Montag, 7. Januar 2013

Seitan: how to

Reading Hiroyukis post about Kuruma Fu fries I rembered Seitan. I used to make Seitan quite a lot when I lived my very vegetarian side of life many years ago and now I started to prepare a new batch. The first since years.
To produce Seitan is very simple. It just needs a little time. All in all it is just a mere 20 minutes of prepartion the rest is simmering.
First step:
Knead a dough:

1 kg wheat flour
600 ml warm water

Step #1 kneading flour and water into dough
Knead 10 minutes by hand or use a strong kitchen machine (highly recommended), let run 5 minutes.
Form a ball, place the ball in a big bowl filled with lukewarm water.
Step #2: watering the dough
The ball has to be covered by water. I used a big salad washing bowl, the sieve is included which is very convenient. Later on you will need a sieve to wash the dough. Let dough sit in water for 30 minutes up to 1 hour:
watering the dough
Remove the water, rinse and “wash”  ball in fresh cold water – the water turns white. Change water (just lift the sieve and get rid of the waste water), rinse the ball in the sieve under running water, fill the bowl with warm water (not hot) and wash the dough again. 
Washing means to stretch and knead the remains in the water – gluten forms long threads – this is what we want! During this procedure the dough will loose more than half of its size because the starch will be removed - that is what turns the water white.

After 3 times washing:
Step #3 washing the dough
Rinse and wash ball again while changing the water temperature (cold/warm). Whenever cold water is in use the dough gets firmer, when warm water is in use softer. Perform those steps a few times until the water in the bowl  is see through cloudy white only.  Finished:

finished washing
 Fill the remains (gluten) into a towel and press  as much as you can to remove water. I used my tofu mould instead - very convenient.

Step #5 removing water and pressing
The pressed brick (or ball while using a towel) can be cut into whatever shapes and sizes: slices for cutlets or formed into sausage. I use it as it is: a brick.
Meanwhile cook a deeply flavoured broth:

Step #6 cooking marinade/broth
For the broth which will add some flavour to the Seitan:
800 ml water
1 pack instant dashi
1 piece of konbu (size was palm of my hand)
1 carrot, cut into pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into pieces
Cuttings from spring onion ends (green parts)
a few dried shiitake (mushrooms)
1 big glove garlic, crushed
1 thump sized piece of ginger root, roughly cut
1 tablespoon sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pinch salt
Simmer 30 minutes and strain.

*) Some use even more spices and other ingredients - lots of tomatoe paste for example. But this will dominate the flavour and if I am going to use Seitan for different dishes, it is better to keep it somewhat tasty but neutral.
Place Seitan brick into the broth (Seitan should be be slightly covered by broth) bring to a rolling boil and simmer for 45 minutes, or simmer your slices, sausages. Besides: use a big pot...Seitan needs space.

Step # 7 simmering the Seitan
 From time to time spoon broth over the brick and  after 15 minutes put a drop lid on.
Don't be surprised - during simmering the brick will plump up and nearly double in size. It almost filled the pot.
After simmering just store the Seitan in the broth. Here the simmered Seitan and the mould right behind, quite a difference in size:
Seitan up for use in storage container
A first look at the texture inside:
first slice and look at the texture
Spongy but with nice chewy threads, could have less air holes but without pressure cooker quite impossible. I cut 2 slices from the brick, halved them into smaller pieces and breaded them (egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs) and fried them as a small lunch, quite yummy:

fake 'chicken' nugget
This evening I am going to use the Seitan for fake sweet spicy ribs using a chinese recipe.

After cooling in the fridge the Seitan became much more firmer and now this is what I really wanted:
the spongy bubbles are almost gone, nice texture


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Wow, thanks for your detailed instructions for making seitan!

Is seitan called seitan in Germany? Is it widely known there?

In Japan, seitan is almost unknown, except in macrobiotic circles.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Seitan is wellknown in vegan and vegetarian circles in Germany but maybe not by the meat consuming people. There are shops as organic supermarkets or healthy life shops selling Seitan products (fake meat, sausages or Seitan as it is) or the common supermarkets selling food for vegetarians and Seitan is just a part of the processed food but not called Seitan. Do it yourself is way cheaper and better: 1 kg flour costs about 45 Cent (about 55 Yen). Very cheap isn't it. Makes Seitan for at least two meals. I wonder why Seitan is not that popular in Japan.

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

In Japan, 1 kg flour costs three times as much.

I think seitan is not popular because fu has been around for centuries. It's neutral in flavor and it's versatile, just like tofu. Both fu and tofu are not substitute for meat but deserve their own uses.

Sissi hat gesagt…

It looks fascinating! I have never heard about it before I saw it on Hiroyuki's blog and I would have never suspect you make it on your own!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Sissi: Yes it is just some kind of meat replacement what makes sense if you look at the enviromental impact of meat production.