What is Seitan ?

This “meat” made from wheat is a boon for those seeking chewier, firmer protein. Unlike tofu, the sturdy texture of seitan holds up where tofu and tempeh crumble. Seitan is the only one of the protein trio I make myself; if you can knead bread dough, you can make seitan and use it to make Seitan coriander cutlets.
Even more forgiving than bread, seitan doesn’t require rising or messing with yeast. In the good old days of seitan making, cooks made the gluten dough through an arduous process of kneading, rinsing, and boiling whole wheat flour dough for hours. Modern home cooks (that’s you holding this book, even if you’ve yet to make seitan) now use a flour called vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten flour (once reserved for professional bakers to help loaves rise higher) is a concentrated wheat flour with much of the starch removed. Creating a firm, starch-free dough takes minutes instead of hours! If you consume gluten, fast homemade seitan is an exciting food to work into your recipe rotation.

These flavorful seitan cutlets blend well with a wide range of cuisines, especially with the Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and Mediterranean recipes . Baking gives it a chewier texture, ideal for grilling and long simmers in any tagine stew.

  • 1 1⁄2 cups cold vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed or grated with a Microplane grater
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 3⁄4 cups vital wheat gluten flour (one 10-ounce package)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a 1-quart measuring cup or bowl, whisk together vegetable broth, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, and tomato paste. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, coriander, and cumin. Form a well in the center and pour in the broth mixture.

2. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together; as the flour absorbs the broth, a moist dough will rapidly form. When all of the broth is absorbed, use both hands to fold the dough in a kneading motion for 2 to 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then divide into four equal pieces.

3. Tear away four pieces of foil about 12 inches wide. Spray the dull side of each piece of foil lightly with olive oil or canola oil cooking spray.
Shape a piece of dough into an oval on the oiled side of the foil and pat it down to a thickness of about 3⁄4 of an inch. Fold foil as directed for 5-Spice Seitan. It’s very important to leave some space in the foil pouch; as it bakes, the seitan will expand and if the foil is too tight, it might burst through the pouch!

4. Place the foil packages side by side directly on a baking rack positioned in the center of the oven. Bake for 32 to 34 minutes; seitan should be firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool, still wrapped in foil, on the kitchen counter for 45 minutes before using. For best flavor and texture, cool the seitan to room temperature, keep it wrapped in the foil, store in a tightly covered container, and chill overnight. If desired, freeze seitan and use within 2 months; to defrost, leave in the refrigerator overnight. This recipe takes well to variations. Omit the ground coriander and cumin and add the following when mixing the dry ingredients.

Herbes de Provence Seitan: Add 1 tablespoon of dried, crumbled Herbes de Provence blend.
Curry Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of any curry powder from purchased Indian Madras style, Jamaican Curry Powder, or any homemade blend.

Garam Masala Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of garam masala spice blend, either purchased or homemade.
Mediterranean Seitan: Add 2 teaspoons of dried,crumbled oregano plus 2 teaspoons of dried, crumbled rosemary. Increase garlic to 4 cloves total.