Satanic Seitan?

I was trying to think of something Halloween appropriate for today’s post, and yet I really wanted it to be about food. I’ve got it … How I made my own wheat meat or … trying to avoid a cauldron full of brains!

So back in January, I went vegetarian for a month because, well, just because. One of my favorite protein sources was seitan, which is made of wheat gluten. If you’ve ever had “mock” meat of any kind in an Asian restaurant, you have had seitan. Unfortunately, it is really expensive.

Seitan's Cost

After my vegetarian challenge was over, I wanted to have seitan again, only not pay that much (I am frugal after all!). I discovered that you can make it yourself.

In reading the directions, everyone kept commenting that it was really easy to end up with the entire batch having the consistency of brains. Zombie Halloween tie in!!!!

Months ago when I first made it, no brains. Then I decided to make it again for this post. As I was looking to find my recipe, I found another one that actually cut nearly an hour of cooking time, so I decided to make them both. Fortunately the recipes were similar enough that the dough was the same, only the cooking methods varied.

Seitan First Knead

Actually, that is a big fat lie. I messed up and added all the broth to the wheat gluten of the first recipe instead of only half, and I didn’t have enough to do a double batch of that and the other type … but I digress!

At this point, after a few minutes of resting, my new recipe called for me cutting half the dough into cutlets and sticking them into the oven. After a flipping half way through, they were done after 15 minutes.

Baked Seitan

Excellent texture, great taste.

The other method involves bringing a vat of broth up to a boil, reducing it to a simmer, and then poaching the dough in the broth.

Simmering Liquid for Seitan

Assuming the fluid doesn’t come to a boil, after the allotted cooking time, one should have a batch of nice firm seitan.

Well, my broth did not come to a boil, but I ended up with really spongy seitan, that did feel just like brains… and yes, I have felt brains before – human brains, as a matter of fact!

Boiled Seitan

Well, not only was it spongy, it did really look like the subject of a previous blog post! Never fear, the same recipes that warned me about the possibility of a spongy consistency also advised how to fix it: bake it in cutlet sized pieces. Yup, I could have skipped the whole boiling phase and ended up with the same thing!

If you are adventurous, I highly recommend this seitan recipe – the smart, bake it to start with method!

What are some foods you’ve prepared that if you don’t follow the directions correctly, things can go horribly wrong? Am I the only one who has felt a human brain?

8 thoughts on “Satanic Seitan?”

  1. Ahhh, here I find we digress. Have I ever felt a human brain? Uhm – NO! And the photo you have of the boiling method looks like you’ve got some eyeballs floatin’ there. Very Halloween-ish, indeed. I’ve never heard to seitan. How interesting. And yes, appropriate for a halloween post.

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    1. Seitan is actually quite yummy. It has a more meat-like texture than tofu. It is quite filling as well. I highly recommend the non-cauldron method!

      As for feeling a human brain, I took a health science class, and as part of the lab, we got to hold various preserved human body parts. The relative weight and size was quite surprising.

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  2. Whoa, you’ve touched human brains before. No wonder you wrote a post about touching poo and other things. I think I’d have to draw a line at touching brains. I’m a little squeamish about that.

    Anyway, I’ve never heard of seitan before. But I’ve also never eaten Asian mock meat before in a restaurant. It’s impressive how much you got it feel like brains in the end though. A very cool thing to do for Halloween.

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    1. The class didn’t require the touching, but it was strongly encouraged. Also, I think of guts as guts, everything being a gooey mess on the inside. All of the different organs felt very different.

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  3. Tammy: this was really nice to read. I am into cooking now that I moved out on my own. At first, I was hoping to find a woman that could cook alot of different things, but I think it’s better to teach myself instead of wanting it out of another person, right? I am good at cooking soups and stews, but I can cook other things too. I am trying to make new dishes and I find that its not so hard for me to make them at least fairly good the first time, but the hardest thing is finding all the ingredients in the super market! I need my mommy to help me with that because I would be in there forever if no one else can assist me. It really gets hard when I try to cook a dish of a different nationality, but thats what moms are good for! I just have to catch her when she’s going to the super market.( :
    Anyways, I don’t think I’ve had seitan, but I would mind giving it a try! I’ll pretty much give anything a try except for sushi.

    Best Wishes,
    William Veasley

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    1. It’s amazing the things you can find wandering through the grocery store. I highly recommend it.

      Congratulations on learning how to cook. It is a valuable skill, and a great way to impress a date!

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