How to make seitan (the original meat substitute)

Seitan meat substitute
Seitan was developed thousands of years ago as a meat substitute. According to wikipedia, it first appeared during the 6th century as an ingredient for Chinese noodles. It has historically been popular in the cuisines of China, Japan and other East and Southeast Asian nations where it is popular with Buddhists who do not eat meat.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten, which was originally made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass, which is then cooked before being eaten. Today, you can buy powdered vital wheat gluten from healthfood shops if you don’t want to go through the process of washing flour dough (this recipe explains how to do it).The gluten gives seitan a chewy or stringy texture that resembles meat more than other substitutes like tofu made from soybeans.

Some recipes create a solid block of seitan, like Seitan Wellington. But if you want to go for the stringy texture, we recommend this recipe for Slow Cooker Italian Beef-style Seitan from the Seitan Society.
In summary you are making dough, twisting and knotting it to create the stringy texture, frying it to add oil and colour and then simmering it in broth for a few hours. So it’s a bit like cooking dumplings but when they are cooked you untie the knot and pull the strings apart. To untie the knot, you find the middle hole with your thumbs and gently tease them apart. See our video for demonstration.
It is an American recipe so if you don’t get on with cups here is our version with metric measurements (you can substitute a lot of the flavouring ingredients):


155gms wheat gluten
90gms starch (eg cornflour, potato flakes, lentil/chickpea flour)
2 tblspns nutritional yeast flakes
1 tblspn mushroom/beetroot powder
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn garlic/onion powder
235ml broth
 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
 2 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos
 1 tbsp molasses
 1 tsp Marmite
Simmering broth
940ml broth
herbs, flavourings, garlic etc

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