Seitan

seitan

This is seitan. This is not meat at all.

Seitan is pronounced “say-tahn”.

Seitan has a long history in China, with documents mentioning the food since the 6th century. Served as a meat substitute, Buddhist monks in China used seitan in their recipes for a high protein, meat-free dish.

Seitan is Not for Those Who Cannot Tolerate Gluten

In order to accommodate people who are eating gluten-free, Green Cuisine makes as many items gluten-free as possible. However when it comes to seitan, it is off limits for anyone on a gluten-free diet because it is, essentially, gluten.

What is Seitan?

Seitan is wheat gluten, which is the protein part of wheat flour that gives dough its elasticity. You can find wheat gluten in many commercial imitation meat products available nowadays. To make seitan, a dough is formed from mixing water and wheat flour, which is then kneaded under running water to discard the starch and keep the gluten. The gluten/seitan can then be prepared and cooked in soy sauce, spices, or other flavours.

A Meaty Texture and Tasty Flavour, Without the Meat

The texture of seitan can actually imitate meat. It is a primary ingredient in the Tofurky roast, in Field Roast sausages and Gardein beefless strips. Another property of seitan is that it can absorb the flavours of whatever you cook it in, making it a wonderful ingredient to cook with. I love it when dumplings are filled with ground, seasoned seitan. You can season seitan as you would season a steak, for instance, or chicken wings. Yet it is low in fat, and has no cholesterol. Though it is very high in protein, comparative to the amount of protein in lean meat, seitan is not a complete protein. That is fine though, because you can eat some legumes such as lentils, peanuts, or beans, and these would complement the missing amino acids in seitan, which is essentially a grain. Or you can throw in some tofu or tempeh, because soy is a complete protein. Curious about how to make seitan? You can go here to learn how, as well as for some seitan recipes.

Wheat Cutlets

Slice these up and you can use them in your favourite recipes.

Try Seitan for Yourself  

Green Cuisine makes their own seitan. It has a meaty texture, and is very flavourful. At the restaurant, they serve many dishes featuring their delicious seitan, such as seitan bourguignon, teriyaki seitan wheat cutlets, and ginger wheat cutlets, as well as seitan strips in various dishes and sauces.  I would use seitan for shepherd’s pie, as filler for dumplings, or for seitan and mushroom pie.  Here is a simple recipe you can experiment with:

Cutlets in Onion Gravy 

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 whole onion (sliced)

1 package of wheat cutlets (sliced)

1/2 cup marinade from the package

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon tapioca or cornstarch

Saute onion in oil for 3 minutes. Add the wheat cutlets and saute for 3 more minutes. Add the water and marinade and simmer for 5 minutes. Dissolve the tapioca or cornstarch in a little cold water and stir in to thicken the gravy. Serve over rice or potatoes.

Happy cooking and have fun cooking seitan in so many different ways!