Seitan (‘say-tan’) is a high-yielding vegan protein made from wheat gluten.
Serves: Makes 8–10 fillets
Time: 60 minutes PLUS cooling time
Recipe by: Jason McNamara
3 tsp vegan chicken stock powder
3 Cups (750 ml) boiling water
250g oyster mushrooms
4 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2–3 tsp Tbsp light soy sauce or mushroom soy sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika or hickory liquid smoke
3 Cups (3 × 250 ml) vital wheat gluten, see Notes, page 133
1/3 Cup (85 ml) nutritional yeast
1/3 cup (85 ml) pea flour or chickpea flour
1½ tsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp fine salt
Wet mix: Combine the stock powder and boiling water and set aside to cool. Roughly chop the mushrooms and place in a bowl with 2 Tbsp oil, the lemon juice, soy sauce and smoked paprika or liquid smoke. Stir to combine, then spread evenly on a baking tray. Place under a preheated grill for 5 minutes, then turn gently and grill for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden brown. Set aside to cool, then place the cooled mushroom mix, cooled stock and remaining 2 Tbsp oil in a blender and blend to a thick paste. (Do this in batches if necessary.)
Dry mix: Place the vital wheat gluten, flour, nutritional yeast, paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine.
Making seitan: Make a well in the centre, add the wet mix and use your hands to mix it into a bread-like dough. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes, pulling and pushing it to activate the gluten. Rest the dough for 5 minutes, then knead again for 5 minutes and rest for a further 5 minutes. (The combination of kneading and resting is essential for obtaining the right texture; too little resting means the dough will be tough, while not enough kneading will result in ‘chicken’ that is too soft.) Cut the dough into 8–10 equal-sized pieces (± 100g each) and flatten and shape each piece to resemble a chicken fillet. Place the fillets in a bamboo steamer or colander set over boiling water and steam for 30–40 minutes, or until firm. (Do this in batches if necessary.) Remove and set aside to cool. You’ll have what resembles cooked ‘chicken fillets’ that can be eaten as is, or used in other recipes.
Chefs Tip: It takes time to make and you might need a few attempts to get it right, but persevere, you won’t be sorry.