Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seitan Cutlets

Zach and I decided that we wanted to make the dish on the front of the Candle 79 Cookbook -- the Nori- and Sesame-Crusted Seitan. It called for seitan cutlets, which, although abundant in Whole Foods in California, I have not been able to find in DC. So, we decided to make them from scratch using the recipe included in this book. Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is derived from the protein portion of wheat and is typically used as a meat substitute. It is what you are often eating when you eat mock meats at an Asian restaurant. The process to make seitan from scratch is extremely time-consuming. There are much quicker ways to make it, but the traditional way of making it from scratch involves kneading the dough, rinsing it to remove the wheat starch, then boiling it for hours.  But, if you devote the time, this will be, by far, some of the best seitan you've ever had. At least it was for me.

Seitan Cutlets
Makes 6-8 cutlets, about 1.5 pounds

  • 7 cups unbleached bread flour (look for flour that is high in protein, about 12-14%, for bread making)
  • 3 cups whole wheat bread flour (this flour should also be high in protein)
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or water (we used bouillon cubes reconstituted in water)
  • 1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 piece of kombu
  • 1 piece of wakame
Put the flours in a bowl. Mix the water and salt together and add to the flour. Stir until the mixture forms a ball of dough.

When you have a nice ball, cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.

Pour the water off and rinse the dough under cold running water until the water is almost clear. We found that the dough started off very slimy and was hard to hold so we divided it into two parts and rinsed them one at a time. Over time, you will be rinsing out the starch and the strands of glutenous protein will become evident. This process takes 20-30 minutes. Once finished, if you haven't already, divide the dough into 2 balls.

Put the stock in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the tamari, kombu, and wakame and decrease the heat. Add the balls of dough and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until they are firm and slice easily.

Drain the stock from the pot, reserving the stock if not using the seitan right away. Transfer the seitan to a bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Drain and slice the seitan into 1/2-inch-thick cutlets. I was able to get 6 out of my batch.

If not using the seitan at this point, store it (sliced or unsliced) in 4 cups of reserved stock or water, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Alternatively, the cutlets can be frozen (without the stock) for up to 3 months.

As I mentioned, it is time-consuming, but completely worth it in the end. Please be sure to check out my Nori- and Sesame-Crusted Seitan to see what these can become.

1 comment:

  1. I do the lazy thing and use the high-gluten flour either from Bob's Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills.