Tag Archives: salad

All Hail Seitan

A classic joke about a classic meat-replacement product. I’ve known seitan since my childhood where we used to get it from the local eco-hippy-esque store, as the vegetarian option alongside “boerenkool” or “hutspot” (traditional Dutch dishes of mashed potatoes+vegetables; kale for the first and carrot+onions for the second). We used to coat a thin slice of seitan in flour and fry it to create a crunchy layer on the outside, yum! Shortly after moving to the UK, I found myself in a pub looking for vegan options on the menu. They had a “Hail Seitan” burger, exciting and a pretty funny joke the first time! Imagine my disappointment in the tasteless thick slab of cold seitan I received…

Seitan really is a very versatile product so naturally the quality of your meal highly depends on how it is prepared. In essence, the only two ingredients needed for seitan are gluten flour (aka “vital wheat gluten”) and water. This creates a very sticky dough, which can then be boiled or steamed to cook. After that it’s edible, but usually this is the basic ingredient which can be cut and prepared in different ways (I guess this is something the “Hail Seitan” cook didn’t know about). The basic recipe of gluten flour + water is pretty tasteless, but flavours can be added in different ways: spices in the flour, soy sauce and the like to replace some of the water, and broth for boiling. After experimenting a bit I created an improvised seitan kebab which I was very pleased with, so I’ll share the recipe here.

Seitan kebab

Ingredients

(Enough for four pitas)

For the seitan dough:
150 g of gluten flour (aka vital wheat gluten)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2-3 tsp paprika/smoked paprika (you can use a mix and adjust depending on how much smokey flavour you want)
pinch of salt
~tbsp soy sauce
~250 mL water

For the broth:
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (Optional, broth without garlic will work fine as well)
vegetable cube
enough water to cover you seitan

For the sauce:
140 g tomato puree
1 tsp sambal oelek (or other spice paste. Adjust based on your desired 🌶️🌶️🌶️ level, 1 tsp sambal gives it a bit of a kick but nothing crazy)
juice of one lemon
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup

Any oil for frying

Method

Making the seitan. Mix the gluten flour with spices and salt, then stir in the soy sauce and some of the water. Add water and stir or kneed with your hands until all the flour is hydrated and you have a cohesive, lumpy dough (as in the first picture below).
In a pan that can easily contain your lump of seitan (it will expand while cooking), fry the garlic in some oil, then add the vegetable cube and some water to dissolve it. Place your lump in the pan, then add water to cover it [1].
Boil for a total of about half an hour, until the seitan is cooked (you should be able to see a colour change). To make this easier, cut into a few thick slabs about halfway through the cooking time. [2][3]

Making the kebab. Slice the cooked seitan into thin pieces. They don’t have to be regularly shaped. I like to cut the thick slabs as an angle (see the second picture below). Place the pieces between a few paper towels to drain any liquid.
Prepare your sauce by mixing all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the flavour: more lemon juice for sour, more soy sauce for salt, and more maple syrup for sweet [4].
Fry the kebab slices in some oil for a few minutes. This step is not necessary as the seitan is already cooked, but it’s nice to get a bit of browning on the outside. Then add the sauce and a splash of water. Cook the sauce down to reduce it, but also to cook the tomato puree, stirring frequently.

Serve. Serve however you like, for example in a toasted pita. The bread is mainly carbs and the seitan in mainly protein (gluten flour is 75% protein by weight), so I like to serve vegetables on the side. Bonus recipe for the salad from the picture at the bottom!

Notes

  • [1] Obviously you can make broth any way you want and cook the seitan in it, for example with herbs and salt, or bouillon powder rather than a vegetable cube.
  • [2] You can store the cooked seitan with its cooking broth in a closed container in the fridge. Not exactly sure how long it will keep, but this will allow you to split the work onto different days. You could also make more seitan to use in different recipes!
  • [3] Even if you don’t need it to store the seitan, you can use the broth as a basis for soup or stew. If you store it for too long, the seitan bits in the broth might get a bit funky, but a few days stored in the fridge is definitely not a problem.
  • [4] A smart person would not add all their available lemon juice in one go, but save some for the adjustments. The quantities given in the recipe are really just a guess so tasting is strongly recommended!
Your lump of seitan should look something like this
Cutting the cooked seitan slabs into thin pieces
Sauce cooked down for a nice and sticky coating
Seitan kebab done!

My favourite green salad (thanks mum!)

Ingredients

green beans, cooked
cucumber
avocado
olives (green or black)
good quality olive oil (we are adding this for flavour, so it had better taste good)
salt

Method

Halve the green beans and the olives. Peel the avocado (not the cucumber, do you really want to remove most of the flavour?!) and cut it and the cucumber into chunks. Mix the veg with some olive oil and salt (less salt if you’re using black olives, because they are saltier by themselves).