This is very tasty. It’s also cheap to make but takes a wee while so it’s worth doubling up the quantities to make a large batch – it freezes for up to 3 months so go for it. It isn’t difficult but it’s a bit faffy so get out all the ingredients and equipment first – it will streamline the operation nicely!
This recipe uses some niche ingredients but these are working their way gradually into the mainstream…
- Vital gluten flour (see below)
- Liquid smoke (available online or Harvey Nichols stores)
- Nutritional yeast flakes (Engevita): Holland & Barrett, health food shops and Ocado
- Red miso paste – look for genmai or a medium brown/reddish type miso. Sold in larger supermarkets, eg Sanchi or Clearspring brands, Oriental stores, health food shops, Ocado and other online stores. Also makes a wonderful stock base for soups, casseroles etc and keeps well in the fridge for ages, in an airtight container
But what IS seitan anyway, you cry? Read on…
Seitan – or gluten – is the original meat alternative. This tasty dish originates in China from the 6th century and was often eaten by vegetarian Buddhist monks, amongst others. It has since percolated round the Far East, eg Japan and Vietnam and is used in contemporary Western veggie and vegan food.
It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed. Buying vital gluten flour means the work has been done for you! High in protein, low in fat, and dense in texture, it lends itself to all sorts of dishes, including stir fries, ‘steaks’, rashers, deli slices for sandwiches, meat balls/chunks and more.
While it is an excellent source of protein, it is pure gluten so best not eaten more than once a week – it’s always good to include as wide a variety of foods as possible, eg pulses, tofu, nuts, wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and the like. Obviously, seitan is unsuitable for the gluten or wheat intolerant.
Where can I buy it?
Ready-prepared gluten flour (also known as vital gluten or vital wheat gluten flour) is available from some health food shops or else online from stores such as Veggie Stuff; Vegan X; Honest to Goodness and Realfoods (who sell an organic version). As you’ll see, it’s worth shopping around to get the best deal. It can be a very economical dish to make.
PIcture of (not yet fried) rashers courtesy of Cookin’ From a Bitchin’ Kitchen with thanks (her recipe is different from ours but very nice!)
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