Basic Home-Made Seitan

Seitan is one of my favourite meat-free alternatives. Cooked right, it has the most succulent, chewy texture which makes it perfect for adding to any kind of meal where meat typically takes centre stage, like kebabs and steak. Store-bought seitan can be expensive and not so easy to come by here in the UK, so I choose to make my own. In this post, I’m sharing my favourite basic seitan recipe. It’s really easy to prepare and takes only 15 minutes hands on time.

Seitan (also known as ‘wheat meat’) is made with vital wheat gluten, which is the protein part of the wheat seed, milled into flour. Per 100g, vital wheat gluten flour contains a whopping 75g protein. It’s also low in fat and contains zero cholesterol, making it a healthier alternative to animal products.

Here in the West, seitan’s had somewhat of a resurgence in the past couple of years (thanks to the explosion of plant-based lifestyles), but it’s been popular for centuries in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. You may have seen ‘Mock Duck’, ‘Mock Beef’ and similar on the menu in your local Chinese restaurants and take-aways, or the canned varieties in Chinese supermarkets. These products are typically made with wheat gluten.

There are a variety of ways to prepare seitan. You can boil, steam, bake and pan fry it. Each method produces a different texture. How you choose to prepare your seitan comes down to personal preference, so I highly recommend trying a few recipes and seeing what works best for you. A couple of years ago, I first tried my hand at making seitan, but I wasn’t keen on the flavour. The recipe included a fair amount of chickpea (gram) flour and this is what I could detect in the final product. Since then, I’ve chosen to omit the flour and I find the seitan tastes much more palatable.

While steaming is probably the most popular cooking method, I personally prefer to simmer it in a pan of broth. I don’t even wrap it in any foil. Boiling it direct in the broth, I find the seitan takes on a lovely flavour and soaks up the broth, leaving it succulent. When I’ve steamed it or wrapped the seitan before simmering, it does stay a neater shape, but it’s a bit drier and chewier. For me, the taste and texture is the most important features of seitan so I don’t mind it looking a bit ugly and bumpy on the outside. It doesn’t stay whole for long anyhow as I slice it into strips for kebabs or sandwiches.

You can flavour seitan in myriad ways using different combinations of herbs and spices. The basic seitan I’m sharing today can be eaten as it is, without any additional flavouring, however pan-frying it in a little olive oil will enhance its flavour.

When making my vegan version of doner kebabs, I like to spice up the seitan strips with smoked paprika and ground cumin, which I sprinkle in as I’m pan-frying it. I’ll be sharing my doner kebab recipe very soon, so I’ll link to it here once it’s ready… here it is

If it’s your first time making seitan, I would recommend making a half batch of the recipe below (no need to split the dough into two pieces; keep it as one) and see how you get on. (This is what I did for the first handful of times I made it, then I started to double the quantities). I tend to make one batch of seitan each week, which I store in the fridge in an airtight container. I have heard that seitan is freezable but I’ve yet to try it as ours never hangs around for very long!

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This recipe is being submitted to the Suma Blogger’s Network. Big thank you to Suma for supplying me with their lovely products which I used to create this recipe:
Suma Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, which is available for customers in the UK to purchase from independent health food shops and online.
Suma Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Suma Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder / Marigold Vegan Bouillon Powder
Suma Organic Garlic Granules
Clearspring Tamari Soya Sauce
Marigold Engevita Yeast Flakes with B12
– Onion powder, purchased from my local health food shop (Harvest in Bath) or online

If you try this recipe, please come back and leave a review. It’s so helpful to me (and other readers) to hear your experiences and ideas for variations. Thank you! ❤️

And by the way, if you ever find yourself in Camden Market, London be sure to head to the Young Vegans Pie & Mash cafe. Their seitan steak and ale pie is so good! It has the most tender ‘melt in your mouth’ texture.  Hands down the best seitan I’ve tried so far!

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Basic Home-Made Seitan

  1. These are really tasty; filling too! I couldn’t eat more than a couple although I might give it a try when no one is looking.

    1. So pleased you like them! They are very filling. I can manage about 1.5 but luckily there’s always someone happy to taking the remaining half off me 😊

  2. I will try by replacing wheat gluten etc with chickpea flour and a little psyllium for elasticity. I haven’t got it right yet but I will keep on as it will be good to have something similar for meat eaters I know.

    1. That’s amazing that you’re trying to create a gluten-free alternative to seitan. Yes, don’t give up. It will be an incredible achievement if you can master it. Be sure to come back and let me know xx

  3. So good to find someone else who loves seitan as much as I do! Yours looks really scrummy, Sharon.

    I’ve been introducing it to my customers too, and they all love it. Some haven’t believed me when I’ve said that it’s completely vegan!

    Happy birthday, BTW – hope you’re having a lovely weekend! xx

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