Vegan Essentials

Seitan

Discovering Seitan was a massive step forward in my Vegan cooking. Before I had tried soy and quorn (where they had made it vegan friendly), but I’ve never been someone to cook out of a packet and it didn’t feel right to start now. Tofu is fantastic, but it’s never going to make a mock meat to satisfy someone whose been eating it for years. After some googling, putting all those years at uni to *good* use, I came across Seitan. It was slightly mindboggling to me to start, and I’ll admit I was highly sceptical that it would make a decent substitute, but I was intrigued none the less.

Turns out, it’s pretty hard to get hold of such a mysterious product in the depths of the southwest. Luckily my local healthfood store stocks the flour, and it just so seems that it is most definitely the best way to play with Seitan. Cooking it from scratch allows complete control over the flavours, instead of buying multiple types you have one bag of flour and indefinite possibilities!

This little bag of flour (or 6 when the healthfood store runs out of stock and you panic buy on Amazon…) is mixed with nutritional yeast, stock and whatever herbs and spices you wish and then baked or simmered. So for a chicken type flavour I add more sage and thyme, for ribs I mix in 5 spice, for chorizo I chuck in some hot pepper sauce, for kebabs I integrate cumin, and for beef I use Worcester sauce and beef gravy – it still amazes me beef bisto is vegan!

Anyway, I use Seitan in so many of my dishes it seems like the most logical place to start. Here’s a simple, but tasty way to make beef flavoured Seitan:

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Beef Seitan – Serves 2

* Dry Ingredients 

  •  1 cup wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup gram flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, mixed herbs, thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, ground  pepper

*  Wet Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (can just use half a stock cube in boiled water)
  • 1/2 cup beef gravy
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup and 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic puree

*  Stock 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Half chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard

* Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

*Mix the wet ingredients in a jug

* Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the bowl, stiring it into a dough. Be careful as you may not need all of the stock. Once the dough is formed, kneed for 5 minutes until you can stretch the dough and see the strands of gluten.

* Mix together all the stock ingredients and pour into a deep oven dish. Break the dough into 2-3 balls and place in the stock.

* Bake for 30-45 minutes, a longer bake and longer kneeding will result in a tougher, denser end product. Turn the Seitan during cooking to ensure even coating of the stock

* Can be kept in the fridge for a week, or frozen for later use

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