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Seitan is made from the protein in wheat, in other words the gluten. All the starch is washed out of the wheat leaving pure gluten which consists of over 80% protein. Quite clearly this is not suitable for anyone who is coeliac or has an intolerance to gluten.
The resulting powder is then seasoned and mixed into a dough with water or stock before being poached. Frequently the Seitan is poached in flavoured stock to take on the taste of a type of meat. For me making a vegetable product taste like meat is not something I feel I need to do, I’m quite happy with vegetables tasting like vegetables. Having said that, Seitan, like tofu is a pretty bland product, so it does need flavour adding to it, I’m having fun experimenting with different flavourings and will share my successes and failures with you. Because seitan has a high protein content it’s texture is quite dense and it can be browned like meat or sliced and then fried to crispness, which can add some interesting textures to dishes.

This first seitan I made, I can’t say I was very happy with the texture, it was very dense and a bit rubbery. It needed fat in it to lighten up the texture. Not one to waste anything, I cut it into matchstick shapes, fried until crisp, which came out pretty good, and added it to oriental fried rice. As the seitan was quite bland this first time of making it, it needed the flavour of the ginger, garlic and chilli to perk it up.

SEITAN – FIRST TRY BASIC RECIPE – ONE PORTION – all spoon measurements are level spoons

4 tablespoons gluten powder

1 tablespoon chickpea flour

pinch of salt

vegetable stock

In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients together.

Add enough water to make a workable dough and knead to a smooth consistency.

Form into a sausage shape.

Heat the stock to a simmer and put the dough into the stock. Keep the heat low so that the stock is only just moving. I find cooking the seitan in a slow cooker on a low setting works well.

Cook for 40 minutes then remove the seitan from the broth.

Cool and cut into matchstick shapes, before frying and adding to the stir fried rice.

Tomorrow Seitan Herb Dumplings for soup.