Friday, 7 October 2011

Free Friday: Seitan

I've made it to Friday but I seems so much longer. I've been cooking and trying new things almost flat out I get through a couple of recipes a day. There is some good stuff coming out of my kitchen just waiting to be blogged about. I always like to try new things for Mofo and top on my list this year was cracking seitan. Seitan is something that didn't really register on my radar until I bought Vegan With A Vengeance and as I expanded my library with American vegan titles my mouth just kept watering.

But what is a British girl to do? We can't get vital wheat gluten very easily here and while I knew of a few mail order places I never actually totalled up the cost and ordered any. I did try to make some by washing flour last year but considering I've never posted about seitan before you can guess how that ended up. This year I decided to stop procrastinating - it's been four years since I first bought Vegan With A Vengeance - and order some damn vital wheat gluten. I bought mine from Real Foods and it's organic so... yay!
I've wanted this for four years

I crawled through all my cookbooks for a seitan recipe to try and I landed with the one in Appetite for Reduction, it seemed simple enough and didn't require nutritional yeast. Making it was a bit odd. I really wasn't expecting how solid and hard to work the dough would become in such a short time. After shaping the balls, such as they where, went into the broth for simmering. When they came out it was a tiny... huge... massive shock to me. They bloody felt like meat! Not steak at a posh restaurant but respectable enough for a meatball sub. It was weird.

There once was an ugly duckling...
So into my fridge they go and I spend some time plotting how I'm going to eat it. Two thing contributed to my decision. One is that I had broccoli in my vegetable box the other is that I have a deep, and consuming love of syrupy sauces like the ones served at the local Chinese chippy when I was growing up. When I'm back up North I eat all the syrupy Chinese dishes I want with tofu but here in the South I haven't found a Chinese take-away that I like in walking distance. And none of them do double duty serving traditional chip shop pies, fish and peas as well as Chinese food. I'm assuming that's just a Northern thing?

I decided on the Beef and Broccoli bowl from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. It hits all the spots that my childhood Chinese food did. It has a sweet, thick sauce that soaks through the rice, broccoli and a beef like thing. And that beef like thing? A little weird, it does look like cheap processed meat but thankfully it tastes fabulous, has a great mouth feel and goes fabulously with the sauce.

Four years? That was way too long to wait to try this stuff. Thankfully there is more in my fridge.

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