Seitan (mock meat)

Seitan is a mock meat that’s much easier to make than you’d expect, and with no special ingredients that you’re unlikely to have in your pantry.

You can use seitan in pretty much any dish in place of meat, as it’s so versatile. Depending on how you prepare, flavour and cut your seitan, it can substitute for chicken pieces, mince, or even sausages or a pot roast.

Once you’ve made your seitan it keeps in the fridge for a few days, if you don’t plan to use it all at once.

This recipe provides enough for one meal for 4 people. If you want to cook for more or less people, change the quantities of flour and water while keeping the ratio of 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of water the same.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of plain flour
  • 2 cups of water

Directions:

  1. Place flour and water in a large mixing bowl together
  2. Combine the flour and water with your hands until the mixture is a sticky, doughy consistency
  3. Knead and stretch the mixture for about 5 minutes – you’ll see strands of gluten appear, and the mixture will darken slightly
  4. Leave the seitan mixture in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for at least 30 minutes (longer is better, but you don’t need to do it for any longer than 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry)
  5. Wash the starch off your seitan, leaving only the protein – do this by half-filling the bowl with water, and gently massaging the starch out of the seitan. When the water is white, replace it with clean water (you don’t have to waste the starchy water – you can keep it for thickening soups, stews and sauces, or for making noodles).
  6. As you wash the starch off the seitan you’ll notice it becomes firmer, and you’ll be able to handle it more roughly to get the last bits of starch out
  7. When the water remains clear this signals that all of the starch is gone, and you are left with only protein – seitan – and it will be about one sixth to one quarter the amount you started off with with the flour and water mixture
  8. You’re not done yet… Fill a large pot with water and add flavours to it in order to infuse your seitan with flavour – various ingredients such as soy sauce, tamari, miso, and a whole range of herbs and spices will add flavour to your seitan – it’s up to you what you use
  9. Bring the water to simmering point, and then plop in your seitan – don’t allow the water to boil
  10. Your seitan will signal that it’s done when it floats to the top of the pot
  11. Turn off the heat, transfer the seitan to a bowl and set aside – you may want to marinate it at this point, or just set it aside for use later

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