Here’s another one of those posts where lovely, healthy Mrs “all I eat is vegetables” Veg makes something that looks really wrong and unhealthy. Something normally reserved for the journey home from the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. I can’t make any health claims at all, but at least it’s better for you than the real thing (and, come to think of it, better for the lambs and whatever other poor critters end up in the kebab), and it comes with SALAD for goodness sake!
I’ve finally got the hang of making good seitan and I absolutely love it. I don’t make it very often, because vital wheat gluten is pretty expensive here in the UK, but the cost and effort involved is totally worth it because it’s crazily good. It’s the chewiest and most satisfying vegetarian meat I know, and because you can flavour it and shape it however you like it’s brilliantly versatile.
Whenever Mr Veg and I eat seitan, one of us will always observe that it could make excellent doner meat. The seitan recipe I normally use comes out a little on the beefy side, so it needed some work to change the flavour. I halved the amount of soy sauce to make it lighter, and added carrots to the broth to make it sweeter. I’ve also added typical doner spices to the seitan itself.
- I based the recipe on Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Simmered Seitan from Isa Does It. You could use a different recipe if you prefer, but adapt it as described above.
- If you prefer a stronger spicy flavour, you could try frying the seitan in the cumin and coriander rather than adding them to the raw dough. This could also work if you want to use shop-bought seitan rather than making your own.
Recipe (makes two very generous portions):
For the seitan:
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced to a fine paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 small pitta breads, warmed and split open
- Chilli sauce or garlic mayo
- Pickled jalapeños
Put the vegetable stock and the chopped carrot in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
While you’re waiting for the pan to boil, mix together the VWG, nooch, cumin and coriander together in a medium-sized bowl. In a small jug, combine the cold water, garlic, tomato puree, and soy sauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix quickly until it starts to come together as a ball of dough. Knead this ball for a minute or two until smooth and elastic.
Chop the ball of dough into four equal pieces, and drop these into the boiling stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and do not let it boil.
Drain the seitan and allow to cool a little. Don’t throw away the cooked carrots – you could add them to a soup or stew later.
Slice the cooled seitan as thinly as you can. Allow to dry out for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the pittas, sauces, and salad.
Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Fry the sliced seitan in the oil for 10 minutes until it’s as greasy or crispy as you prefer.
Serve the seitan in pittas, topped with sauce and salad. Enjoy with a beer or two and try to resist the urge to drop half of it on the pavement.