribs nearly threw me into an absolute frenzy to the point I wanted to reach across the aisle and take the ribs.  On pain of death if necessary.

After complaining to my wife that I could not do the vegetarian thing anymore, she reminded me of an article in Vegetarian Times where they did vegetarian pulled pork with seitan.  One trip to Whole Foods later, I had a package of seitan which I cooked in some barbecue sauce and voila! vegetarianism saved.  Crisis averted.

Anyway, I am finding myself in a situation where I need more protein.  Suddenly things I would not normally eat, namely kidney beans and cheese sandwiches, taste like gourmet food fit for royalty.  My wife again reminded me that seitan, made from wheat gluten, is very high in protein and that I should consider fixing it and eating it more often.

Last night gave me the chance to try out her suggest.  We invited a vegan friend over dinner.  My wife said she was going to fix stir fry, but when our son needed her attention, I ended up fixing dinner.  This is what we had:

  • 1 Package Seitan, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari
  • 2 tablespoons of soy ginger sauce (may substitute with 2 more tablespoons of tamari and 1 teaspoon of ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 medium or 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 pinches of kosher salt
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4in. coins
  • 1 leek, sliced into 1/4 in coins
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 broccoli stem cut into 1/4 in. coins
  • 3 portabellas cut into 1/2 in. wide strips
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  1. Boil the seitan over medium low heat in the 1/4 cup of tamari, soy ginger sauce, ginger, and garlic powder for 10 minutes or until it is soft all the way through.
  2. Bring the heat to medium high, add the olive oil, and sauté the seitan for three minutes to give it a little structure.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions.  Add 1 pinch of kosher salt.  Cook until the onions are soft.
  4. Add the green pepper, carrots, leeks, broccoli florets, broccoli stem. and another pinch of salt.  Cook until carrots reach desired softness.  This step is pretty much up to each individual cook.  I like my carrots to have a bite to them, so I cook them for maybe 10 minutes.   Some may want them to cook longer.
  5. Add the portabellas and the final pinch of salt.  Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the corn and cook for about a minute.
  7. Add the last two tablespoons of tamari and cook for another minute.

Serve over rice and enjoy! 

Oh, and on a side note, I can’t wait to tell my family that liking seitan keeps me vegetarian.  Especially when I pronounce it properly.