Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meat of Wheat

A week or two ago, I was looking online for good vegetarian recipes (I don't intend to be a vegetarian again, but I do want to cut out most meat), and I stumbled across a recipe for seitan, which I'd never heard of before but have eaten dozens of times. Seitan (pronounced 'say-tahn') is that fake meat they serve in restaurants (I've only had it at Chinese places). It's got a more meat-like texture than tofu, and the flavor can be varied a lot with experimentation.

So I've been obsessed with seitan for the last week: comparing recipes, reading about how nutritional it is (very little fat, few calories, a fair amount of fiber, and tons of protein), talking with Luke about all the dinners I think we could make with seitan as a substitute for the meat, etc. etc. etc. Tonight we finally made it, and it was actually as good as (if not better than) I'd built it up in my head.

Seitan, post-simmer, and before frying with a little oil for General Tso's "chicken"

Basically, it's made by making an elastic-y log out of wheat gluten flour mixed with water (we also added soy sauce, nutritional yeast flakes* and garlic for more flavor), and then simmering that log in a broth for an hour (we used a vegetable stock, a little soy sauce, and red pepper flakes). Our recipe resulted in three big, puffy hunks- about two servings each- that can be used in all kinds of meals.

We made general tso's seitan, with orange and green bell peppers, water chestnuts, broccoli, and mushrooms, and it was GOOD! We wish we'd discovered seitan two years ago, when we first started cooking together. This opens up a whole new world of nutritional cooking!

*I just learned about nutritional yeast, too. It's a deactivated yeast that makes up a complete protein, is a good source of B-complex vitamins, and tastes really good, too.


  1. Whitney and I could finally eat dinner together! No more family fights!

  2. In the name of marital harmony, Whitney and I are going to make some this week.

  3. And sausage! Don't forget to tell him about the sausage!